Attendees and apologies
John Mills, ALACHO (Chair)
David Kemp, East Hub Rep
Allan Jones, North and Islands Hub Rep
Jacqueline Fernie, West Hub Rep
Martin Smith, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
Lynsey Dey, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
Ewan Aitken, Cyrenians
Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network
Yvette Burgess, Housing Support Enabling Unit
Eileen McMullan, SFHA
Mike Callaghan, COSLA
Claire Frew, Homeless Network Scotland
Marion Gibbs, Scottish Government
Janine Kellett- Scottish Government
David Pentland, Scottish Government
Katy Burns, Scottish Government (minute taker)
Gary Fairley, Director of Finance, Midlothian Council
Ruth Robin, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Maggie Brunjes, Homeless Network Scotland
Andrea Elliot. South West Hub Rep
Items and actions
1. Introductions, Minute and Actions
Chair welcomed Lynsey Dey, who will replace Martin Smith as the Tayside, Fife and Central Hub representative going forward.
Minutes of 16 November meeting were cleared.
- RRTP (16/11)- Action 1- SG to develop the agenda for the next RRTP Sub-Group meeting to allow for a ‘deeper dive’ into the RRTP annual report and to allow for further discussion about mainstreaming.
- Item 4 and 5 added to meeting agenda.
- RRTP (16/11)- Action 2- SG to liaise with John Mills about the way forward with regards to void processing best practice, temporary accommodation and the types of presentations, following his meeting with Homelessness Unit colleagues.
- Following meeting with Homelessness Unit Colleagues, no further action required from Local Engagement Team.
- RRTP (16/11)- Action 3- Everyone Home Collective’s response to the National Care Service consultation to be shared with the Group.
- Response shared with group on eRDM Connect on 15/12/21.
- RRTP (16/11)- Action 4- Staff contracts to be included in the agenda for the next RRTP Sub-Group meeting.
- Item 5 added to meeting agenda.
- RRTP (16/5)- Action 2 - Hub representatives to check with their respective hubs on whether they would be content to share the Activity and Spend returns with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland has informed the Group of delays to the action due to competing priorities within the NHS.
2. Scottish Government RRTP Update
RRTP Funding 2022/23 and 2023/24
COSLA Leaders agreed to two year funding for 2022/23 and 2023/24 at £8m year each (£16m in total) to local authorities. Funding is based on the same allocation model used in 2021/22: average of three years homelessness assessments, with a funding floor of £50,000. SG will provide confirmation of the allocation of funding for 2023/24 in late summer once the latest homelessness statistics for 2021/22 are published.
One member expressed disappointment that two years of funding wasn’t allocated together, impacting on staff contracts. SG attested that in order for LAs to be provided with accurate funding in relation to homelessness assessments, this would have to be carried out on a yearly basis.
Issues were raised around RRTP funding not being ring-fenced due to pressures in local authority budgets. COSLA promoted awareness raising for the importance of RRTP funding, however ruled out the possibility of ring-fenced funds.
Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group (HPSG)
The next meeting is due to take place on Thursday 17 March 2022.
Prevention of Homelessness Duties Consultation
The joint Scottish Government/COSLA consultation on proposals for new prevention of homelessness duties in Scotland was published on the SG web-site on 17 The consultation will be open for responses until 31 March 2022.
A debate on the proposed duties took place in Parliament on Wednesday 2 February. The proposals were largely welcomed by members of parliament, including those for new duties on public bodies.
Pathways to prevent homelessness
The pathway to prevent homelessness for veterans was published on Homeless Network Scotland’s website on 26 January 2022.
Julie Stuart, SG, and Kevin Gray, Chair of the Veterans Scotland Housing Group are attending each of the Housing Options Hubs to provide an overview and discuss the pathway.
Temporary Accommodation Standards Framework Working Group
A short-life working group has been established) to help produce a new standards framework, identify if legislative changes are required, consider how the framework can be applied and regulated, and produce tangible processes to support this by mid-2022.
The working group is made up of a range of stakeholders including SG officials, COSLA, ALACHO, LAs, CIH, Crisis, Shelter Scotland and other third sector organisations. To date there has been five meetings of the group.
The first three modules of the training toolkit were soft launched on 31 January 2022 which included introduction to housing options; accessing accommodation; and maintaining existing accommodation. The final three modules: health and wellbeing; income and affordability; and employment and training will be launched in April.
Chair spoke of the efforts to form a group to discuss the ongoing funding and maintenance of the training toolkit.
Unsuitable Accommodation Order
On 19 January 2022, Scottish Government officials advised all 32 LAs that they will update existing HL1, HL3 and the UAO guidance with the information on when a breach should be recorded.
It is intended that the policy to record breaches at application level will be implemented by 31 March 2022. Although some local authorities already record breaches at application level, others will need to amend their systems to do so. As such, caveats on the reporting of breaches in the Homelessness in Scotland statistical publication will apply for a period beyond the implementation date.
The Scottish Government has asked for feedback from local authorities on the implications this clarification has for them.
Homelessness in Scotland statistics
On 1 February 2022, the biannual homelessness statistics were published on the SG website.
3. Roundtable Updates
All of the Housing Options Hubs provided a written summary in advance of the meeting. The Chair invited updates by exception, and welcomed any further written updates to be shared on eRDM Connect.
Representative from Tayside, Fife and Central Hub highlighted their attendance at a meeting with Welsh Local Authority Housing Support Network facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland, to discuss how Perth and Kinross has implemented their RRTP.
SG have also had a meeting with Welsh colleagues to discuss RRTPs and the implementation of Housing First, which have been set for every two months, given that the Welsh are on a similar direction of travel to Scotland.
Aberdeenshire representative highlighted the jointly commissioned community hosting service with Aberdeen City. The service will run across both local authority areas and evidences good partnership working.
East Hub representative promoted the East Hub flat share videos.
4. RRTP Annual Report 2020-21
The first annual RRTP report provides a means to gather Scottish wide RRTP activity. The report follows the format of the Activity and Spend document. It hopes to be useful as a learning tool to share practice across LAs. Following comments from Group members, the report will be taken to HPSG for further comments. There has been a delay in producing the document due to resourcing issues. Keen for comments to improve the report. SG welcomes written comments.
Members discussed the draft report and made some suggestions: detail impact of activity under the RRTP; increasing reporting of the role of RSLs; potentially have case studies for future years; involvement of people with lived and living experience; possibility of a contact list.
Cyrenians encouraged making the link between the national strategy of RRTPs which are developed and delivered locally as a good example of the sector working together..
ACTION 1: SG to redraft RRTP annual report/ Activity and Spend template in light of Sub-Group comments.
5. EQIA of RRTPs
Each LA was not asked to re-do an EQIA, however those which have been submitted show a range of methods of approach. An EQIA should consider how an RRTP impacts on different groups of people. This is particularly pertinent to how prevention work impacts groups with protected characteristics.
There is a mix of how EQIAs are developed so in an effort to promote greater consistency, SG is proposing to invite stakeholders to an EQIA masterclass, potentially at a RRTP Coordinators event. This event would consider how to get the best out of an EQIA. Members agrees this would beneficial. SG will arrange for a RRTP co-ordinators’ event which will cover this.
ACTION 2: SG to organise an RRTP Coordinators events at the end of April to include EQIA masterclass, and will explore possibility of a hybrid meeting.
6. RRTP funded staff contracts and mainstreaming arrangements.
Fife Council has adopted the approach of employing staff on a permanent basis regardless of RRTP funding commitments.. Aberdeenshire has also adopted this approach. Have tried to highlight to the council that investing in homelessness services is in fact a ‘Spend to Save’ project. Angus Council are working with HSCP to try to make contracts permanent.
The issue of short term funding also impacts on the third sector, resulting in challenges around recruitment.
Members report difficulty with recruitment across LAs, issues include:
- Staff moving to RSLs and Social Care due to more attractive wages.
- Difficulties recruiting staff on a temporary basis
- Seconding staff leads to challenges elsewhere in councils
- RRTP work being hindered due to staffing shortages/ frequent staff changes.
- Staff who were initially recruited on a temporary basis moving on to other permanent posts.
7. Housing First
Housing First Monitoring
The third quarterly monitoring report is due to be published on the SG website shortly which will update data to include tenancies which started in October to December 2021.
The data provided shows see that 227 Housing First (HF) tenancies have started between April and December 2021 across 22 local authorities, this is an increase from 156 tenancies across 20 local authorities reported in the quarter two report. (note these are updated figures following the meeting).
As the number of HF tenancies grows across Scotland, SG is able to report the journey which HF participants experience.
Eight participants are currently in the ‘Step Down’ phase. Less than five tenancies have ended. Nine HF participants are employed or work on a voluntary basis.
SG will build upon this picture as our monitoring progresses. SG are looking for feedback to improve and progress.
Rural Housing First
Next meeting will take place on 23 February 2022.
Homeless Network Scotland (HNS)
Housing First Scotland webinar, which was hosted in partnership with SG, took place on 25 November 2021 which looked at the infrastructure which is available to support LAs, and gave an overview of the National Framework for Housing First. This will aid LAs to plan, cost and deliver HF.
Housing First Check-Up process is now underway in three hub areas and the other two are planned. The process aims to gather insights about the delivery of Housing First across Scotland and act as a sounding board to foster collaboration. It has been successful to date and has received positive feedback.
Cyrenians reflected on the learning experience of the Pathfinder project in Edinburgh and how this learning has positively impacted HF in the Scottish Borders.
SFHA raised a question about the involvement of RSLs in HF, and offered support to encourage involvement. SG stated there was a mixed picture with some very positive involvement and welcomed the support of SFHA to publicise involvement of RSLs in HF.
Cyrenians highlighted ‘The City Upside Down’ which is an online art exhibition in partnership with Edinburgh University. It involves real diary entries from their outreach team during the first lockdown. The Report shows outcomes expressed in art form.
Aberdeenshire representative referred to an issue raised at the UAO meeting, where third party organisations called for a central store for RRTPs and related documents. SG suggested that if ALACHO/ COSLA wished to create a collection, SG would be happy to explore ideas however, stated that RRTPs are owned by LAs and are not Scottish Government documents. Chair will raise the issue with ALACHO on 25 February 2022.
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