Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans Sub-Group minutes: March 2024

Minute from the meeting held on 12 March 2024.

Attendees and apologies

  • John Mills, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) (Chair)
  • Mike Wright, Edinburgh Cyrenians
  • Allan Jones, North and Islands Hub Rep
  • Jonathan Belford, Chief Officer, Finance, Aberdeen City Council
  • Lesley Cockburn, Inverclyde HSCP 
  • Kevin Thomas, South West Hub Rep
  • Liz Brown, North Ayrshire Council
  • Jacqueline Fernie, South Lanarkshire Council
  • April Thomson, Falkirk Council
  • Donna Mcilwraith, South West Hub Rep
  • Eileen McMullan, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN)
  • Ruth Robin, Health Improvement Scotland
  • Brian Finch, Scottish Government
  • Kerry Shaw, Scottish Government
  • Matthew Howarth, Scottish Government
  • John Sharkey, Scottish Government (minute taker)


  • Douglas Whyte, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
  • Maggie Brunjes, Homeless Network Scotland
  • Grant Campbell, Homeless Network Scotland
  • Emma Matthews, CPPS Scotland

Items and actions

Introductions, minute and actions 

The minutes of the meeting of 5 December were agreed.

Scottish Government update 

Brian Finch gave an update from the Scottish Government Homelessness Unit, providing latest position on:

Rapid rehousing transition plan (RRTP) monitoring returns

  • 26 of 32 local authority returns received
  • a further two are expected shortly  
  • 20 returns have been reviewed to date
  • aim to report back once review completed 

Scottish budget and RRTP funding

  • £63m investment in Housing Support and Homelessness (2024-25) 
  • of £63m, £35m resource budget allocated to homelessness, which includes £8m to support local authorities to implement their rapid rehousing transition plans and £23.5m towards Homelessness Prevention Fund of £30.5m. Similar to previous year
  • £6.8m increase in funding for Discretionary Housing Payments to £90.5m
  • letters issued to local authorities in December confirming the £8m RRTP funding for 2024-25
  • letter advising on distribution of the RRTP funding issued to local authorities last week

Homelessness statistics

Brian ran through the key statistics from the most recent Homelessness in Scotland statistics published on 27 February 2024.

Homelessness prevention and strategy group (HPSG)  

Next meeting on 16 April. Proposed agenda items so far are:

  • chairs of Supported Accommodation task and finish group to present key findings from its report
  • Change Team presentation on roadshows and new approach to HPSG
  • HPSG review

Roundtable updates

Housing options hubs

Allan Jones spoke to the key issues for discussion paper submitted by the hubs -  
Issue: Local authorities are being hit in all directions with various pressures from multi agencies, Shore Standards, Refugees, Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP) moving people back to areas amongst other things and everyone feels their aspect is the priority.  There have been so many changes to legislation that the prevention duty seems a step too far just now.  Authorities have received no feedback about financial impacts and there is no detailed understanding of the legislation or what it means at a time when budgets are struggling and the only real resource that will help is more property. The hubs would like to feedback that the principle is fine but there will have to be very long lead in times to cope with this change.

Matt Howarth from the Scottish Government Prevention Team joined the meeting to help respond to this issue. The main points highlighted included:

  • legislation will be introduced to parliament in this parliamentary year and a series of stakeholder engagement will follow
  • the introduction of draft legislation is not commencement of the duties and introduction will be the start of the parliamentary passage of the Bill, the timing of which will be decided by the Parliament 
  • further discussion and consultation will be held with stakeholders during this time, including around training and guidance and determining the most appropriate timing for implementation
  • a financial memorandum is accompanying the Bill. This is not the same as budget setting. It is not yet known what the final Bill will look like once it completes its journey through the parliamentary process or when implementation of duties will commence
  • the duty to ask and act on ‘relevant bodies’, who will be listed in the Bill, is not intended to be a duty to refer to the local authority, it is a duty to ask about housing situations and act within their existing functions to help prevent homelessness and it is intended this will be made clear in legislation, training and guidance. There will be the option to refer, if appropriate, to a local authority as they will continue to have the duty to assess and accommodate as currently, but this should never become the default position
  • the change to 6 months in terms of taking reasonable steps to prevent homelessness is specifically for local authorities, as it’s building on existing legislation that currently states 2 months at the moment and the detail of what reasonable steps should be considered will be set out in regulations

Ruth Robin emphasised the need for good quality guidance and offered to help in the development of guidance from a health perspective.

Tim Pogson offered the use of Scotlands Housing Network Housing Options network to support development by having it focus on the prevention duty.

In response to Eileen McMullan, Matt confirmed that Registered Social Landlords will be seen as relevant bodies, with all relevant bodies being named in legislation and updated as the policy develops.

Issue: The Unsuitable Accommodation Order (UAO) has shifted focus away from permanent solutions to temporary solutions. The focus is constantly on ensuring temporary accommodation meets needs that cannot even be met in permanent accommodation.  How do we get back to the original plan of the RRTP to reduce temporary accommodation use.  

Allan said there is a perceived shift away from providing permanent solutions to a current focus on temporary accommodation (TA) and meeting the UAO. It is felt this is impacting on the primary purpose of rapid rehousing to reduce the need for TA by moving people into settled accommodation more quickly. 

John Mills opened it up for discussion asking if we have become too focused on satisfying the UAO and the statutory duty to provide TA that its impacting the flow from TA into permanent solutions. Points made included:

  • the increased demand for TA leads to more hotel type accommodation being required, significantly increasing budgetary pressure on councils
  • legal challenges have become a consistent financial burden, especially for the bigger authorities, diverting resources away from where its most needed
  • a report from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) called for a pause in meeting the recent changes to the UAO to allow local authorities to get through a crisis, which was rejected by the Scottish Government

Issue: What are the future plans for RRTP’s – Is there an intention to extend these now or will the prevention duty take over.  Will there also be a requirement to do RRTP feedback reports and will authorities receive feedback from this.

Allan, asked about plans for feeding back to local authorities on their RRTP submissions and what this might look like. Kerry Shaw advised that officials have been reviewing these returns and it is planned that a summary report, bringing out key themes, challenges and local initiatives will be provided to the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group later this year.

Scottish federation of housing associations (SFHA)

Eileen highlighted ‘Tackling Homelessness - working together’, an event being held by SFHA on 27 March. 

Healthcare improvement Scotland

Ruth discussed with the group the recently published report Suspected drug deaths in Scotland: October to December 2023

Housing first (HF)

Rural housing first group

Allan spoke about the last meeting of the Rural HF group, particularly highlighting a speaker from Cyrenians who presented to the group. He indicated that Tim would be looking at the possible expansion of the group to include urban authorities as well as rural.

Tim said he would speak with Scottish Government about the future support to local authorities and partners within the HF network in Scotland more generally, including both rural and urban. 

Housing first (HF) monitoring

Brian highlighted the main points from the most recent HF monitoring return for the 6-month period April to September 2023. The report is still at the draft stage and awaiting sign off.

  • 1,646 HF tenancies have started across Scotland at 30 September 2023 
  • HF has achieved a sustainment figure of 90% for those accommodated in a HF tenancy 12 months after entry 

Any other business

John Mills confirmed that due to the availability of the Minister for Housing, a date in May is now being considered for the rescheduled RRTP event.

Meeting closed.

Back to top