1. Introductions, minute and actions
The chair noted apologies as recorded above and welcomed everybody to the meeting:
- Welcomed Lorna Wilson, SFHA, who joins the sub-group following Zhan McIntyre move to a new role outwith SFHA.
- Welcome Katey Tabner, COSLA, joining the sub-group following Kathy Cameron’s retirement earlier this year.
Minutes of the 18 February meeting were cleared electronically and published online.
- RRTP (20/8) - Action 8: John Mills to share Fife’s Impact Assessment report with the sub-group via eRDM Connect. John is following this up and will share once available.
- RRTP (21/5) – Action 6: Homelessness team to identify practice within RRTP plans by the next Sub-group meeting, focusing on what works. Scottish Government have commenced this piece of work. Kevin advised this has now been paused due to COVID-19 but will be picked up in the near future.
2. Scottish Government RRTP update
The Homelessness Team provided an update with a focus on RRTPs activity and COVID-19 response:
SG hosted a first national RRTP Coordinators & Leads event in Perth in February 2020, bringing together 28 local authorities to network and share learning from RRTPs and HF. Very positive feedback, planning to hold the event again in future. An online platform, eRDM Connect, set up to allow RRTP Coordinators & Leads to network and share learning in a virtual space.
Following the approval of the Scottish Budget for 2020/21, a letter confirming the RRTP funding for year 2 (2020/21) of RRTP implementation is currently being agreed by SG and COSLA to be sent out to local authorities.
Confirmed SG is maintaining the deadline of 30 June 2020 for local authorities to submit activity and spend monitoring reports and Indicators template, these will be key in discussions with COSLA for funding distribution in year 3 (2021/22). If local authorities are able, then also to send in their next RRTP iteration/action plan update. SG will be flexible if there are difficulties with the deadline. Local authorities should contact SG direct if this is the case.
SG has been working with local authorities and their partners to ensure swift and coordinated response to the COVID-19 -19 crisis. This included emergency legislation temporarily halting PRS and social housing evictions, developing guidance and providing additional funding of £350m to local authorities and the third sector. Currently considering recovery strategy. All five HO Hubs are meeting regularly since the end of March/start of April to gather local intelligence and share learning.
Members were invited to provide comments and ask questions. Highlighted that in reviewing spend on RRTPs in the previous year, the SG should take account of the impact of COVID-19 -19. SG provided reassurances that the monitoring of the local authority RRTP spend in year 1 (2019/20) will only be one part of the picture in modelling discussions about the distribution of spend for year 3 (2021/22) of RRTPs.
Ruth Robin highlighted that there’s been about 40% reduction in primary care health service usage, despite services still being open. Sub-group members were invited to share any evidence of joint-up working between health and homelessness during the pandemic. Discussions around remodelling care service provisions in the community are important for the purpose of RRTPs. Ruth also asked about feedback to SG from the Hubs on provision of PPE. SG confirmed this was a regular agenda item and no significant concerns had been highlighted recently. General feedback was that the crisis had helped strengthen partnerships.
Andrina highlighted a local issue of testing amongst those discharged from hospital and entering hostels. Ruth indicated that re-modelling of support in communities would be important post crisis and John highlighted the possible need for residential care homes to be re-designed.
ACTION 1: Andrina Hunter to share further information with Ruth Robin.
3. Roundtable updates
Housing Options Hubs
Each Housing Options Hub provided a short written summary in advance of the meeting and gave a short verbal update to the sub-group covering main points. In addressing the crisis situation, each of the five Hubs has been meeting virtually on a fortnightly basis since the end of March/start of April.
Half of local authorities managed to progress RRTPs, the other half focused mostly on emergency planning. Early release of prisoners has been manageable. Highlighted that learning and innovative solutions gained during the emergency planning and delivery will be invaluable for RRTPs, with funding able to be spent more flexibly.
Tayside, Fife & Central
Development of RRTPs has been fairly minimal with main focus on emergency planning and delivery. Mixed picture across local authorities (e.g. with TA levels); homelessness demand slightly down, early prison release has been manageable.
Initially there was minimal number of DA approaches, now increasing.
Focusing on service delivery. Three out of seven local authorities seeing increase in homelessness presentations; all using B&B. Considerations of RRTPs and HF, discussions around increasing support needs for people struggling with the situation.
North & Islands
Concerns around changes to UAO and local connection. Generally RRTP work is on hold, but starting to progress slightly.
Concentrating on COVID-19 response, RRTPs currently on hold. Some stock transfer local authorities having issues with TA levels.
Maggie Brunjes (HNS)
Maggie introduced the recently published HF Pathfinder Check Up Annual report. The Pathfinder Programme is progressing positively with 252 tenancies and a tenancy sustainment of 92%. The three main goals of the programme and the details of their developments were outlined.
Yvette Burgess, HSEU
Focusing on PPE supply for social care services as it’s an outstanding issue, assisting SG with an emergency provision. Regularly sharing new SG guidance with stakeholders. Better Futures system still being used by services to support planning reviews.
Lorna Wilson, SFHA
Many HAs working with local authorities, initially to provide TA, some now looking to flip to permanent lets. PPE is still an issue for HAs. SFHA chairs the Social Housing Resilience Group. HAs starting to look at reopening services, SFHA considering how to support this. SFHA keen to collect good practice and learning from test of change projects. Partnership working with HNS.
Katey Tabner, COSLA
Holding this role on temporary basis. With a number of local authorities raising concerns around the UAO extension, local authority working group established to address this. Considering equalities approach as part of the UAO. Three Covid-19 Resilience Groups set up (social housing, LA, and PRS), developing non-statutory advice for landlords and housing providers. Issues with the housing system stagnating, concerns over accommodation blockages (e.g. in women’s refuge). Aware the crisis will have an impact on RRTP development.
Tim Pogson, SHN
Work around RRTP monitoring and indicators paused due to HL reporting and ARC returns being delayed. Currently gathering data and analysing homelessness relevant performance of RSLs in a number of areas. Section 11 project with North & Islands Hub – guidance written, awaiting a sign off from participating organisations.
Ruth Robin, NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Team moved to a Transformational Unit, creating an opportunity to use good practice and learning to build the new normal. HIS developed four stages of learning through the crisis, now in adaptation stage. Evidence and Evaluation colleagues interested in how local care providers are currently delivering care services.
John Mills, ALACHO
Weekly ALACHO meetings with 20+ Heads of Housing attending, positive. Undertook surveys on TA, gas safety, supported accommodation and void management. Focusing on HRA and the loss of income, planning on holding a HRA master class on the impact of Covid-19. Discussing a five step recovery plan.
Andrina Hunter, Inverclyde HSCP
Feeding into local hub has been useful. Some local authorities using the current crisis to improve links with HSCP, in particular Primary Care. Due to local pressures, not had an opportunity to reach out across HSCPs lately.
4. RRTP Discussion
The sub-group discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on RRTPs and next steps.
The crisis recovery gives an opportunity to build momentum for RRTPs. The fortnightly HO Hub meetings have been very useful in understanding the developments across Scotland. Local authority RRTPs provide a good platform to enter the recovery phase and build on the partnerships and work already developed. Maximisation of HO approach as part of the recovery phase.
SG highlighted that prevention is the bread and butter of RRTPs and the overall recovery planning. There needs to be a broad approach to prevention which goes wider than a prevention duty; involving RRTPs and prevention pathways. Section 11 guidance can assist local authorities to help address any undesirable consequences of the current 6-month halt on evictions from PRS and RSLs. In the light of anticipated spike in homelessness, some local authorities are increasing TA levels, concerns about the impact of this on RRTPs as recovery phase might prove more difficult than the crisis itself. The importance of reflecting on the role of support providers and the third sector has been highlighted as well, providing an opportunity to learn more about partnership working and its successes, and feed this into RRTP reviews.
Allan Jones highlighted the opportunity to discuss the rural aspect of rapid rehousing consideration to addressing the Covid-19 recovery.
Members discussed that the crisis has given local authorities an opportunity to re-shape RRTPs and review timings and accelerate priorities set in their initial RRTP iteration (Covid-19 proofing of RRTPs). Janeine Barrett confirmed that their RRTP will become a crucial part of recovery planning. Considerations on how to utilise and capture learning from Covid-19 crisis; Hubs to play part in jointly informing best practice around RRTPs.
Maggie Brunjes highlighted an opportunity for developing HF on a national level, playing a key part in Covid-19 recovery, in particular in urban areas. HFS giving consideration to how best support local authorities to do this, HF National Framework being developed at the moment. SG confirmed that the HF gathering exercise undertaken with local authorities last week found out that there are seven Housing First programmes outwith the Pathfinder Programme running at present, with approximately further 12 looking to commence this year.
John highlighted that capturing learning from this crisis period was essential and was clearly a theme emerging from reports across the country. Have to ensure ’recovery discussions’ are connected.
General conclusion from the discussion was that local partnerships already established in developing local authorities RRTPs have been invaluable in responding to the crisis and RRTPs will play an important part in national and local recovery plans.
No any other business discussed.
Next Meeting: 18 August 2020
Attendees and apologies
(virtually via Microsoft Teams call):
- John Mills, ALACHO (Chair)
- David Kemp, East Hub Rep
- Jacqueline Fernie, West Hub Rep
- Allan Jones, North and Islands Hub Rep
- Katey Tabner, COSLA
- Lorna Wilson, SFHA
- Maggie Brunjes, HNS
- Ruth Robin, NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- Lawrence Pavia, NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (invited by Ruth Robin due to organisational contingency planning)
- Andrea Elliot, South West Hub Rep
- Janeine Barrett, South West Hub
- Martin Smith, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
- Yvette Burgess, Housing Support Enabling Unit
- Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network
- Andrina Hunter, Inverclyde HSCP
- Marion Gibbs, Scottish Government
- Kevin Wilkie, Scottish Government
- Matt Howarth, Scottish Government
- Janine Kellett, Scottish Government
- Michaela Martincova, Scottish Government
- Gary Fairley, Director of Finance, Midlothian Council
- Ewan Aitken, Cyrenians
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