- 22 Mar 2021
Attendees and apologies
In attendance (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
- Laura Caven, COSLA
- Jeremy Hewer, SFHA
- Maggie Brunjes, HNS
- Ruth Robin, NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- Andrea Elliot, South West Hub Rep
- Martin Smith, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
- Ewan Aitken, Cyrenians
- Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network
- Andrina Hunter, Inverclyde HSCP
- Marion Gibbs, Scottish Government
- Kevin Wilkie, Scottish Government
- Matt Howarth, Scottish Government
- John Sharkey, Scottish Government
- Gary Fairley, Director of Finance, Midlothian Council
- Yvette Burgess, Housing Support Enabling Unit
Items and actions
1. Introductions, Minute and Actions
The chair noted apologies as recorded above and welcomed everybody to the meeting:
Minutes of the 18 August meeting were cleared and have been published online.
- Open actions: John Mills to share Fife’s Impact Assessment report with the
sub-group via eRDM Connect.
John confirmed action still outstanding and he will take steps to progress this in the coming weeks.
- RRTP (21/5) - Action 6: Homelessness team to identify practice within RRTP. Kevin confirmed this has been delayed due to staffing resources with Misa moving temporarily from the team to work on Housing 2040.
- Scottish Government RRTP Update
The Homelessness Team provided an update with a focus on RRTPs activity and Covid-19 response:
Marion confirmed that the preference of this group of continuing with current format of a three year average of unintentional homelessness assessments along with the introduction of a funding floor of £50,000 was accepted by the Minister.
Consequently a paper was considered at Settlement and Distribution Group on Wednesday 11 November and was accepted. It will be considered by COSLA Leaders on 27 November and if accepted by Leaders a written confirmation will go to local authorities in early December.
Ruth highlighted the drive by Andrina to bring together a national network of HSCP’s linking into RRTPs. Also highlighted the commissioning of HIS to develop a piece of work on homelessness and substance use/ADPs.
Marion advised that the Third Sector Homelessness Fund, which was paused due to the pandemic, is to reopen in January. This will be focused on work that closely aligns with rapid rehousing principles. Marion also advised that the Fund now sits under her responsibilities.
Marion informed the meeting that there were 43 responses to the consultation, which closed on 23 October. Officials are considering the responses and how the changes sit or conflict with other areas of policy, such as MAPPA. The current aim is to introduce the changes in May 2021. Marion will arrange for Stephen O’Connor, the official leading on LC, to contact David Kemp and Ewan Aitken to discuss his queries around MAPPA and LC.
Unsuitable Accommodation Order
Draft UAO guidance/SSI is being updated based on the comments from the informal consultation. To be presented for agreement at the Working Group Meeting on 18 November. If there is no further extension to the temporary exceptions of the UAO, the SSI scheduled to be laid in December will come into force on 1 February. Laura confirmed that Cllr Whitham has been given delegated authority to sign off on behalf of COSLA’s Community and Wellbeing Board once the draft guidance has been passed by the Working Group.
Meeting to note that with Graham Thomson moving on Marion is now the lead contact for UAO.
3. Roundtable Updates
John asked that updates focus on recovery and RRTP progress.
Housing Options Hubs
Each Housing Options Hub provided a written summary in advance of the meeting and gave a short verbal update to the sub-group covering main points.
Tayside, Fife and Central
Still dealing with operational challenges from COVID. Increase in HF tenancies. Working with PRS on supporting tenancy sustainment and access to accommodation. Using vacancy chains. Flipping tenancies. Increased allocations to homeless households across the hub.
Increased focus on flipping tenancies. ADP partnerships coming through leading to funding for initiatives. Increased lets across social landlords. RSL’s recognising increased caseloads and helping out with TA as well as permanent lets.
East Renfrewshire developing partnership responsibility for homelessness prevention and response – recruiting service design officer. Increased focus on rough sleeping – Renfrewshire council commissioning consultant to help better understanding of issue. North Lanarkshire created Homelessness Hub to maximise prevention activity and respond to homelessness only when needed. Glasgow Alliance is up and running.
North and Islands
Increase in flipping tenancies, particularly in Aberdeenshire. Full Hub meeting being held 18 November, looking further than the response to COVID, which has been the focus of the regular fortnightly hub meetings.
Common theme across the hub is recovery and how they work in the RRTP alongside recovery. An increase in allocations is helping to clear backlog from COVID in NAC - looking to carry out a piece of work for Heads of Service on how this was achieved. EAC and SAC concentrating on work around PRS as part of RRTP. Tenancy flipping taking place throughout COVID period - NAC looking at using this for HF clients. Looking at setting up virtual platform to run Service User Involvement Event that was cancelled from March due to COVID.
Strongly feel Hubs have been a great tool for dealing with current COVID related crisis and now feel an increasing momentum building towards wider business. Really appreciated having the Minister at a recent meeting and would welcome that again. In terms of joint working, remote working and training of staff being looked at by Hub. Also looking at Human trafficking and benefits changes, particularly coming from Social Security Scotland. Progress on HF being made across the hub. ELC carrying out work around use of PRS to the extent that there appears to be a culture shift in this area in regard to PRS opportunities. Borders council introduced new direct matching service – evaluation being carried out. New allocations policy introduced by RSL, which also includes direct matching.
3rd Sector Updates
Maggie Brunjes - Homeless Network Scotland
Everyone Home Collective has been working on development of route maps. Two that have been implemented are: 1. Night shelter Provision in Scotland, both Edinburgh and Glasgow have replaced night shelter provision: and 2. Destitution of people with no recourse to public funds. Three task and finish groups set up to look at what needs to be in place with the aim of having a delivery plan by March with implementation of an alternative approach by April in respect of destitute people who have NRPF. Two route maps currently in development focus on - better use of PRS, and a Prevention Framework focusing on place.
Ewan Aitken – Cyrenians
Cyrenians, Crisis and Streetwork have been working on a pilot project providing up to 15 people with additional support in the PRS – looking to develop a toolkit. \rapid Rehousing Welcome Hubs – well received but in Edinburgh it is intended to move to a 365 service, which raises questions over the drivers for this. The App highlighted in the East Hub report will go live 1 December.
Tim Pogson - Scotland’s Housing Network
SHN have uploaded a new TA self-assessment framework onto its website. Tim happy to share as a word document if needed. meeting of SOLOS will take place on 20 November, which will be looking at problem with sex offenders being outed by FB groups.
Jeremy Hewer - Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Offer made to 11 bids to the Homelessness Prevention (£1.5m) Fund. Total bids received were twice the value of the funds available. Currently awaiting money from SG. Steer given by SG that bids should have families and children element to them so a project looking at prisoners (Barlinnie) with potential for national rollout was directed back to SG for consideration out with the fund – Chair indicated this could possibly link in with review of Shore Standards. In terms of learning, regular reports from successful applicants will be made available.
Andrina Hunter - Health and Social Care Partnerships
Partnerships currently dealing with recovery from pandemic as well as flu vaccinations and preparing for possible Covid vaccine. Wider issues include care homes and child protection issues. Specifically for this group issues include access to primary care and social isolation. With regards to linking health and social care with RRTP there are 22 out of 30 HSCPs keen to be part of a joint RRTP network. People from health improvement, mental health and commissioning being nominated, with some nominated from housing and homelessness, which reflects a misunderstanding on the wider RRTP agenda. Andrina will share contacts with Marion and her team. To help take up. Kevin will share communication sent to HSCPs by Andrina with the Group. Chair indicated push needed to get all 30 HSCPs involved while recognising need for right people to be nominated.
Ruth Robin - NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland
HIS given go-ahead to build a learning network, this is a re-activation of work through the IHub and Lawrence Pavia will lead, Expressions of interest invited to help with RRTP prototyping work around persona housing plan learning. Ruth has a letter that group may want to circulate to those with an interest. ADP still has Challenge Fund monies available. Ruth can forward on information to any group members interested. On work mentioned earlier in the meeting about commissioning of HIS for work on homelessness and substance use/ADPs, Ruth said linking into the Housing Options Hubs would be important.
Laura Caven – COSLA
COSLA position on RRTP funding and UAO guidance already covered under agenda item 2.
John Mills – ALACHO
ALACHO still meeting fortnightly .Recent discussions have included mainly recovery, housing access, generating vacancies and making use of PRS as well as much of what this group has discussed today. Future discussions likely to be returning to prevention as well as new-build housing and subsidy, energy efficiency and addressing fuel poverty.
4. RRTP Hub Reports
Tim advised that the 5 reports are now complete. Group agreed that Hubs should be sighted first on these and then they can be put on erdm connect for this group - in order that discussion can take place at next RRTP Sub Group in February 2021.
5. Housing First
National Framework consultation open until 31 Dec. Maggie advised that there had been good feedback so far and wished to thank everyone from the group who has been involved in this work, she encouraged people to have a critical eye over this document so that it could be as helpful as possible.
With regards to the Pathfinder work Marion confirmed that discussions were ongoing in order to clarify the position on funding post March 2021. With regards rollout of HF, Marion advised that by 31 March there will be 27 LA’s implementing HF outwith the Pathfinder Programme.
Kevin informed the group that he and HSN will be speaking at a HF Holyrood organised event on Tue 24 November.
PRS Landlord Survey Results
Allan confirmed this piece of work came about following an approach from Crisis. As well as Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Angus were also involved. The survey had a massive response with 1720 responses from landlords. Allan emphasised that the significant uptake by landlords demonstrates that this is a good time to engage and build trust with PRS landlords. Work is ongoing to take the results to the forthcoming CIH conference.
Marion advised that the Minister is keen to see the PRS play a key role for people leaving homelessness and not just as TA.
David said he was keen to share across East Hub, before CIH conference. Allan will ask CRISIS about sharing widely at this stage.
Chair asked Marion if there might be an appetite for webinar on PRS for this group. Marion’s team will take it away and speak to members of the group and would include SG PRS colleagues in this.
Tim will disseminate to SHN PRS officers network.
Next meeting will be on 16 February.