Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans sub group minutes: November 2022

Minutes of the meeting of the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans sub group, held in November 2022.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance (virtually via Microsoft Teams call)

John Mills, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) (Chair)

Emma Mathews, Housing Support Enabling Unit (HSEU)

Ewan Aitken, Cyrenians 

Maggie Brunjes, Homeless Network Scotland

Douglas Whyte, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep

David Kemp, East Hub Rep

Ruth Robin, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Allan Jones, North and Islands Hub Rep

Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN)

Eileen McMullan, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)

Marion Gibbs, Scottish Government

Brian Finch, Scottish Government

Julie Stuart, Scottish Government

Louise Thompson, Scottish Government

John Sharkey, Scottish Government (minute taker)



Janeine Barrett, South West Hub Rep

Andrea Elliot, South West Hub Rep

Jacqueline Fernie, West Hub Rep

Yvette Burgess, Housing Support Enabling Unit (HSEU)

Jonathan Belford, Chief Officer, Finance, Aberdeen City Council

Mike Callaghan, COSLA

Anne Malarkey, HSCP

Items and actions

1. Introductions, Minute and Actions

Minutes of 16 August were cleared.

Action Log

Closed Actions since last meeting on 16 August

1. RRTP (17/5)- Action 2- Homelessness Unit to organise a national event to promote domestic abuse pathways as a priority for RRTPs. An event has been organised for 5 December, to coincide with 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Details on the event are being finalised but the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government (Cab Sec) and Cllr Chalmers will highlight how domestic abuse housing policies can prevent homelessness and encourage social landlords to get ready for the new homelessness prevention duties through early development of a domestic abuse housing policy.

2. RRTP (16/8) – Action 1 - SG Homelessness unit to prepare update for the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group (HPSG) with regards to impact of Ukrainian resettlement programme on homelessness services. Paper provided to HPSG of 21 September 2022. Letter provided to Cab Sec and reply part of sub-group papers.

3. RRTP (16/8) – Action 2 - Agenda item to be included at November meeting of RRTP Sub-Group to frame more specifically the ask around discussions on gendered analysis of RRTPs. Included as agenda item with Julie Stuart from Scottish Government (SG) Homelessness Unit attending to support session.

Actions outstanding

1. RRTP (17/5)- Action 4- SG Homelessness Unit to arrange meeting with SHN to discuss feedback from monitoring report, to provide update at August meeting. Due to resourcing limitations within the SG Homelessness Unit, this action has been delayed.

2. Scottish Government RRTP Update – Marion Gibbs

RRTP Activity and Spend Returns 2021/22  

The Rapid Rehousing and Local Authority Engagement Team has now provided feedback to all 27 local authorities (LAs) that submitted their RRTP Activity and Spend returns and are in communication with the other five LAs that have needed more time to submit their return. Following this, the team will be producing a short report.

Cost of Living (Tenant Protection)(Scotland) Bill

The Bill became an Act on 28 October.

Prevention of Homelessness Duties

An independent analysis of the responses to the joint SG/COSLA consultation on new prevention of homelessness duties was published on 29 September 2022.  A Task and Finish Group, established by the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group (HPSG) to help prepare the ground for new duties, met for the first time on 27 October 2022 and will meet again on 30 November 2022. A series of stakeholder webinar events are being planned as part of this.

Temporary Accommodation Standards Framework Working Group

The working group is looking to report back on the standards November/December 2022. The work to develop a framework for the standards will take more time. The working group is currently considering different legislative routes and assessing how the framework can be applied, monitored and regulated.

Change team

The Change Team took their four new directions on the road to Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness. The aim of the sessions was to discuss how things are working on the ground for (i) people experiencing homelessness and (ii) frontline staff.

Local connection

The Order amending the rules on local connection was laid in Parliament on 20 September and is due to come into force on 29 November 2022. The Social Justice and Social Security Committee considered the Order on 3 November 2022 and unanimously agreed to support the proposed change. SG looking to monitor impact.

Allan asked about the adjustment of the temporary accommodation (TA) funding and Marion confirmed this had been agreed at Settlement and Distribution Group and paperwork should be out soon. Marion advised that RRTP money has also been agreed and should be out soon as well. In terms of any steps following the end of RRTP’s five year cycle, Marion advised that discussions are ongoing.

3. Roundtable updates

The Chair invited updates from the Housing Options Hubs reps in attendance.

East Hub – Mainly focusing on practical issues at the hub, which members are finding useful. Concerns shared across the hub include pressure on TA and impact of changes to Unsuitable Accommodation Order (UAO). Ruth offered to discuss further with David some of the work around health to see where she may be able to support, which David was happy to accept.

Tayside Fife and Central – Douglas highlighted that the first face to face meeting since the pandemic was held 4 November 2022. Six out of seven authorities were represented. As well as updates from LAs the meeting discussed the Hub action plan. Areas of focus within the plan included no recourse to public funds (NRPF), introduction of the new prevention duty, how the hub can link in with the new private rented sector (PRS) forum, mainstreaming of RRTP and a customer satisfaction survey.

North and Islands Hub – Allan advised homelessness applications are up, ranging from 10-25%. Experiencing staff leaving the sector due to work pressure. In Aberdeenshire now looking at increasing TA, considering taking on hotels. With some local authorities having only a few Ukrainian families and some having hundreds there is a wide range across the hub in terms of impact. Allan highlighted a concern over numbers of unaccompanied children seeking asylum and feels it needs to be monitored.

Marion touched on the work she is involved in around Ukrainian resettlement and how for instance SG is challenging UK Govt with regards the six-month TA fund, pointing out that it can take longer than six months to access settled accommodation, therefore UK Govt should continue to pay for TA beyond six months when that period is exceeded.

Allan accepted Ewan’s offer for Cyrenians, who have a project to support unaccompanied minors, to chat with Aberdeenshire in order to share learning.

Third Sector

Cyrenians – Ewan spoke about giving evidence to National Care Service consultation on behalf of Everyone Home Collective and using RRTP work as an example of a national strategy delivered locally. Concern across third sector about the potential impact of such a level of change. Ewan touched on the work in preparation for the prevention duties and encouraged folk to get involved in opportunities to contribute including the forthcoming webinars etc.

HNS - Maggie highlighted a recent publication looking at the future and preferred role of the PRS in homelessness and suggested it be added to the agenda at the next meeting of the sub-group, when she can get colleagues along to speak to it.

Action 1: Maggie to arrange for speakers to attend next sub-group meeting to discuss publication looking at future and preferred role of the PRS in homelessness.

Another two of pieces of work emanating from the task and finish groups on supported accommodation and on measuring progress towards ending homelessness that Maggie would like the sub-group to look at are: 1. the future of supported housing in response to homelessness for which she shared a link to the publication ‘Shared Spaces’, and 2. the development of an impact framework for ending homelessness together.

John Mills added that if needed it would be possible to organise virtual meetings for the sub-group’s input into any work of the various task and finish groups rather than wait until the next quarterly meeting.

Allan referred to the ‘Coming Home Implementation’ report, which looks at providing care closer to home for people with learning disabilities and complex needs and said he would welcome a discussion with the group on supported housing.

SHN – Tim confirmed that Brenda Toner will be taking up some of his previous work, including with the Tayside Fife and Central Housing Options Hub. The benchmark Hub RRTP reports are completed and once checked can be made available to the group.

SFHA – Eileen said the National Care Service was high on their agenda and there was concern over the lack of reference to the role of housing within the new service.

She also spoke about the publication of the ‘Protecting Home – Preventing Eviction’ toolkit and provided a link in the chat for the group.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland - Ruth advised that the data linkage project she is leading around HL1 is at the pathways stage. Also, a National Improvement Programme for social care and community health is being developed, which Ruth feels it will be important to get a housing contribution into.

The National Drugs Mission work, which has a homelessness component to it, is taking up much of Ruth’s role at the moment. Ruth would be keen for colleagues from the Drugs Mission to speak with the group as she feels there is much they are doing that links in with RRTP work. 

Action 2: John Sharkey will follow this up with Ruth with a view to inviting Drugs Mission partners along to a future meeting of the RRTP Sub-group.

During discussion around the National Care Service Marion confirmed that NCS officials in SG and housing/homelessness officials are having frequent internal conversations.

HSEU - Emma mentioned that work is ongoing around supported exempt accommodation in the context of changes taking place in England. Data has been collected on supported exempt accommodation and some case studies created about different models, including TA that they will look to share at some point.

4. Gendered analysis of RRTPs

Julie spoke about the requirement to carry out gendered analysis on policy and also RRTPs, raising the question of how, when RRTP activity is mainstreamed, we can be assured that gendered analysis is still taking place. Julie said that some may not be aware that what they are already doing constitutes gendered analysis, i.e., that local authorities are already defining within their RRTPs the differences in the experiences of women and men and how services will support these differences.

Allan said Aberdeenshire has produced Domestic Abuse guidance for housing and homelessness teams which he would be happy to share.

Ruth asked whether the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) process contributes sufficiently to constitute gendered analysis. Julie said that the EQIA would be helpful as a back up to gendered specific policies/activities within an RRTP.

Action 3: John Mills suggested that Housing Options Hubs are asked to provide some working examples of gendered analysis, including examples of EQIAs. Julie agreed to John’s request for her to provide a prompt/statement to help frame the request.

Julie mentioned that during 16 days of activism there is a session with the Cab Sec and Cllr Chalmers around the requirement for social landlords to have a domestic abuse policy. She asked that the group look out for invites.

5. Local connection

Ewan highlighted that there was some concern that there was no method of exchange of information, particularly on homelessness presentations, across the 32 local authorities, which would show where someone has made multiple applications.

Louise said that she wasn’t aware of that specific concern but confirmed that identifying multiple applications is built into the monitoring and evaluation framework, which has been presented to the Change Team, Housing Options Hubs and other key stakeholders including Scottish Prison Service. With regards wider access to information, she feels that may throw up General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) issues etc. Louise said she will be running an engagement programme next year and encourages anyone to come forward with any issues they wish to raise. Louise confirmed that fewer than 5% of presentations have no local connection and that there were fewer than 200 referrals last year.

6. Housing pressures in Scotland

Maggie noted the pressure on some local authorities with regards housing for Ukrainian programme. Maggie spoke to a letter to the Cab Sec, submitted by representative organisations from the Housing, Refugee and Homelessness sectors, which highlighted housing pressures in Scotland with a number of areas pinpointed as a priority for development. There will now be a roundtable discussion with the Cab Sec on 6 December 2022, attended by some of those representative bodies involved.

7. Housing First (HF)

Marion confirmed latest HF Monitoring Report now published on the SG website covering period July to Sep 2022. She advised that 25 local authorities are now offering HF. The Heriot Watt independent evaluation of the HF pathfinder will be published soon and that there will be a Social Bite event on 16th December to launch this. She also spoke about the ‘check-up’ process undertaken with the 13 authorities. Maggie offered to present the findings to the group at a future meeting.

Following some discussion around drug deaths, people leaving hospital and leaving prison, John suggested we have a bit of a deeper dive into HF at the next meeting.

Ruth mentioned ‘Patient 19’, case review surrounding how the care and housing sectors work together to provide good end of life care. Ruth feels there is a conversation to be had around this in terms of how we can add homelessness as a consideration to help identify risk.

On Rural HF, Allan said focus of last meeting was Aberdeenshire’s fourth year evaluation of its HF scheme that included a detailed evaluation based on health, police etc and not just housing need. Now around 75 on HF scheme. Starting to see more people from the scheme going to prison with no funding available to sustain tenancy. Allan feels this needs to be part of the wider discussion on HF in February.

8. AOB

Ruth confirmed recommendations published from The Reducing Harm Improving Care programme. Two other pieces of work she also wanted to highlight were firstly that they are supporting the development of residential rehab pathways and secondly around a learning system in MAT (Medically assisted treatment) standards. Ruth asked anyone wishing to be connected into these workstreams to contact her.

Meeting closed

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