Social Renewal Housing System Policy Circle minutes: 12 November 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Social Renewal Housing System Policy Circle on 12 November 2020

Attendees and apologies


Jon Sparkes (Joint Chair)

Sally Thomas (Joint Chair)

Laura Caven

Craig Dalzell

Craig Spence

Nile Istephan

Shona Gorman

Mark Stephens

Cassandra Dove

David Bookbinder

Nina Ballantyne

Shona Stephen

Catriona MacKean, SG

Naeem Bhatti, SG

Janine Kellett, SG

Laura Dougan, SG

Liz Geddes, SG

Kuan Loh, SG

Angela O’Brien, SG

Margaret Irving, SG



Hugh McClung

Marsha Scott

John Blackwood

Cllr Elena Whitham

Items and actions


1. Welcome and review of last meeting 29 October – agree note

Sally noted that this was the last meeting of the group. No changes to the previous minutes were noted. Previous amendment to the 22 October note has been incorporated for the formal record. It was confirmed that energy efficiency comments from CAS have been taken into account.

2. HSPC final report

Jon introduced this item and referred to slides which summarised the work of the group. This covered what the group set out to do, its contribution to PfG in the short to medium term. Access to housing on an equalities basis, Housing to 2040 principles and prioritising those principles. The group have provided a holistic view on a huge array of things including costs, community, attractiveness of homes and investment.

He shared a slide listing the members of the group thanking them for their work and acknowledging the input from SG.

The group have developed recommendations on 3 themes:  meeting housing need, preventing homelessness and growing successful communities.  The group has also built on lived experience to pull together evidence for the 4 key principles.

We received at least 10 sets of comments on the final report from minor points to more fundamental issues. These will be incorporated where possible, trying to avoid the creation of any further issues .

The issues that we can’t include will be recorded and sit alongside the final report and these will go to SG to include as input for Ht2040 as a record of the discussion. 

Thank you to everyone on the group. Thanks to Cassandra for capturing the very complex discussion across the group.


Group would like to see a final report as there were some significant comments.

Jon confirmed that a final version will be shared.  He noted that this is the report of the group and that if anyone cannot agree to sign off a recommendation this can be noted by exception in the paper.

Pleased that comments captured will be added to Ht2040.

Jon noted that he and Sally were jointly chairing the SRAB group preparing the final report.  

SG noted that this process is coming to close but it is now the start of the next phase. The timetable for 2040 has shifted into next year to do justice to the work of this group. Hope that people will continue to be part of 2040 process where we may need further input.

It is not the intention to publish this report but this can be discussed with SRAB and Ministers. It could be positioned around materials published as part of Ht2040.

Keen to have the report published to ensure the work is not lost and would help with transparency. Would also help to show those who have provided their lived experience to see how that has informed the work to show what has happened as a result of their participation.

3. Equalities paper – COSLA

Sally introduced this section saying that Catriona  had previously delivered a presentation to the group on equalities.

COSLA has carried out some work with gypsy travellers on lived experience by visiting and speaking to Gypsy travellers and the authors of the paper would be happy to answer any questions.

SG noted that the intention of the work was to inform the equalities considerations of Ht2040. The work carried out by COSLA will feed into Ht2040.

Further comments:

If 75% of social landlords housing lets go to homeless people that would not meet equalities needs and does not pick up on protected characteristics. Aware that some people have homes and some don’t but it does challenge equalities.  

Sally acknowledged this is a tension and we will have to work with and around it.

Being poor is not a protected characteristic. Have to recognise that when making policy you are aware that decisions may disadvantage some and advantage others that don’t need it. Wealth inequality is an issue that needs to be acknowledged in Ht2040.

SG noted that we do have a Fairer Scotland economic duty. There is the impact of intersectionality as well. SG is bound by law to recognise this. SG would welcome input from others during the next few months

4. Next Steps

A further version of the report will be prepared and comments will be taken into account where this is possible. Those that are not will be recorded and saved so they are not lost.

A final report will be circulated hopefully early next week. There will be an opportunity to respond with any final minor changes .

This is being taken forward in parallel with the SRAB work who are working on the draft report already produced. The final report will supersede this.

Our report and the additional comments will go forward to inform Ht2040 and hopefully other SG procedures and reports.

SRAB will consider the final report. Recommendations will be picked up by SRAB and put together with those from the other circles.

5. AOB

Sally and Jon thanked the members of the group. Acknowledging the huge amount of work undertaken in a short time  and hoped the group were proud of and pleased to have been involved.

This has already had an impact on PfG and the draft Infrastructure Investment Plan and will help take forward Ht2040 and inform the work of SRAB. 

The group noted their thanks to the chairs, Cassandra and the supporting SG team.


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