Social Renewal Housing System Policy Circle minutes: 15 October 2020

Minutes of the 15 October meeting of the Social Renewal Housing System Policy Circle/

Attendees and apologies


Jon Sparkes (Joint Chair)

Laura Caven

Craig Spence

Shona Gorman

Mark Stephens

Nina Ballantyne

John Mills

Marsha Scott

Cassandra Dove

Hugh McClung

David Bookbinder

Naeem Bhatti, SG

Liz Geddes, SG

Amanda Callaghan, SG

Kuan Loh, SG

Margaret Irving, SG


Sally Thomas (Joint Chair)

Catriona MacKean, SG

Angela O’Brien, SG

Cllr Elena Whitham

Karen Stevenson

Items and actions

1. Welcome and review of last meeting 8 October

Jon welcomed everyone to the meeting. One change was noted on attendance at the last meeting. Jon outlined the structure of this meeting and what he intended to cover.

2. 2040 – updated schedule of thoughts on frameworks for implementation

Jon shared slides on Ht2040 principles noting that we would be discussing principle 11 today and that we would focus on principle 9 at the next meeting. The group were asked for their thoughts on how we implement this:

Local and regional arrangements must not replicate existing inequalities in the community. Participatory budgeting is gender racial.

This view was also discussed at the SRAB meeting. Everyone wants local engagement but worries about which local community wants to house homeless people. Opportunity to make a strong statement on this.

Fife are in talks about decentralisation and how the LA involves communities in actual decision making. Currently looking at 7 decentralised areas. Aware that a number of other authorities are doing similar exercises. Would be good to get input from other LAs.

COSLA was working on corporate governance exercise and will follow up on this.

We need to acknowledge there is work going on in this area so not starting from the beginning. It would be useful to identify areas of good practice and get a sense of the existing barriers.

​Interested in giving local people sense of being involved. Our members are seeing a wide variety of need and circumstances. Important to engage local communities, those on the housing list and those who are homelessness. Homelessness takes precedence so have to be honest about limitations of statute.

Increasing allocations to homeless is important and aiming for 80/90% is a target that will vary depending on location. Some things need to be achieved and then there are areas that have more scope to develop.

There are 3 new villages being built in North Glasgow. How do you apply place principles for these developments? Is a community planning approach being developed? Action SG to follow up 3 new villages planning approach.

SURF so a lot of area based work.  This is about connecting people who make decisions with disadvantaged communities. Convey community needs back to the decision makers. Includes Govan, Glasgow, Kirkcaldy and islands.

Lot of top down input before others get involved. In the interest of community engagement it would be a good idea to look at wording and revisit place principle.

Children's participation needs to be highlighted and impact of decisions made by the mothers based on the children.

Worried about children’s invisibility. UK right of child it is incumbent on us to do something about this especially at local levels is likely to be light or non-existent.

When we produce recommendations we need to make clear the cross reference to the UN Rights of the Child.

​Planning Charrettes in Fife seek to regenerate local neighbourhoods.  Empowerment is at the heart of this approach.

The Covid19 C+F (Children and Families?) leadership group are pursuing the children and young people's participation work which may allow us to link up the relevant discussions.

Concern that this group is focussed on child protection which would not necessarily pick up the right issues.

SG are developing a Place Standard Children Version to help with engaging the children in planning and in development. MPF4 – intention is to have standalone policy on children for place bases that is more visible in natural and built environment. More emphasis on children. LA have to do a place efficiency study to go into evidence report. Children need spaces to play and relax.

The input from young people in Housing to 2040 schools tour was excellent.

The work was much wider that members of the Scottish Youth Parliament. SG colleagues were taking this forward with Play Scotland.

Group were reminded of the need to take into account the National Plan for Islands and islands proofing.

If island proofing is not done properly it can lead to huge problems. SG changes to building regulations has negatively impacted on property in Orkney. Automatic fire suppression has to be included. Orkney has really low water pressure so cant connect up sprinklers without £20K being spent on each house to develop to the right standard and then there is an ongoing servicing cost. No island community impact assessment. This is now part of regulations. All the good work has been undone by not considering island impact.

This shows why EQIA should be taken seriously.

Fife noted they had been installing sprinklers since 2012 at a cost of £3/4k per unit. There have only been 2 deaths in homes without sprinklers. Should get enhanced subsidy rates to compensate for additional costs.  Recognise that SG are doing this for community safety reasons but need to be extra support for islands.

Opportunity to embed the use of Place Standard tool, not just as an engagement tool but also as a post completion assessment tool. All local authorities planning department has Place Standard Lead who could help with this.

Action -SG to liaise with building standards colleagues regarding the additional sprinkler costs incurred for island properties.  

3. Feedback on the proposed reporting framework and SRAB report development

The SRAB have realised there is an immense amount of input from policy circles and noted the high level of involvement from Cabinet Secretaries. It was agreed that Cabinet Secretaries will step back when report is prepared. The recommendation is that SRAB create a sub group to prepare the report. A request has been made that one of the joint chairs of this group should be involved in preparing the final report. A framework has now been developed to enable policy circles to report. COSLA noted that their representative would also step back and would not author the report.

With the report being independent this would allow for the Government and other political parties to respond.

Action – Jon to circulate slide for this talk.

4. Update on lived experience

SG thanked those who had provided responses. We want to make sure we cover all the protected characteristics. The information is currently being pulled together on the minority groups identified.

Comments from the group:

  • Mining of recent research will really help this process.
  • What we produce will not be a comprehensive piece of work and we need to be clear about the limitations. Who have we not heard from and what is missing.
  • Also need to consider those that sit outside protected characteristics.
  • Remember an intersectional approach is needed--e.g., disabled women.

Action - circulate the list of reports to cover protected characteristics.

5. Equalities

SG updated. Based on discussion the previous week, SG and COSLA are looking at gypsy travellers with the intention of bringing some progress to the meeting next week.

6. AoB, next meetings and close

Next week Karen Stevenson and Mark Stephens will present on Principle 9.

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