Anne Cook, Head of the Scottish Government's social housing team, reflects on some of the housing highlights of the past year and what's in this edition.
In May 2016 we welcomed our new Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP. Mr Stewart is very keen to continue engaging with stakeholders housing issues and meets regularly with professional and landlord organisations and the Registered Tenant Organisation ( RTO) Regional Networks.
The review of Scottish Social Housing Charter certainly dominated my team's work, and the Housing calendar, last year as we embarked on a series of 12 consultation events across Scotland between May and July to get views on reviewing the Charter. It was great to see so many of you at the events and thanks to all those landlords, tenants, tenant representatives and stakeholders who took part in the discussions and responded to the formal consultation. We had an excellent response to the consultation with over 100 responses being received.
We considered everyone's views and ideas carefully and amended the Charter accordingly - with the clear message coming through that only minor changes were required and that the Charter has been working well and is helping to improve the standard and quality of services tenants and others receive. The revised Charter was scrutinised by the Local Government and Communities Committee and approved by the Scottish Parliament on 8 February, this will replace the current Charter from 1 April 2017. You can read more about this on pages 6 and 7.
We have also continued to work on the guidance on the Social Housing provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, and published final draft versions of the guidance on our website: /policies/social-housing/. We don't yet have a date for the changes to come into force, but you can read about how we are progressing on pages 8 and 9.
The general Programme for Government continues to go forward which you can access at: http://www.gov.scot/About/Performance/programme-for-government
I know that readers will certainly be interested in the continuing welfare reform developments, and of which there will be extensive consultation over the coming months. The Minister for Social Security, Jeane Freeman MSP, outlines the new social security system for Scotland on page 18.
The Registered Tenant Organisation Regional Networks have begun to review how they are organised, to build on their achievements and ensure that they continue to work effectively with the Scottish Government on national housing issues. Further information will be provided as the review progresses and you can look out for these on the Regional Network website: https://www.regionalnetworks.org.uk/
And finally we are pleased to announce that we will be publishing a scrutiny practice guide and making available all the materials used in the 'Stepping up to Scrutiny' programme as a free training toolkit, and launching them at the CIH conference - so by the time you read this seek out your copies.
I do hope that you enjoy this edition of our newsletter!
Social Housing Services Manager
Email: Annabel MacMillan