No Place Like Home Photography Competition 2022: Winning Entries

The winners of the 2022 No Place Like Home photography competition have been announced, showcasing the different ways that people in Scotland use housing support.

On the 1st of November, at the first session of the Better Futures Annual event, HSEU announced the winning entries of the 2022 No Place Like Home Photography Competition. Now in its 12th year, the photography competition continues to celebrate the achievements and the experiences of people using housing support services in Scotland.

The judging panel this year included representatives from organisations including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Housing Options Scotland, Homeless Action Scotland, Scotland’s Housing Network, the Scottish Social Services Council, and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

The judges were impressed with all the entries which demonstrate the diverse ways that people use housing support to achieve their own goals. HSEU would like to thank all the entrants and their support workers for taking part this year. All of the 2022 entries are able to be viewed on Flickr.

 

Click here to see the 2022 No Place Like Home Winner’s Leaflet: 

Amy Haggerty, supported by Threshold Glasgow (Crossreach)

Andrew, Keiran, John, and Bobby, supported by Threshold Glasgow (Crossreach)

Cindie Maclennan, supported by Key Housing

Gemma Ferrie, supported by Falkirk Council

Anton Gallagher and Paige Bain, supported by Threshold Glasgow (Crossreach)

Shaun Cullen, supported by Community Lifestyles (featured below)

Better Futures Annual Event Series

Better Futures annual events, November 2022: A series of online events taking place between 1st and 10th November

Better Futures is an outcomes-monitoring tool used by housing support providers throughout Scotland.   Its unique scoring system enables support workers to create individually tailored support plans, and to update and track progress over time.  As well as its usefulness as an outcomes-monitoring tool for supported people individually, the information gathered can be aggregated and reported, enabling services and providers to understand and articulate the impacts and outcomes of the services they provide.

This year’s event consists of four individual online sessions examining different themes with a common thread – ways in which Better Futures contributes and can help.

 

Session 1: Tuesday 1st November 10.30am – 12.00pm

The opening session considers Better Futures, Regulation and the Scottish Government’s Data Strategy.  It will open with presentations to winners of the annual ‘No Place Like Home’ photography competition, which celebrates the achievements and experiences of people who use housing support services in Scotland. The session will then move on to a presentation from the Care Inspectorate focusing on how services can demonstrate quality in line with regulatory requirements, before the Scottish Government will take the lead in setting out ways in which digital systems can contribute to a new national data strategy for health and social care.

 

Session 2: Thursday 3rd November 10.30am – 12.00pm

The second session in the event series will take the form of a demonstration of the Better Futures system, led by Fraser White from the Housing Support Enabling Unit, supported by Alexander Rae, an experienced Better Futures user from South Ayrshire Council.   The demonstration is designed not only to showcase the system to potential new users, but also to enable existing users to gain insights into other providers’ utilisation of the tools it offers for supporting people and articulating impacts and outcomes.

 

Session 3: Wednesday 9th November 10.00m – 11.30am

DigiFest 2022 is a Scottish Digital Health and Care Ecosystem learning event delivered by the Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care Directorate, its steering group partners and the European Connected Health Alliance.  The third Better Futures event session in the series is a DigiFest satellite session focused on harnessing digital technology to tackle homelessness, and will be delivered by Simon Scotland and the Housing Support Enabling Unit. The session will focus on how online recording systems can support collaborative working and help to achieve positive housing, health and social care outcomes for people facing homelessness.  It will include examples that demonstrate how Better Futures supports collaborative working, information sharing and outcomes demonstration, as well as reducing paperwork and duplication, and generally supporting people who are facing homelessness.

 

Session 4: Thursday 10th November 10.30am – 12.00pm

The concluding session in the annual event series is concerned with Commissioning for Outcomes.  The Independent Review of Adult Social Care recommended that commissioning and procurement of social care needs to move away from contracting through price based competitive tenders to commissioning for outcomes. Social care contracts will need to change to become focused on outcomes for individuals and not ‘time and task’. Contracts for social care will need to be more individualised and bespoke to enable support to meet the person’s outcomes and needs. Ethical procurement of social care will be based on more collaborative approaches to contracting and involve families and supported people and providers in the process.   Neil McKechnie will update attendees on CCPS’s work in taking this forward and is keen to gain input and feedback from sector colleagues.

How to join us:

Book your place at sessions 1, 2 and/or 4

Book your place at session 3 (DigiFest)

For more information about the event as a whole or any of the individual sessions, please email hs.unit@ccpscotland.org.

Energy Crisis Impacts for Supported and Sheltered Housing- SFHA Briefing

The SFHA has been gathering evidence about the ongoing impact of the energy crisis and has reported on the specific difficulties faced by people living in supported and sheltered housing and providers of these services.

On the 23rd of August, Nicola Sturgeon hosted an energy summit of representatives from the Scottish Government, energy companies and advice organisations. The summit focused on necessary next steps to be taken by the UK government and practical action to help households through the energy crisis. Following the summit, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has been gathering information about the impact of the energy crisis on its members and has put together a briefing about the specific impact for supported and sheltered housing. Read more on the SFHA website.

While the energy crisis is affecting all consumers, there is evidence that suggests that social housing tenants living in supported or sheltered housing are more vulnerable to the impact of increasing energy costs. The SFHA is calling for immediate progress to resolve the practical barriers faced by housing associations and support for the most vulnerable in society.

SFHA Briefing – Energy Crisis Impacts for Supported and Sheltered Housing

Supported Exempt Accommodation and Possible Housing Benefit Changes

The Housing Support Enabling Unit is looking to hear from providers of supported housing to collect case studies of good quality supported exempt accommodation and to gather information about the number of supported services across Scotland.

In March 2022, Eddie Hughes, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Rough Sleeping and Housing issued a statement about supported housing, suggesting that changes to housing benefit regulations were likely to come to ‘improve quality and value for money across all specified supported housing provision’. Read more here.

 

Supported Exempt Accommodation is a definition used in HB regulations that refers to accommodation provided by a registered or unregistered housing association, a registered charity, or non-profit who provide care, support, or supervision to a tenant. Organisations can charge higher rents for this type of accommodation than for other housing benefit claims because of the support that is provided.

 

Beginning in October 2020, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) provided £5.4 million to the local authorities of Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bristol, and Hull to run pilots to improve local authority oversight of local supported housing. The pilots have led to increased scrutiny of supported accommodation and housing benefit claims, with 1,285 claims being denied where the definition of specified accommodation was not being met[1]. Since the pilots, it has emerged that supported exempt accommodation housing benefit rules have been taken advantage of to fund poor quality accommodation in England with non-adequate support[2]. Similar pilots have not taken place in Scotland where supported housing is regulated by the Care Inspectorate. In July 2022, DLUHC announced a £20M improvement fund to help local authorities in England tackle poor quality supported housing[3].

 

The HSEU feels that it is important that in the context of possible changes to housing benefit, the DLUHC is presented with examples of good quality supported housing in Scotland and the positive outcomes it can have. The HSEU is also interested in gathering information on the number of supported housing services provided. Therefore, the HSEU has distributed a survey for providers of housing support to complete about the supported services provided by their organisation. If you have not received the survey or would like to be involved in creating case studies of supported exempt accommodation in Scotland, please get in contact with HSEU at hs.unit@ccpscotland.org. The survey will be open until the 21st of September.

 

[1] Evaluation of the Supported Housing Oversight Pilots

[2] InsideHousing Investigation into SEA in Birmingham

[3] Supported Housing Improvement Programme Prosepctus

 

Fuel Insecurity Fund for Social Landlords

A new round of £2m fuel insecurity funding has been announced for social landlords. The fund will open on the 29th of August with SFHA hosting a webinar with more information on the 23rd of August at 10:00.

A new round of the Scottish Government’s Fuel Insecurity Fund has been announced. Formerly the Social Housing Fuel Poverty Support Fund, the fund aims to allow social landlords to better provide practical support to their tenants to help them to heat their homes and manage their energy costs.

The fund is managed by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and is available to social landlords. The fund will open on the 29th of August and there is more information available on the SFHA website.

There will also be a SFHA webinar on the 23rd of August from 10:00 to 11:00 for social landlords to learn more about the fund and the assessment criteria. Book your place through the SFHA here.

National Care Service (Scotland) Bill consultation event 10th August

The HSEU and SFHA are jointly hosting a webinar at 10.00 – 11.30am. Come along to find out more about the Bill and discuss from a housing / housing support perspective.

 

Online webinar 10th August 10 – 11.30am

The National Care Service (Scotland) Bill was introduced on the 20/6/22 to the Scottish Parliament. The Bill sets out the principles for the National Care Service (NCS) and its aim is to ensure that everyone can consistently access community health, social care, and social work services, regardless of where they live in Scotland. Subject to Parliamentary approval, there is provision for a power to transfer accountability for a range of services, including adult social care and social work services to Scottish Ministers from local government.

The consultation on the bill was launched on the 8th July by the Health, Care and Sport Committee, and runs until the 2nd September.  This provides us with a further opportunity to comment on the current proposals and make the case for housing to be included in planning and designing services locally.

The HSEU and the SFHA are co-hosting a webinar on the bill on the 10th August, 10am until 11.30. This will provide an opportunity to hear from the civil service National Care Service Team and the parliamentary Health, Care and Sport Committee who oversea the passage of the bill.

The session is aimed at senior leaders from housing associations and housing support organisations. Full details here. Please book a place on the SFHA website here.

No Place Like Home Photography Competition 2022

Are you a budding photographer?

The Housing Support Enabling Unit would like to invite everyone who uses a housing support or supported housing service to take part in the No place like home Photography Competition 2022.

The Housing Support Enabling Unit is pleased to announce the launch of the 2022 No Place like Home photography competition!

As we approach the summer it’s a good time to reflect on the things that are most important to us: Home, Community and Wellbeing.  Throughout the past year, housing support services have continued to play a crucial role in helping people to find and stay in a safe and secure home, and pursue their interests.

The No Place Like Home Photo Competition is about celebrating the achievements and the experiences of people who use housing support services in Scotland.  Everyone who is using housing support services or living in supported housing are invited, with the help of their support workers, to put forward photographs representing at least one of three themes –

  • home
  • community
  • wellbeing

The competition is free to enter and there are cash prizes for winners in each category.

Find out more about the competition here and download the entry form.  To enter, fill in the entry form and send it with your photo to hs.unit@ccpscotland.org.

All entries must be submitted by Monday 12th September 2022 to be considered. This has been extended to Monday 19th September 2022.

If you need inspiration before working on an entry, you can look at the winners from last year here.

If you have any questions about the competition or would like more information, please contact the unit at hs.unit@ccpscotland.org

Continued funding for the HSEU and a message from the Unit’s Chair

The Scottish Government has agreed funding of the HSEU for a further year.

Amanda Miller, Director of Community Services Eildon Housing Association and Chair of the Unit’s Executive Committee has warmly welcomed this news and says, ‘over the last couple of years the Unit has helped the housing support / supported housing sector to deal with many challenges faced during the pandemic.  Moving forward, there is likely to be fundamental change in the way social care is planned and delivered as we continue to recover from the pandemic as well as prepare for opportunities coming through the introduction of the  National Care Service. The Unit has an important role in promoting housing support as a way of achieving better outcomes for people with support needs.’

The Unit is jointly hosted by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations. You can find out more about the work of the Unit here.

Housing Support Enabling Unit

Possible changes to the HB system for Supported Housing

On 17th March, Eddie Hughes, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Rough Sleeping and Housing, issued a statement about Supported Housing.

This included an intention to make:

Changes to Housing Benefit regulations to seek to define care, support and supervision to improve quality and value for money across all specified supported housing provision.’

Any such changes could affect supported people and landlords providing supported housing in Scotland.  At the moment it is not clear what these changes will consist of but it is likely to involve a tighter definition of support for accommodation to be classed as supported exempt accommodation.  Currently the rule of thumb is ‘minimal support and supervision’ which is open to interpretation.  The concerns about the level of rents in some supported exempt accommodation in England could prompt new limits on HB.

What is driving these changes?

The UK Government’s Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Committee is conducting an enquiry into exempt supported accommodation in England after a 61.5% increase in the number of households living in this type of accommodation between 2016 and May 2021. There are particular concerns about the quality of the accommodation and instances of poor quality of support in some areas including the West Midlands, Blackpool and Bristol. Up to May 2021 the Regulator of Social Housing had issued non-compliant ratings to 3 out of the 7 largest exempt supported accommodation providers in Birmingham.   The UK Government is looking at ways of regulating the sector more effectively in England to combat poor quality and poor value of some supported housing.

As well as looking at HB regulations, the UK Government intends to introduce:

‘Minimum standards for the support provided to residents to ensure residents receive the good quality support they expect and deserve in order to live as independently as possible and achieve their personal goals;

and

New powers for local authorities in England to better manage their local supported housing market and ensure that rogue landlords cannot exploit the system to the detriment of vulnerable residents and at the expense of taxpayers;’

This is an acknowledgement that the issues faced in England will not be dealt with by addressing the HB regulations alone.  Any measures introduced to deal with these two issues in England should not impact on Scotland as both regulation of housing support and planning regulations are devolved matters.

More on the perceived challenges faced in England

The  DLUHC Committee held an evidence session on 28th March which involved the housing, care and charity regulators to examine their role in regulating aspects of exempt supported accommodation in England. The session highlighted a lack of information about exempt supported accommodation due to the fact that the term is a HB definition and doesn’t relate to categories used by the regulators.  Regulators in England find it difficult to improve standards, rectify poor practice or poor governance.

Particular concerns have been raised about the use of a lease model of exempt accommodation which are often short term and can expand rapidly.  There have been examples of companies selling on supported accommodation at an inflated price on the basis of high rents which could be unsustainable.  The Regulator of Social Housing regulates around 35 lease based organisations and has issued 23 non-compliant judgements in England.

Exempt supported accommodation in Scotland

In Scotland we can be much more confident about the quality of supported housing given that it is regulated by the Care Inspectorate and so required to meet Health and Social Care Standards.  Regulated services are subject to inspection and the Care Inspectorate has powers to close services down.  Governance arrangements as well as the fitness of key staff and directors are subject to scrutiny.  In addition to this, the supported housing workforce is regulated through the Scottish Social Services Council.  As far as we know, the UK government is not questioning the standard of supported housing in Scotland.

Next steps

The Unit recently delivered a training session on HB and Supported Housing for providers which included reflections on possible changes to HB regulation.  You can obtain the recording of this session by contacting Yvette Burgess.

We will be following this up with a roundtable event in conjunction with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.  The purpose of this meeting will be to consider possible implications for supported housing in Scotland.  Invitations to this will be sent out shortly.

The UK Government is expected to launch an evaluation report on a series of supported housing pilot projects that have taken place over the last couple of years in England.  We are looking out for that and will consider any early indications of the sorts of changes that might lie ahead.

The Unit is in contact with the Scottish Government as it engages with the DWP and other UK officials to make sure that implications for Scotland are well understood.

If you wish to contact the Unit to discuss this issue please email Yvette Burgess.

Putting housing support in the frame!

We were delighted to announce the winners of the annual No Place Like Home photography competition at an online event on the 9th November 2021.

This year the competition has shone a light on the way people have coped with lockdown restrictions and the role housing support staff have played in promoting activities and helping people to make the most of their immediate surroundings.

You can view the photographs and read about the context and motivation behind them here.