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.

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.