Regulatory investigation into Glasgow City Council homelessness services

Council accused of failing to discharge statutory duties and losing contact with around a quarter of people who were homeless while they waited for a home.

Homelessness - Rough Sleeper

Glasgow City Council faces a regulatory inquiry into its homelessness service – accused of failing to discharge statutory duties and losing contact with around a quarter of people who were homeless while they waited for a home.

The inquiry is confirmed by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) which says their will be a specific focus on provision for emergency and temporary accommodation.

Findings from the inquiry will be published in the new year – with the council’s future regulatory strategy to be determined.

“We have been monitoring the Council’s performance since our report last year.

“The Council is reporting that it continues to fail to meet its duties to provide temporary and emergency accommodation to a significant number of people who approach it for help,” said Kathleen McInulty, SHR Assistant Director of Regulation.

”It also reported that people who are homeless are still waiting significant times for a permanent home,” she said.

SHR published a report on the Council in March last year which highlighted a range of serious weaknesses in the Council’s performance in delivering homelessness services.

In summary, that report found the council:

  • Was not housing enough people who are homeless quickly enough – in 2016/17 it housed around half of those it had a duty to house
  • Had a target for the number of homes it needed to secure for people who are homeless each year that was too low
  • Was not referring enough people to RSLs to meet the level of need from people who are homeless
  • Had many who were homeless waiting a long time in temporary accommodation

The Council and its partners are acknowledged as having made some important improvements to the process they use to find homes for people, and they are working together more effectively;

And the Council’s aims for a person-centred, needs-led approach is recognised as a positive, SHR says a “full and detailed” assessment is not necessary for everyone.

SHR saw the Council’s phased approach to assessing the housing needs of people who are homeless as resulting in duplication of work and unnecessary delay in referring people who are homeless to RSLs.

Crucially, the council was found to have lost contact with around a quarter of people who were homeless while they waited for a home – with the length and complexity of the process in Glasgow identified as a significant factor in this.

The council accepted the findings and developed a plan to implement resulting recommendations within its wider transformation programme.

Since April last year, SHR has been monitoring the council’s performance on a number of key aspects of its services for people who are homeless.

The council provides SHR with performance information each month.

SHR says these submissions show:

  • The council continues to fail to meet its duties to provide temporary and emergency accommodation to a significant number of people who approach it for help
  • The homeless are still waiting a significant time for settled accommodation.

SHR confirms the council did not provide an Annual Assurance Statement approved by the appropriate Council committee by the required date.

Glasgow City Council – SHR inquiry

SHR has started an inquiry under section 42, Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 to assess whether the Council is improving its delivery of outcomes for people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness.

The inquiry will:

  • Examine the Council’s compliance with its statutory duty to provide emergency and temporary accommodation
  • Directly test the improvements reported by the Council since March 2018
  • Examine how easily people can access the Council’s Homelessness Service

SHR will publish findings from the inquiry and use these to inform a future regulatory strategy with the Council.

The council will continue to be monitored on key aspects of its services to people who are homeless -with “discussions” due over its failure to submit an Annual Assurance Statement on time.

Meantime, the council must:

  • Co-operate fully with SHR in the delivery of the inquiry
  • Demonstrate that it is discharging its statutory duties to those who approach it for assistance because of homelessness or potential homelessness
  • Continue to provide SHR with monthly performance information
  • Provide SHR with annual regulatory returns
  • Notify SHR of any material changes to its Annual Assurance Statement, and any tenant and resident safety matter which has been reported to or is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive or reports from regulatory or statutory authorities or insurance providers, relating to safety concerns.

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