SCOTTISH HOUSE CONDITION SURVEY
Q. Has the Scottish Government received any feedback from local authorities who have purchased a boost to the Scottish House Condition Survey?
A. To date, they have expressed content about how their boosts have been managed. However their boost data has not been delivered yet, so they have not commented on this so far.
Q. Can you provide more detail on what Aberdeenshire's boost to the Scottish House Condition Survey looks like?
A. They have purchased a boost to increase their sample by an additional 150 private sector units, every year, for three years. They will also be provided with their figures and analysis annually and they will also receive this slightly earlier than non-boosted results.
SCOTTISH HOUSEHOLD SURVEY
Q. Is SPSS training being organised for the Scottish Household Survey?
A. The Scottish Government is currently assessing what it may cost to deliver such training to local authorities.
Q. Does the Scottish Household Survey conduct face-to-face interviews north of the Great Glen?
A. Yes, all SHS interviews are face-to-face, regardless of where they take place in Scotland.
Q. Do you think it would be useful for the Scottish Household Survey to include a question on country of birth? If this were to be included, then it would be possible to get up-to-date migration statistics. This is only available for the last Census in 2001 so there is a data gap here. Would you consider this?
A. The SHS does not currently include a question on country of birth. However, this would not be ruled out. The SHS will shortly be reviewed to assess the extent to which SHS questions should reflect the question that will be included on Scotland's 2011 Census. So there is every chance that a question on country of birth may be added in future. This is an issue which the new SHS Steering Group will wish to consider.
Q. The Scottish Household Survey does not currently take account of non-response bias. Is the non-response rate high and what effect does it have on data quality?
A. The overall response rate for the SHS is high. The table below shows SHS response rates since its inception.
RESPONSE RATE (%)
Further details on this and other technical issues can be found on the Scottish Government website.
One of draw backs of not accounting for non-response rates is that the results of the SHS cannot be grossed up to the entire population. As a consequence of this, the SHS can only report proportions and not numbers. Work in now underway to begin addressing non-response rates and bias in order to help address this.
Q. It would be useful if both the Scottish Household Survey and Scottish House Condition Survey could measure the characteristics of people in the social, rented and intermediate sector. This would be helpful to gain an understanding of which kind of people move between these types of households.
A. The intermediate sector is difficult to define. However a variable (or proxy) for this will be available soon on the SHS.
SCOTTISH NEIGHBOURHOOD STATISTICS
Q. Are housing and planning statistics available at datazone level for National Parks Authorities?
A. If source data are grid referenced then it is possible, in principle, to produce statistics at datazone level for the National Parks Authorities.
Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics includes a number of 'Specialist Reports' which provides statistics for less common geographical areas relevant to people living or working in these areas or those responsible for related policy or service delivery. New reports will be added as demand arises. The indicators for each report are pre-determined either to provide a set of interesting statistics for less common geographical areas or to act as a set of performance indicators. Some examples of Specialist Report already on SNS are Scottish Police Forces and Urban Regeneration Companies. More information is available on the SNS website on the section entitled 'Specialist Report'.
Work is currently underway to develop a specialist report for the National Parks Authorities to include a number of different indicators. This will include consideration of relevant housing indicators.
Q. In many rural areas, self-build and single build houses make a significant contribution to the overall supply of housing. In some instances, this form of supply has the potential to house households who would otherwise be unable to afford to buy or rent in the market. When producing estimates of net annual housing need, should Partnerships regard these properties as contributing to the supply of affordable housing or should they be treated as market housing?
A. Where a Rural Home Ownership Grant is provided, the property should be regarded as contributing to the supply of affordable housing. However, where no public subsidy is provided, the key point is being consistent in the treatment of this form of supply and the households who are housed through it.
If the supply is treated as market housing, then the estimates of newly arising (or backlog) households with an affordable need should exclude any newly arising (or backlog) households who have access to this type of market housing. Otherwise, the estimates of net annual housing need would significantly over-estimate the difference between the level of need and the level of supply.
Of course, there may be practical difficulties in identifying this group in the statistical/ survey sources used to identify newly arising (or backlog) households who can't afford to buy or rent in the market. At its crudest, an estimate or assumption would need to be made for the proportion of households who access self-build accommodation in this way and who would not otherwise be able to meet their housing needs in the market.
SECOND HOMES (GROS)
Q. What data are available on second homes?
A. The General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) publishes statistics on second homes once a year. This information is produced from local authority Council Tax billing systems. Dwellings which are second homes are subject to a specific Council Tax discount of between 10 per cent and 50 per cent. This includes self-catering holiday accommodation available to let for a total of less than 140 days per year. Second homes which are let out for 140 days or more are not included in the figures.
Data on the percentages of dwellings which are second homes are published for a number of geographies within the GROS publication:
- Local authority
- Strategic Development Planning Area
- National Park
- Scottish Government 6-point Urban-rural classification
- Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) decile
Individual data zone level figures on the percentages of dwellings which are second homes are published on the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics website ( www.sns.gov.uk). It is not possible to publish data zone figures on second homes for Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire.
Q. Can you provide further signposting to more detailed guidance such as the pre-existing Local Housing System Analysis Good Practice Guide?
A. The Scottish Government currently has no plans to amend the Housing Need and Demand Assessment Guidance (2008) to include further signposting to more detailed guidance. We provide additional clarification, help and advice through this Q&A format on the CHMA website.
Partnerships requiring further guidance or signposting should, in the first instance, check the Q&A section or contact the CHMA on 0131 244 0870 or email email@example.com, or contact their local Housing Investment Division Team. Partnerships requiring additional assistance on how to assess the various components of the local housing system should refer to the Local Housing System Analysis Good Practice Guide published by Communities Scotland in 2004.
SINGLE OUTCOME AGREEMENTS (SOAS) AND THE IMPROVISING LOCAL INDICATORS PROJECT (PLP)
Q. What are Single Outcome Agreements?
A. Single Outcome Agreements are agreements between the Scottish Government and Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). These agreements set out how each will work in the future toward improving outcomes for the local people in a way that reflects local circumstances and priorities, within the context of the Governments National Outcomes and Purpose (see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/scotPerforms)
SOAs are uniquely shaped to reflect the needs and circumstances of the areas they cover. They are designed to ensure local people know exactly what their CPP is committed to provide on their behalf. But in one crucial way the agreements are also all the same: each of the 32 maps out a brighter, more successful future for the people of Scotland, with all levels of government working together to deliver better services across the whole of the country.
The first round of SOAs were produced in 2008, these were initially drawn up by Local Authorities. Some authorities invited their respective CPPs to be involved in the process. This was seen as a positive step, therefore, when the second round of agreements were drawn up in 2009 the agreements all included the relevant CPPs for each Local Authority area.
SOAs have now moved onto the delivery phase, and annual reports are produced each September. These reports are made available to the public so that residents can see what their CPP is doing to address the priority issues in their respective area. These reports are also provided to the Scottish Government to outline the actions that have been taken and where progress has been made in each Local Authority area.
All 32 Single Outcome Agreements and the Annual Reports can be found on the Improvement Service's website: http://www.improvementservice.org.uk/library/577-single-outcome-agreements/view-category/
Q. How is progress towards local outcomes measured?
A. Each Single Outcome Agreement specifies a number of indicators which the CPP will use to show whether progress towards their local outcomes is being made. SOAs are high level, strategic documents, concerned with the outcomes of an area not the inputs, outputs and activities. Because of the nature of outcomes, it is often difficult to find an appropriate measure of progress. In the first round of SOAs there were several thousand indicators used across the 32 SOAs and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) considered that not all of these indicators were appropriate for inclusion in SOAs. For this reason SOLACE launched the Improving Local Outcome Indicators Project.
Q. What is the Improving Local Outcome Indicators Project?
A. The 'Improving Local Outcome Indicators' project is a national initiative, which has been led by the Society Of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and has included input from all of the key stakeholders involved in Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs).
The aim of the project is to improve the availability and accessibility of indicators suitable for use in SOAs, so that in the future SOAs can more accurately and reliably report on progress towards local outcomes.
The project is overseen by a Project Board and work is taken forward by task-groups.
To date, the project has established a set of criteria that indicators should meet to be suitable for use in SOAs; consulted with a wide range of stakeholders on what the key outcome are that need measuring, whether appropriate indicators exist and what can be done to improve availability of useful data; and produced version 4 of the Menu of Local Outcome Indicators (earlier versions were produced by the Improvement Service based on the most commonly used indicators in SOAs).
The second phase of the project is being carried forward in two strands. One strand is focussing on filling the gaps identified in version 4 of the menu. This is being carried out by the Indicator Task Group. The other strand will look at evaluation methodologies.
Q. What is the Menu of Local Outcome Indicators?
A. Version 4 of the Menu of Local Outcome Indicators was one of the outputs from the Improving Local Indicators Project. The menu is a collection of indicators that have been suggested for use in Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs). The menu consists of metadata (detailed information on the definition, source etc) for all indicators. The menu is not prescriptive and Community Planning Partnerships are under no requirements to include any of the menu indicators in their SOA.
The Menu of Local Outcome Indicators can be found on the Improvement Service's website:
The data for each indicator in the menu can be found from the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) portal: www.sns.gov.uk; select the standard reporter, then Local Outcome Indicators report.
Q. How can I get involved in the project?
A. If you want to contribute towards the Indicators Task Groups work in any way, or to get further information about the work this group is carrying out please email Analysts.Network@Scotland.gsi.gov.uk
For information about the Evaluation Task Group or to get involved please email Andrew.McGuire@improvementservice.org.uk
Q. Where can I find more information about the project?
SPECIFIC HOUSEHOLD GROUPS
Q. Can you provide further guidance on how to assess the housing requirements of specific household groups e.g. households with particular needs and equality groups?
A. There are several reasons why Partnerships should consider undertaking additional assessments of the housing requirements of specific household groups, including:
- In accordance with the 2001 Housing (Scotland) Act, the Local Housing Strategy must explain how equality issues have been considered and how local authorities statutory public sector duties on disability, gender and race have been met. Where local authorities are unsure whether they have met their duties in this respect they should refer to the guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission;
- On 24th April 2009, The Equality Bill was introduced in the House of Commons. Subject to the approval of both Houses, it is anticipated that the Bill will receive Royal Assent in Spring 2010.
- It is recommended that Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) are undertaken for Local Housing Strategies. This will, in part, rely on the evidence that has been gathered for the preceding Housing Need and Demand Assessment. If insufficient data is gathered for the Housing Need and Demand Assessment, further data gathering may then be required for the Local Housing Strategy;
- Additional information about specific household groups, including households with disabled people and older people requiring specialist accommodation, will help to inform future housing and planning policy;
- In some parts of the country, other groups e.g. students or migrant workers may exert influences within the housing market and/or local economy that need to be better understood and planned for.
The decision on which specific household groups to prioritise for additional analysis should be taken by Partnerships taking into account local circumstances. The Housing Need and Demand Assessment Guidance (2008) outlines some of the issues and approaches that Partnerships may wish to consider with respect to families, older people, households with specific needs, and minority and hard to reach groups, however as noted above in some parts of Scotland there may be other groups e.g. students or migrant workers that exert influences within the local housing market.
The importance of presenting data and evidence about the needs of different communities and household groups within the Housing Need and Demand Assessment and Local Housing Strategy cannot be overstated. Equalities issues should be embedded throughout the Local Housing Strategy and should be informed by an Equality Impact Assessment.
Guidance is available to help staff who are responsible for the production of Local Housing Strategies. Further information on mainstreaming equalities is also available from the Portal to Resources and Information on Mainstreaming Equalities. The recent Scottish Government Consultation on Public Sector Equality Duty Specific Duties provides relevant information on the changing legislative context.
The following ten-point checklist provides some general hints and tips in terms of the process to be followed by Partnerships in assessing the housing requirements of equality groups:
- Partnerships should identify local authority equality officers and invite them to participate in the Partnership.
- Partnerships should establish what the key local authority policies are (both in general and for housing and planning) for each of the six equality groups (age, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, and religion & belief). This should include consideration of commitments which have been made in local authority gender, race and disability equality schemes and any other relevant equality strategies.
- Partnerships should follow the Equality Impact Assessment Toolkit produced by the Scottish Government.
- Partnerships should use the Toolkit as a starting point, both in terms of identifying which equality groups are likely to be affected by future housing and planning policy and what specific needs they may have.
- Partnerships should scope out what data are available nationally and locally for each of the six equality groups and identify where the data gaps lie. The High Level Summary of Equality Statistics (see below) is a useful starting point for finding equality data and further information about this publication is provided below.
- Partnerships should agree how to bridge any gaps in knowledge. This should include reference to a series of guidance notes developed by the Scottish Government to assist in the collection of equalities data.
- Partnerships should consider undertaking qualitative assessments of 'hard to reach groups' (such as holding focus groups or interviews with representatives from the groups concerned) as this is likely to be the only feasible way of gathering this information where the populations are very small.
- Partnerships should analyse the data collected and agree the key 'bricks and mortar' and housing support issues for each of the six equality groups. It may be that the evidence identifies no substantive issues for some of the groups.
- Partnerships should form a judgement about whether the data collected are robust enough to feed into forecasts or models of future housing need and explain their reasoning behind this. This may or may not be the case.
- If the data cannot be forecasted or modelled, they should nevertheless be reported on within the Housing Need and Demand Assessment. This should include a write-up of where the evidence did not show there to be substantive housing issues for a specific group.
The High Level Summary of Equality Statistics ( HLSES)
The HLSES was published in 2006 and presents statistical trends on the main areas of Government activity in Scotland across a number of equality dimensions including age, disability, ethnicity, gender and in some cases religion. It provides a route into more detailed statistics on each topic and each equality dimension by listing relevant publications and websites after each trend. In some cases web links to qualitative research are also provided.
The information presented in this publication can be accessed on-line via the Scottish Government Statistics website. The main publication presents information by topic area, however in addition to this, data relating to each separate equality dimension have been made available in a series of sub publications which can be accessed using the above link. Data have been made available in this way for those who may be interested in a particular equality dimension.
Q. How can households with support needs be broken down into different categories e.g. need to move as health suffering due to condition of home or difficulty using stairs or layout/design unsuitable or physical disability?
A. Partnerships should refer to Chapter 11 of the Local Housing System Analysis Good Practice Guide published by Communities Scotland in 2004, which provides practical guidance on assessing the housing needs of households who require some form of support and/or specialist housing provision in order to live independently within the community. This includes:
- Those who have care and support needs but whose housing needs are for ordinary housing;
- Those who have a need for specially designed housing but do not require any care or support services; and
- Those who have a requirement for housing of a special design or a particular form and who also require care or support services to live independently.
The Guide provides a number of examples of how local secondary data have been analysed to identify particular groups with support needs. The Guide highlights that housing analysts cannot undertake an assessment on their own and close working arrangements with other members of the Partnership, in particular Community Health Partnerships and local authority social work teams, will be required.
Q. Where can I get more information on surveys?
A. The Scottish Government's electronic library of analytical guidance material contains links to various sources of information on surveys.