The Scottish Government has published new Local Housing Strategy (LHS) Guidance ("the Guidance") for local authorities. It replaces the original guidance, published in 2014, and took immediate effect on 15 September.
A LHS must set out how the authority will exercise its housing functions and how it will work with other agencies to improve the standard of housing in its area. The Guidance sets out the other key areas that the Scottish Government expect to be addressed, and for each area provides a helpful checklist of the points that should be covered.
One of those key areas is how the objectives link to wider local and national outcomes. It highlights that the LHS sits within a much wider framework of public service delivery and reform. The checklist for it includes:
- a summary of progress achieved against delivery of outcomes in the previous LHS together with information on any outstanding actions being taken forward in the new LHS
- evidence of progress achieved to date of delivery of statutory requirements together with future progress to be made against delivery of statutory requirements
- how the Place Principle is being used to deliver change within communities and achieve desired outcomes
- evidence that all essential links have been made to wider national Scottish Government priorities and plans together with links to local plans and strategies
- A LHS Outcome Action Plan ; and
- evidence of how the development of outcomes have been influenced by community engagement and consultation to deliver national priorities, plans and targets.
All local authorities must prepare a LHS and keep it under review, and the Guidance will assist local authorities to update their current strategies.
The role of the LHS within the framework of public service delivery and reform is further reinforced by the identification of the following topics as key areas in their own right:
- Engagement and Consultation;
- Housing, Health and Social Care Integration;
- Local Context; and
- Place Making and Communities
The Guidance sends a clear message that local authorities will need to think about a range of issues when they are reviewing and updating their LHS. Local authorities will also need to think about how they can engage with service users and work in partnership with other public bodies to deliver the outcomes identified in their LHS.