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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee

Meeting date: Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Agenda: Decision on Taking Business in Private, Subordinate Legislation, Pre-Budget Scrutiny 2023-24, Subordinate Legislation


Subordinate Legislation

Scottish Social Housing Charter: November 2022

The Convener

Agenda item 2 is to take evidence on the Scottish social housing charter, November 2022 from the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie. Mr Harvie is accompanied by Michael Boal of the Scottish Government’s social housing charter and regulation team. I welcome Mr Harvie to the meeting.

Before I open up the session to questions from members—if anyone has any questions—I invite Mr Harvie to make a short opening statement.

The Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights (Patrick Harvie)

Thank you, convener, and good morning to colleagues.

I am here to provide an update on the actions taken following my attendance at the committee on 1 March, when the committee considered the revised Scottish social housing charter.

In response to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee’s query about our consultation with secured creditors of registered social landlords or their representatives, the Accounts Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, I can confirm that we wrote to all eight statutory consultees in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 to ensure that there was no dubiety about the compliance with the duty to consult on the charter. We sought their views on the revised charter and provided the same 12-week response period in line with the original full consultation. We received responses from all statutory consultees, including secured creditors of registered social landlords, UK Finance, the Accounts Commission, Audit Scotland and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The overwhelming response from all the statutory consultees was that they were content with the changes that had been made to the charter. In light of some additional comments that they provided, we have made some further minor changes to the version of the charter that the committee considered in March. We have added to the equalities outcome the need for landlords to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity; revised the wording of the quality of housing outcome to provide additional clarity; changed the value for money outcome from a standard to an outcome; and highlighted the legal requirement to consult tenants on rents and service charges in the supporting narrative.

I trust that those actions provide the committee—as they have to the DPLRC—with assurances of compliance in relation to consultation with statutory consultees in the review of the charter.

The charter and the regulator’s reports provide an improvement framework for tenants and landlords to assess and compare landlord performance, and encourage landlords to deliver improved services for their tenants and other customers.

Finally, as I think I did in March, I want to place on record my thanks to the officials who have worked on what has proved to be a highly successful tool for improving services in the social housing sector, as well as my thanks to all those in the sector and others who have engaged with the consultations. I hope that the committee is content with the revised charter and that it will recommend that Parliament approve it.

The Convener

I thank the minister for his opening statement.

If members have no questions, we move to agenda item 3, which is consideration of the motion on the instrument. I invite the minister to move motion S6M-05578.

Motion moved,

That the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee recommends that the Scottish Social Housing Charter: November 2022 be approved.—[Patrick Harvie]

Motion agreed to.

The Convener

The committee will in the coming days publish a report setting out its recommendations on the social housing charter.

I briefly suspend the meeting to allow for a changeover of witnesses.

09:05 Meeting suspended.  

09:16 On resuming—