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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Inspection of The Highland Council's Homelessness Service

Inspection of The Highland Council's Homelessness Service

Issued: 24 Jan 2007

Following an inspection of the Counci's homelessness services, a report was presented to the Housing and Social Work Committee today which highlighted the findings and laid out areas where improvements to the service need to be made.

During the meeting Members were told that after a very thorough inspection which involved interviews with councillors, staff, service users and partnership agencies, the Council was awarded a 'C' grade which is defined as being 'Fair'.

So far of the 13 local authority homelessness services inspected by Communities Scotland 1 has received an A grade, 2 a B grade, 6, including Highland, a C grade and 4 a D grade.

The Housing and Social Work Committee Chairman, Councillor Margaret Davidson praised staff for their co-operation with the inspectors and for all the work they did in what she described as a very difficult field with many challenges. She said: "The report found that although our existing homelessness service has strengths, there are areas where improvements need to be made. We welcome this constructive feedback and will be preparing a plan to take the service we offer homeless people forward."

One of the improvements the inspectors want to see is an increase in the amount of temporary accommodation available across the Highlands. During the meeting Councillors raised concerns that this would undoubtedly add to the pressure on the Housing budget so the Council would need additional funding support from the Scottish Executive.

Director of Housing, Gordon Fisher said: "Where the report criticises us in our day to day running of the service we need to accept the findings and take on board changes to improve the service we can offer. The lack of suitable permanent and temporary accommodation in the Highlands is a hurdle we face and there is no doubt implementation of legislation regarding how homeless people are assessed will have a massive impact on our resources. However, by working closely with our housing association partners and Communities Scotland we have hugely increased investment in affordable housing for the wider community over the few years from about £7 million to £35 million. We are committed to improving our homelessness service so our job now is to continue this growth in affordable housing and address issues which the report has brought to light."

An improvement plan will be submitted to Communities Scotland on 5 March and will be discussed at the next meeting of the Housing and Social Work Committee on 7 March.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme