Why we are engaging with Highland Council (Highland)
We are engaging with Highland about its services for people who are homeless, its sites for Gypsy/Travellers and tenant and resident safety.
During 2022/23 we reviewed and compared the data for all local authorities from the Scottish Government’s national homelessness statistics and the Annual Returns on the Charter. We also spoke to all local authorities to gather further information and assurance about their homelessness services. To assess the risks to people who are threatened with or experiencing homelessness we will engage with all local authorities during 2023/24 with a focus on the provision of appropriate temporary accommodation.
Highland is compliant with its fire safety obligations at three of its four sites for Gypsy/Travellers and is working towards compliance for the fourth, by August 2023.
Highland does not fully comply with the electrical safety requirements of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. Highland is currently progressing inspections to provide Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) and to install integrated smoke and heat alarms in all of its tenants’ homes.
What Highland must do
- provide us with the information we require in relation to its homelessness service;
- make us aware of any emerging issues preventing it from fulfilling its statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation when it should and comply with the Unsuitable Accommodation Order;
- confirm that its Gypsy/Traveller sites comply with all fire safety obligations by the end of August 2023;
- comply with electrical safety and fire detection requirements as soon as possible; and
- provide us with monthly updates on progress on achieving compliance with electrical safety and fire detection requirements.
What we will do
- review the information Highland provides about its homelessness service;
- meet with Highland to discuss its homelessness service and decide whether we require any additional assurance;
- meet with Highland to seek assurance if it does not provide temporary accommodation when it should, or if it breaches the Unsuitable Accommodation Order;
- consider our regulatory engagement with Highland if fire safety obligations at its sites for Gypsy/Travellers are not met by the end of August 2023;
- have on-going engagement with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as the enforcing authority for fire safety at Gypsy/Traveller sites;
- engage with Highland to monitor its progress on achieving compliance with electrical safety and fire detection requirements; and
- update our published engagement plan in light of any material change to our planned engagement with Highland.
Highland must provide us with the following annual regulatory returns:
- Annual Assurance Statement; and
- Annual Return on the Charter.
It should also notify us 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.