Why we are engaging with Orkney Islands Council (Orkney)
We are engaging with Orkney about its services for people who are homeless, service quality, stock quality 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.
We will engage with Orkney in particular about the following areas:
- Orkney’s assessment of homelessness applications; and
- outcomes for people who are homeless.
To assess the risk to social landlord services we have reviewed and compared the 2021/22 service quality performance of all social landlords to identify the weakest performing landlords. We will therefore engage with Orkney about tenant satisfaction, complaints handling, emergency repairs and rent arrears.
In January 2023 Orkney told us that it had identified weaknesses in the quality of the evidence underpinning the data used to report on Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) compliance. It also told us it could not confirm Orkney’s compliance with the inspections required to provide Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) in all of its tenants’ homes. Orkney is developing an improvement plan to address the weaknesses and verify the data.
What Orkney 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;
- provide us with information about the actions it is taking to improve its performance on tenant satisfaction, complaints handling, emergency repairs and rent arrears;
- comply with electrical safety requirements as soon as possible; and
- send us monthly reports on the progress with data verification and on achieving compliance with electrical safety requirements.
What we will do
- review the information Orkney provides about its homelessness service;
- meet with Orkney to discuss its homelessness service and decide whether we require any additional assurance;
- meet with Orkney to seek assurance if it does not provide temporary accommodation when it should, or if it breaches the Unsuitable Accommodation Order;
- engage with Orkney about the information it provides about its work to improve its service quality performance;
- liaise with Orkney as necessary on its improvement plan and data verification and to monitor progress on achieving compliance with electrical safety requirements; and
- update our published engagement plan in the light of any material change to our planned engagement with Orkney.
Orkney 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.