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Meeting Quality Standards in Supported Housing: Guidance for Landlords

8th November 2023

Supported housing plays a vital role in providing accommodation and support for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

As a care provider delivering support services in supported housing settings, you play a vital role in ensuring residents receive high-quality care tailored to their needs.

Recent government guidance and parliamentary inquiries highlight the importance of collaboration between housing providers, local authorities, and support providers to meet standards. This includes conducting thorough needs assessments during referrals, sharing key information to ensure housing suitability, and providing training for support staff.

The introduction of national mandatory support standards also underlines the need for qualified, expert staff able to deliver person-centred, outcomes-focused support enabling independent living. As a care provider, you share responsibility for providing safe, appropriate supported housing where vulnerabilities are not exploited. By working closely with landlords and councils, and investing in your workforce's skills, you can help ensure the sector provides both quality accommodation and quality care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

As a landlord in this sector, you have an important responsibility to provide safe, high-quality housing that meets residents' needs.

Recent government guidance and parliamentary inquiries have shone a spotlight on standards and issues in supported housing:

The National Statement of Expectations

This guidance is primarily aimed at Registered Providers of Housing and Housing associations, but as landlords involved in the sector, it’s important that we all understand the expectations. While not statutory, this government guidance sets out best practice recommendations across areas including:

  • Assessing housing suitability, location, appropriateness for residents. Staff should receive PPE training and follow PHE guidance.
  • Meeting building regulations and standards such as the Decent Homes Standard. Have policies to address fire, asbestos, Legionella, and other safety risks.
  • Providing secure tenancies compatible with resident needs and circumstances. Have fair complaints procedures and consult/engage with residents.
  • Making referrals a two-way process verifying individual support needs and sharing key information with support providers.
  • Being transparent about rent and service charges. Consider accreditation schemes that demonstrate compliance.

Parliamentary Inquiry on Exempt Accommodation

This wide-ranging inquiry uncovered issues in parts of the supported housing sector including:

  • Exploitation of the system by some providers prioritising profits over meeting needs.
  • Concerns over poor quality accommodation and support standards. Lack of training and expertise among providers.
  • Need for oversight and enforcement. Calls for national standards, stronger council powers, licensing for all providers.
  • Review of housing benefit funding, with exemption rents capped and separate funding stream for support services.

The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act 2023

This legislation establishes:

  • A panel to advise on regulation and oversight of the supported housing sector.
  • A requirement for councils to develop local supported housing strategies.
  • Introduction of national mandatory support standards. 
  • New licensing schemes allowing councils to tackle poor quality providers. 

Meeting Higher Standards

As a landlord or care provider in supported housing, you share responsibility for meeting the higher expectations now set for the sector.

By providing truly collaborative supported housing, you can positively impact the lives of vulnerable people relying on this provision.

You can find links to the documents referred to in this article here:

Supported Housing National Statement of Expectations 

Research Briefing: Supported exempt accommodation (England)

Research Briefing: The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act 2023: debate in parliament

 

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