Review of Temporary Accommodation Provision: working together to improving the availability of appropriate temporary accommodation across the county (Hertfordshire Property Partnership)

The objective of the project is to investigate the options available to local authorities in Hertfordshire to better meet the needs of families in temporary accommodation.


At a glance

Housing Advisers Programme case study

2020/21 cohort 

What went in
  • Priority area: availability of appropriate temporary accommodation 
  • Budget: Time commitment of internal resources and initial HAP funding of £20k enabled us to procure the services of Campbell Tickell Ltd who have expertise in the area under focus. 
  • Other resource needed: Commitment from all eleven partner organisations in terms of time from key officers; support from additional system partners (NHS / Police), support from external expertise procured through HAP funding 
  • Time taken to achieve outcomes: 14 months to get to Full Business Case and detailed options development stage.
What came out
  • Deliverables: Approval to the Strategic Outline Case, Outline Business Case and approval to move to Full Business Cases and detailed options development 
  • Difference made/ indication of success: Continued commitment of partners to innovate and collaborate on development of solutions that will have a positive impact on accommodation provision / availability for homelessness across Hertfordshire.  A particular focus is on those individuals with the most complex needs, and to address the housing challenges that exist across the county in providing suitable accommodation for those in need. 
  • Learning so far: this has been focused not only on developing a collaborative focus on the critical issue, but in how we manage the complexity of at least eleven decision-making arrangements. The use of the Hertfordshire Growth Board governance arrangements to enable achievement of the approval stages so far has been beneficial.  The next steps in gaining agreement to Full Business cases will, by necessity, be more complex where there are financial and legal implications for partners. 

 

Executive summary

The objective of the project is to investigate the options available to local authorities in Hertfordshire to better meet the needs of families in temporary accommodation.  This will enable delivery of the right type of temporary accommodation across the county, to achieve quality and value for money, responding to the acute shortage in housing supply and meeting identified demand from households who face challenges in accessing social and affordable housing. 

Guiding Vision and key outcomes: 

  • A coordinated county wide framework to improve outcomes and life changes for households who are temporarily homeless  

  • Secure, sustainable long-term improvements in accommodation arrangements that meet the minimum standard as defined in the guidance, reducing the use of Bed & Breakfast, Hotel or similar private sector accommodation. 

  • A consistent approach to temporary accommodation across the county that can respond to local issues.  

  • Build on existing activity to utilise publicly owned land and assets to support delivery of homes.  

  • The opportunity to be an exemplar county in managing use of temporary accommodation, building social and economic benefits for Hertfordshire.  

Challenge and context

The project is critical to ensuring that citizens in urgent housing need are provided with decent and affordable homes.  This is against a backdrop of the Hertfordshire Growth Board’s (HGB) commitment to deliver at least 100,000 homes by 2032.  The scale of the ambition is significant and is rooted in the recognition that the region’s economic growth and sustainability requires new homes.   

The strategic case for this work, approved by the HGB at its meeting of 22nd June 2021, proposed the potential value of adopting a coordinated and innovative response to the supply and management of TA accommodation in Hertfordshire.  

Detailed work with all of Hertfordshire’s local authorities to investigate gaps in accommodation provision and options for joint working identified 11 options having potential to meet the objectives of the work within three blocks of activity:  

  1. Closer working 
  2. Joint Working 
  3. New Builds or Acquisition  

Each block of activity provides the opportunity for different levels of collaboration between authorities depending on local policy and need.  

Following consultation with officers and elected members from all Hertfordshire councils, the options have been refined to 6 areas recommended for more detailed investigation and development into a Full Business Case.  

The Outline Business Case was approved by HGB at its meeting in January 2022, with an additional agreement for a reference group of four leaders to assist in guiding the work.    

What we are doing

The selected areas are outlined in the Strategic Outline Case and have potential achievability and deliverability for each authority in Hertfordshire. Following a workshop with senior stakeholders from partner organisations, six options were identified as having the highest potential to impact on the supply and management of accommodation used for housing homeless households, building on existing policy and practice as appropriate.

Shortlist of options for further development 

Block 

Option 

Block 1 

Development of a Hertfordshire TA Predictive Model to better understand manage future demand 

Block 1 

Development of a Hertfordshire wide procedure for setting maximum rates for private sector TA 

Block 2 

Development of options for the joint procurement and management of Private Rented Sector accommodation to prevent homelessness and for move on from TA 

Block 2 

Development of a multi-district or Hertfordshire wide Housing First service, building on lessons from existing practice 

Block 3 

Collaborative development of new build accommodation to let as PRS, TA or supported housing  

Block 3 

Development or commissioning of Hospital Stepdown accommodation to aid the recovery of patients without accommodation 

 

It is recognised that not all options will be suitable for a pan-Hertfordshire approach and may be more suited to a smaller number of councils to engage in joint working. This will be determined during the development of the Full Business Case(s).   

The difference we made

Success will be measured through the realisation of the identified benefits accrued from a joined-up approach: 

  • Measurable improvements in the life chances for households in temporary accommodation, along with the reduction/ eradication of rough sleeping and those with the most complex needs. 

  • Increased return on financial investment in provision of temporary accommodation.  

  • Increased collaboration and shared learning from experience, by bringing together the required expertise into one co-ordinated programme 

  • Improved awareness and promotion of infrastructure development across the county. 

What’s next?

We are continuing to work on the detailed options to produce full business case for decision making by the appropriate fora as required. 

If successfully implemented, the learnings from developing a collaborative approach to temporary accommodation will be shared with other councils, particularly two-tier local government authorities who may face similar challenges with managing the provision of temporary accommodation. Case studies and evidence of how this approach has been achieved in practice will be developed and shared upon request.

Contact

Roger Barrett 

Programme Lead, Review of Temporary Accommodation Provision, Hertfordshire Growth Board / Hertfordshire Property Partnership 

HertfordshirePropertyPartnership@hertfordshire.gov.uk  

Phone number: 01992 556192