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Minutes 28th April 2003

Minutes of the Meeting: Monday 28 April, 11:00-15:00

Conference Rooms 7&8, Victoria Quay , Edinburgh

Present:

  • Duncan Gray (Chair) - Senior Statistician, Scottish Executive Development Department, Analytical Services Division
  • Alan Campbell - Information and Research Manager, Aberdeenshire Council
  • Norma Robson - Research Manager, Perth & Kinross Council
  • Bruce Oelman - Chief Statistician, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Housing Data and Statistics
  • Elizabeth Fraser - Scottish Executive Development Department, Housing Statistics Branch
  • Liam Hill - Executive Development Department, Housing Statistics Branch
  • Roger Kelly - Scottish Executive Development Department, Planning Services
  • John Landrock - Scottish Executive Development Department, Environment and Planning Statistics Branch
  • Mary MacDonald - Scottish Executive Development Department, Housing Division 1
  • Linda McFarlane - Scottish Executive Development Department, Housing Research
  • Cecilia Macintyre - Scottish Executive Development Department, Housing Related Neighbourhood Statistics
  • Katie Walker - Scottish Executive Development Department, Housing Statistics Branch
  • Hal Pawson - Heriot Watt University, School of Planning and Housing
  • Jude Payne - Scottish Parliament Information Centre
  • Nuala Toman - Shelter Scotland
  • Mike Traynor - Registers of Scotland

Apologies:

  • Bruce Black - Manager, Homes for Scotland
  • Ade Kearns - Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow
  • Lindsay Manson - Scottish Executive Development Department, Homelessness

Agenda Item 1 - Introduction

Duncan Gray welcomed members of the group. After introductions the minutes from the last meeting were agreed.

There was a discussion on representation from Communities Scotland. The Executive had tried to get representation for the meeting, the papers had been copied to Murdo Macpherson but he could not make the meeting. Christine Dugan was suggested to represent the Regulation and Inspection functions.

Agenda Item 2 - Policy Drivers

(a) Implications of local housing strategies

Duncan Gray introduced two tables showing the types of information and the possible sources which councils will use in drawing up Local Housing Strategies (LHS) (BESAC(03)1). Seven councils are producing their LHSs by the end of September 2003 while the rest are producing it by April 2004. There will be an update to these strategies in 2005 to take account of the Scottish House Condition Survey and new Scottish Executive data.

The 2002 based household projections would be produced too late for the strategies but the Executive would be able to give early data to local authorities such as headship rates before the household projections are calculated. The Executive want to move the household projections publication closer to the population projection publication as a result of this the 2002 based household projections should be published early 2004. The Executive is also planning to review its methodology for the 2004 based and would then revise previous.

The group then discussed the data available on dwelling trends. The Executive's estimates give the count of dwellings and households each year but do not give detail on type or size. Data sources that could give this detail were the Census, Council tax valuation lists and the Definitive National Address (DNA) project. Bruce Oelman explained that because of tax revaluation there was a great need in England and Wales to have information on each dwelling and this was being met by the introduction of a National Property database for social housing. Cecilia Macintyre suggested inviting someone from the Modernising Government Initiative involved in the DNA project to the next meeting [ACTION: Scottish Executive].

Mike Traynor mentioned a group on planning in Registers of Scotland. He would circulate a summary of their remit [ACTION: Mike Traynor].

The discussion then moved to housing standards. Following the agreed housing standards (Below Tolerable Standard and social standard) the Executive would have to review the information it collects on improvements. Mike Traynor mentioned that Registers of Scotland have data on all improvement grants given. The review could be through a short lived group to look at collecting data on all tenures. The short lived group would have representation from those collecting data locally for Local Housing Strategies so that it could take advantage of local information gathering for the national figures. [ACTION: Scottish Executive]

Affordability was an issue raised in discussion. House prices were seen as being more important than rents but the data for this needed to be investigated. The data from Registers of Scotland could be looked at in more detail to find out who was moving where. Another source of data was the Council of Mortgage Lenders survey which had moved to 100% coverage of those lenders in the Council. However, while the survey provides mix adjusted prices it excludes some lenders in Scotland and all sales for which there is no mortgage/ loan secured on the property. It was decided that it would be more useful to show the lower quartile of prices by house type in each Local Authority instead of the average house price. Sources for sub Local Authority areas needed to be explored. Registers of Scotland could be looked at in more detail to find out who was moving where.

The Scottish Executive planning department publishes statements of policy on planning matters called SPPs. The one that relates to Housing is SPP3 ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/planning/spp3-00.asp). This mentions the need for affordable housing and how planners can work with the Local Housing Strategies to provide this. Therefore there is a need for a central source of information on affordability. After these discussions it was decided to move affordability up the priority list.

Following the stock transfers Duncan Gray had written to the councils and Housing Associations involved to ensure that the data needed for Right to Buy Sales were still collected. The Right to Buy Working Group were involved in this process. There was also the need to include partial transfers in this process. There is also the need for discussions between Communities Scotland and the Executive about a wider range of information collected from Local Authorities and Housing Associations to avoid duplication and missing data.

Duncan would welcome any comments about issues or gaps in the data mentioned. Members agreed to send comments on the paper and tables [ACTION: all members].

(b) Indicators and key statistics

Duncan Gray presented a list of key statistics in the format suggested by the Scotstat board (BESAC(03)2). He had not included vital statistics such as estimates and projections which were not involved in targets. Members agreed to send comments on the list and any other statistics which were not mentioned [ACTION: all members]. The list was mainly for housing statistics and needed a section on planning statistics [ACTION: Duncan Gray and Roger Kelly].

(c) Monitoring the impact of the Housing Act

A paper on this would be sent out after the meeting [ACTION: Duncan Gray].

Agenda Item 3 - Reviewing Progress

(a) Scottish Executive draft Statistics Plan

Elizabeth Fraser presented the sections on housing and planning from the Scottish Executive draft statistics plan (BESAC(03)3). This year the plan was more strategic. With the stock transfers there was a need for a discussion on data collection between the Executive, Audit Scotland and Communities Scotland. The Forms Review Group had discussed this at their first meeting.

The Statistics plan is for consultation at present and is available on the website. Any comments would be welcomed. It was suggested that after the earlier discussion affordability issues should be included. The Planning sections did not mention the GIS strategy being developed by Alan Fraser's unit [ACTION: Duncan Gray and John Landrock]. The Supporting People Initative should be included in the forward agenda for BESAC [ACTION: Scottish Executive]

(b) Role and Reporting by subgroups

Duncan Gray presented a paper on the role of the BESAC subgroups (BESAC(03)4). The key points were in paragraph 7. These were that the subgroups would have a summary and timetable of key deliverables for the next few years and that the progress reports to BESAC would focus on these. It was suggested that each subgroup could produce a half page summary of progress for BESAC. It was also suggested that each BESAC meeting could focus on a different subgroup. The subgroups would produce a half page summary which will go on the website

[ACTION: Subgroup Chairs].

(c) Use of Census: contribution to ONS multi source topic report

Katie Walker presented a short paper on the Scottish Executive's contribution to the ONS multi source topic report on Housing and Households (BESAC(03)5). This is a report bringing together census data on housing and households with data from a number of survey and administrative sources. It was due to be published on the 13th May. The minutes would provide the website link [ACTION: Katie Walker].

http://www.housing.odpm.gov.uk/statistics/publicat/summaries/016/index.htm

There would be other Multi source topic reports available on the ONS website ( http://www.statistics.gov.uk)

Cecilia Macintyre mentioned that there was an issue with the tenure data from the Census. There was a significant number of those who had ticked the living rent free option but who in the next question had put the Council or Housing Association as their landlord. The living rent free households were usually included in the private renting sector. Jenny Boag from Falkirk Council had produced a paper on this subject. The paper would be circulated to members and available on the website

[ACTION: Katie Walker].

(d) Outline Forward Agenda

Duncan Gray presented a paper on a forward agenda for BESAC. He would welcome any comments in writing. It was suggested that after earlier discussions affordability should be included in the Winter 2003 plans. There was a suggestion that BESAC could organise seminars on certain topics such as stock, with the possibility of having the seminar in the morning and the BESAC meeting in the afternoon. Members agreed to send any comments on the agenda [ACTION: all members].

Agenda Item 4 - Developments at UK level

Bruce Oelman summarised recent developments at UK level. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister had recently been working on sustainable communities plans and the census data for their Multi Source Topic Report. Bruce suggested working together to look at the sharing algorithms from the census data as they seemed to be lower than expected. They were also working on their 2002 based projections which would be published in early 2005 after they had received the sub England population projections and marital status. They hoped to work closely with the Executive in our projections and estimates methodology review [ACTION: Scottish Executive and ODPM].

The next meeting of their Housing Statistics User Group would be about the census data and would take place in June. Information about this group was available on their website ( http://www.housing.odpm.gov.uk/statistics/hsug/index.htm).

Bruce also mentioned that ODPM had been constructing a new monthly house price index which will be launched in September.

[Secretary's note: details of the equivalent committee dealing with planning can be found at: http://www.clip.gov.uk/groups/planning/sub_planning.htm]

Agenda Item 5 - Committee and network updates

Cecilia Macintyre gave a brief update on the progress of the Neighbourhood statistics project. The first year had been mainly about priority setting and investigating where it was possible to get data at low geographical levels. The actual outcomes have been

  • dwelling estimates at ward level from the assessors data available on the neighbourhood statistics website
  • CDs with the individual right to buy sales data were sent to Local Authorities to assist in the Local Housing Strategies
  • a Social Landlord Database was piloted for a few areas. A report and presentation will be made to the steering group in July. BESAC should make the decision on whether it is continued and expanded.

Future developments will include the expansion of the SCORE system to Local Authorities, updating the assessors data estimates and passing legislation to allow summarised information on occupied dwellings from the Council Tax. The website will have a note of key developments.

The other subgroups and committees would provide a half page summary of progress which would be circulated and available on the website [ACTION: Subgroup Chairs].

Agenda Item 6 - Any Other Business

The next meeting would be in November. A pre agenda meeting would take place in October. New members to the pre agenda meeting would be welcome.

Scottish Executive