National Statement of Expectations (England) [NSE]

Publication

1. The Government published its Supported Housing National Statement of Expectations (NSE) (England) in October 2020.1Government’s National Statement of Expectations for Supported Housing (October 2020)

Elements of vision

2. It sets out the Government’s vision for supported housing in England in terms of:

  1. planning;
  2. commissioning; and
  3. delivery.

Target audience

3. The guidance says it is aimed at:

  1. local authorities;
  2. providers; and
  3. other local partners.

Non-statutory guidance

4. The guidance is non-statutory. 

“Adhering to the NSE is not a statutory requirement. However, we hope that the wide range of organisations involved in the provision of supported housing will use, adopt and find these principles and examples of best practice helpful.”2Supported Housing: National Statement of Expectations’ (GOV.UK) ,   accessed 30 August 2023

What good looks like and case studies

5. The Government’s intention is that the NSE:

  1. consolidates ‘what good looks like’ and
  2. empower local authorities to ensure provision is good quality and value for money.

6. It also includes case studies highlighting best practice by providers and local authorities.

Map of the National Statement of Expectations

7. The following provides a “map” of the NSE in the form of a table of contents with direct links to the relevant sections. 

  1.     Foreword
  2.     Introduction
    1. What is this guidance and who is it for?
    2. What is supported housing?
    3. How does the NSE fit with other guidance?
    4. What good looks like
    5. Guidance and best practice: summary
      1. Assessing local need and planning effectively
      2. Ensuring safe and good quality supported housing
      3. Ensuring supported housing provides value for money
  3. Part 1: Assessing local need and planning effectively to meet demand
    1. Working collaboratively to plan supply
      1. Case study: Bristol’s Housing Related Support Strategy
      2. Case study: Developing a community-led approach to age friendly housing in central Bedfordshire
      3. Case study: Devon Transforming Care Partnership
      4. Case study: Lewisham Council
    2. Identifying people’s current and future needs
      1. Case study: Haringey Council’s review of supported housing
    3. Planning for supported housing
      1. What funding is available to support supply?
    4. Managing local need
      1. Case study: Sunderland City Council’s record of supported housing providers
    5. Good practice in commissioning
      1. Case study: Joint commissioning through the Integrated Personal Support Alliance
  4. Part 2: Delivering accommodation which is safe, good quality and value for money
    1. Safety and quality in supported housing
      1. Case study: A Psychologically Informed Approach at Hope Gardens
      2. General expectations for housing
      3. Case study: Delivering Extra Care in a COVID-safe environment at Mosscare St Vincent’s Housing Group
      4. Case study: Staff training by supported housing providers
      5. Case study: Adapting to service delivery for COVID-19 at Evolve Housing
      6. Accommodation
      7. Legislation: quick guide
      8. Communication
      9. Security of tenure
      10. Repairs
      11. Referrals
      12. Case study: Anchor Hanover’s tenancy suitability assessment
      13. Case study: Telford and Wrekin Council’s providers’ forum
    2. Value for money in supported housing
      1. Case study: Aviary House reducing pressure on mental health services
      2. Engaging with providers
      3. Case study: Sunderland Council
      4. Case study: Supported Housing Sector Scorecard
      5. Case study: Hull City Council’s Supported Accommodation Review Team
      6. Case study: Enforcement in Birmingham
      7. Legislation: quick guide
      8. Case study: Nottingham City Council’s Good Practice Guide: ‘The Nottingham Way’
  5. Annex A: Checklist of accommodation standards and tenancy-related housing services in supported housing
    1. Supported accommodation – general expectations and suitability
      1. Minimum legal requirements
      2. Suggested minimum standards
      3. Going further – suggested best practice
    2. Accommodation regulations and standards
      1. Minimum legal requirements
      2. Suggested minimum standards
      3. Going further – suggested best practice
    3. Housing facilities
      1. Minimum legal requirements
      2. Suggested minimum standards
      3. Going further – suggested best practice
    4. Housing safety and building condition
      1. Minimum legal requirements
      2. Suggested minimum standards
      3. Going further – suggested best practice
    5. Tenancy and licence agreements
      1. Minimum legal requirements
      2. Suggested minimum standards
      3. Going further – suggested best practice
    6. Resident communication and engagement
      1. Minimum legal requirements
      2. Suggested minimum standards
      3. Going further – suggested best practice
  6. Annex B: Related strategies, guidance and useful links
    1. Useful guidance
    2. Planning supported housing
    3. Existing local authority needs assessments and housing strategies
    4. Standards in supported housing
    5. COVID-19 guidance for providers of supported housing

Checklist for accommodation providers

8. The NSE provides a checklist for accommodation providers subdivided into these six categories: 

  1. Category 1: General Expectations and Suitability
  2. Category 2: Accommodation Regulations and Standards
  3. Category 3: Housing Facilities
  4. Category 4: Housing Safety and Building Condition
  5. Category 5: Tenancy and Licence Agreements
  6. Category 6: Resident Communication and Engagement

9. Under each category, the checklist identifies:

  1. Minimum Legal Requirements,
  2. Suggested Minimum Standards, and
  3. Going Further – Suggested Best Practice.

Exceptions from the Checklist

10. The Government have made it clear that the specific guidelines in the Checklist found in Appendix A of the NSE (and consequently all checklists produced by councils based on it) do not apply to certain types of supported housing scheme. This will be most obviously true of non-commissioned, short-term supported housing, often on a licence:3‘Supported Housing: National Statement of Expectations’ (GOV.UK) accessed 30 August 2023

“We recognise that the supported housing sector is extremely diverse and serves a wide range of client groups with a variety of needs and requirements. This checklist can be considered with this in mind – discretion and common sense may be exercised where a guideline should not apply for a certain group or type of supported housing scheme.”

11. For example, where there is a specific reference to a tenancy or landlord-tenant law, the stated proposition does not apply to a licence. Also, guidelines for medium and long term permanent supported accommodation may not be appropriate for short-term accommodation.

12. “Common sense” needs to prevail. In some cases the essence of the non-applicable guidelines may nevertheless be translatable into equivalent or similar practices for other types of accommodation. 

13. As regards the repeated expression “minimum legal requirements” in the Checklist, it will only apply to groups or types of supported housing that are covered by the legislation that is being cited. Hence for certain groups, types or schemes, the identified “minimum legal requirements” are not applicable. A misunderstanding here can give rise to false liabilities at worst and the creation of aspirational targets at best.

Category 1: General Expectations and Suitability

1.1 Minimum Legal Requirements

  1. Ensure accommodation is safe and well maintained, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, s 9A – 11
  2. Ensure accommodation is fit for human habitation,
  3. Ensure accommodation is free of hazards that poses a risk of harm to the health or safety of the occupiers.
  4. Ensure the structure and exterior of the property is kept in repair.
  5. Ensure the installations which provide water, gas, electricity, sanitation, heating and hot water, in proper working order.
  6. Adhere to standards set by support commissioners for commissioned support.

1.2 Suggested Minimum Standards

  1. Housing is accessible, suitably located and meets the needs of residents including health, care and support needs..
  2. Accommodation is assessed for suitability in meeting the needs of the specific vulnerable residents being accommodated.
  3. The individual’s views and aspirations are sought and considered in the assessment.
  4. Staff demonstrate an understanding of supported housing services
  5. Staff are provided with comprehensive training, with regular refreshers on key issues.
  6. Staff are provided with appropriate learning and development opportunities for their role.
  7. Staff develop competencies relating to safeguarding, equalities and building safety.
  8. Staff are supported to acquire appropriate qualifications, where relevant.
  9. All staff are suitably qualified or trained.
  10. Staff and residents are considerate of neighbours –
  11. External areas are kept clean and safe.
  12. Measures are in place to prevent and manage any anti-social behaviour

1.3 Going Further – Suggested Best Practice

  1. Accommodation is near amenities and transport.
  2. There are efforts to engage the local community.
  3. Empower residents to engage with neighbours and the local community.

Category 2: Accommodation Regulations and Standards

2.1 Minimum Legal Requirements

  1. The buildings comply with local council standards, fire safety regulations, and wider applicable housing legislation.
  2. Check and maintain gas safety (Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998).
  3. Ensure that furniture and furnishings are fire-safe (Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988).
  4. Fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms  (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 No 1693).
  5. Provide an Energy Performance Certificate  (Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 No 3118).
  6. Provide a copy of the “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” guide.
  7. Buildings comply with relevant accessibility regulations, including on accessible and adaptable dwellings (Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M, vol. 1 and 2).
  8. Accommodation is free from serious hazards as assessed by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
  9. Comply with House in Multiple Occupation management duties and licenses property if necessary.
  10. Meet the standards in the ‘Decent Homes Standard’ if registered with the Regulator for Social Housing.

2.2 Suggested Minimum Standards

  1. Meet the standards in the ‘Decent Homes Standard’, even if not registered with the Regulator of Social Housing.
  2. Buildings are energy efficient – work towards a minimum target of Band C of the Energy Performance Certificate.
  3. Provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) ensuring remedial works or further investigative works are carried out to remedy any ‘C1’, ‘C2’ or ‘FI’ classifications.

2.3 Going Further – Suggested Best Practice

  1. Comply with House in Multiple Occupation management duties and licensing standards even where exempt from licensing.
  2. Comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes and Secured by Design.
  3. Comply with Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) design principles and
  4. Where appropriate for the client group, the scheme is designed and developed in line with Psychologically Informed Environment principles.

Category 3: Housing Facilities

3.1 Minimum Legal Requirements

  1. Properties are the appropriate size for the number of occupiers (Housing Act 1985, Part X; Housing Act 2004, Part 1 and 2).
  2. Make reasonable adjustments to meet residents’ needs.

3.2 Suggested Minimum Standards

  1. There are an adequate number of bedrooms.
  2. Except in emergency or short-term accommodation, unrelated adults are not expected to share bedrooms.
  3. Living space for daily activities is appropriate for the size of the household.
  4. There is common space such as community rooms.
  5. The accommodation provides residents with privacy and dignity.
  6. Storage is provided to keep residents’ personal belongings safe.

3.3 Going Further – Suggested Best Practice

  1. Accommodation is welcoming and feels like a home.
  2. Residents are consulted on changes to their spaces such as redecoration or use of communal areas.
  3. Care is taken to consider additional facilities or spaces which can improve outcomes (e.g. communal areas or private spaces for meetings with support workers).
  4. Clear signage where needed.

Category 4: Housing Safety and Building Condition

4.1 Minimum Legal Requirements

  1. Buildings are fit for human habitation (Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018) with no hazards.
  2. Comply with relevant legislation on building maintenance and condition.
  3. Policies and procedures in place for risks related to fire, asbestos and Legionella.

4.2 Suggested Minimum Standards

  1. Buildings are well maintained with all amenities in good working order.
  2. Room temperatures are adjustable.
  3. There are clear procedures for residents to report issues.
  4. Maintenance problems are addressed and fixed in a timely and responsive manner.
  5. All repairs are followed up.
  6. There are clear procedures and processes to address non-routine or emergency repairs.
  7. Grounds are maintained in all seasons, with the timely removal of ice and snow.
  8. Policies and procedures in place for risks including electrical safety and emergency planning.
  9. Follow Public Health England guidance for supported living settings.
  10. Accommodation is built to high accessibility standards so appropriate additional adaptations are easy and affordable to install. This can include, as needed,
    1. functioning alarm points, e.g. call bells, which are tested and maintained regularly;
    2. grab rails in bathrooms, showers and toilets and anti-scalding controls, for example in accommodation for older people or people with learning difficulties.
  11. There are closed containers for the disposal of sharp objects.
  12. Trip hazards are managed – all stairways and halls are lit adequately, with handrails and non-slip rugs where needed.
  13. Windows are fitted with plastic or safety glass (even where not required by building codes).

4.3 Going Further – Suggested Best Practice

  1. A planned programme is in place to minimise preventable deterioration.
  2. There is a preventative maintenance and repair programme and schedule with regular inspections to check building and equipment conditions and to ensure repairs and servicing takes place.
  3. Timescales for non-emergency repairs may be agreed upon with residents.
  4. Regular inspections of property units to identify problem areas in safety and security.
  5. Housing staff inspect property units whenever a new resident moves in, and at least annually
  6. Each property has a safety plan.
  7. Residents are engaged on issues related to safety through existing or dedicated committees including residents, housing and support staff.

Category 5: Tenancy and Licence Agreements

5.1 Minimum Legal Requirements

  1. All housing-related fees are listed including tenancy fees, deposits, management fees and service charges (Landlord and Tenant Act 1985).
  2. Tenants are not evicted without proper procedure or legal proceedings.
  3. Residents are never to be charged for normal wear and tear.
  4. Residents may be charged where the tenant has caused extensive damage to a unit.
  5. Costs for rent and eligible services charges are transparent and reasonable.

5.2 Suggested Minimum Standards

  1. Residents have the most secure form of tenancy compatible with the purpose of the housing and the client’s needs and circumstances.
  2. Terms of tenancies and licences are fair and transparent and take into account the housing needs and aspirations of residents.
  3. Residents’ rights, choices and control over their homes are respected while taking into account the needs of other residents and any access rights which may be required.
  4. Records are kept for each resident relating to housing fees, their deposit, rent arrears, any accommodation issues, and notes on any proposed eviction or transfer.
  5. There are clear procedures which set out the circumstances when the person can be moved on, e.g. if their care needs change
  6. There are clear procedures for eviction, with a focus on working with the individual to avoid or prevent eviction where possible. Providers work to find solutions to sustain accommodation.

5.3 Going Further – Suggested Best Practice

  1. All residents are helped by housing staff to understand their rights and responsibilities.
  2. Housing staff assist residents with managing rental payments and rent arrears.
  3. Procedures are in place to prevent the need for eviction.

Category 6: Resident Communication and Engagement

6.1 Minimum Legal Requirements

  1. In HMOs, name and contact details of the landlord must be made available to residents and clearly displayed  (The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006).

6.2 Suggested Minimum Standards

  1. Communication is clear and appropriate.
  2. Name and contact details of the landlord are made available to residents and clearly displayed.
  3. Clear information is provided on how rent and service charges are set.
  4. House rules are in place which respect residents’ rights and independence.
  5. The rules are developed with input from residents where possible.
  6. Protections are in place to protect residents from anti-social behaviour from other residents, as well as from abuse by staff or visitors.
  7. Clear complaints and redress procedures are in place.

6.3 Going Further – Suggested Best Practice

    1. Staff actively seek resident feedback on the housing and housing services, ideally through a range of methods such as informal chats, meetings, surveys and suggestion boxes.
    2. Prospective residents are provided with an information pack including
      1. information on all rents and service charges, including notice periods for increases, and
      2. procedures for complaints and redress and dispute resolution.
      3. The pack could also list all routines and house rules.
    3. All written material for residents is in plain English and staff are able to help explain if needed.
    4. Assistance for residents whose first language is not English or who have limited understanding.
    5. Prospective and new residents are shown around and orientated on their first arrival.
    6. A nominated person  (e.g. family member) is able to be appointed to assist with all accommodation issues.
Tags: England
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