Improving London’s Supported Housing? The LAHC’s 19 recommendations


1. The London Assembly Housing Committee initiated an inquiry into exempt accommodation in London last autumn (2022). The investigation aimed to assess the availability and quality of supported housing, and to determine if concerns regarding non-commissioned exempt accommodation found elsewhere in England also apply to London. 

2. Last month the committee released its report entitled “Unsafe and Unregulated: London’s Rogue Supported Housing Providers,” It makes 19 recommendations for the Mayor and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to address the issues surrounding supported exempt accommodation in the city.1The London Assembly Housing Committee, Unsafe and unregulated: London’s rogue supported housing providers March 2023, accessed 20 April 2023

The Recommendations

Quality improvement

3. The GLA should collaborate with boroughs, providers, and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to address quality concerns in exempt accommodation.

4. By understanding the issues, they can work together to improve the living conditions in this accommodation.

Reporting rogue landlords

5. The GLA should expand the use of its ‘report a rogue landlord'2Report a Rogue Landlord or Agent’ (London City Hall, 15 September 2017), accessed 20 April 2023 and ‘rogue landlord checker’ tools to include exempt accommodation landlords.

6. This would increase transparency and empower residents to report any misconduct.

Estimating the number of exempt accommodation units

7. The GLA should cooperate with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), London Councils, and boroughs to estimate the number of exempt accommodations in London, monitoring annual spending on these units to better allocate resources and manage budgets.

Annual reporting

8. The GLA should produce an annual report on exempt accommodations in London, incorporating findings from recommendations 1 to 3.

9. This report will serve as a means to track progress and determine future actions, with the potential for more frequent reporting in the future.

Discussion on impact of SH Regulatory Oversight Bill

10. The GLA should arrange a meeting between the sponsor of the proposed legislation, Bob Blackman MP, and other London stakeholders to discuss the impact of new regulations on London. This discussion should inform the Mayor’s lobbying efforts around the Supported Housing Regulatory Oversight Bill.

Funding request connected to prospective regulation

11. The Mayor should contact the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to emphasise the importance of sufficient funding accompanying prospective regulation to avoid overburdening London boroughs.

Licensing consistent across London

12. If licensing legislation is enacted, the GLA should collaborate with London boroughs to ensure consistent application across the capital, reducing bureaucracy. The GLA should also consult with boroughs to determine if pan-London licensing would be beneficial.

Implementation of oversight pilot measures

13. The GLA should review measures used in supported housing oversight pilots, outlining plans to implement any of these interventions in London. The GLA should ensure that any implemented measures align with the new regulatory regime expected in 2024-25.

Supported Housing Improvement Programme 

14. The GLA should inquire with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities into the reasons London boroughs have been unsuccessful in obtaining Supported Housing Improvement Programme (SHIP) funding.

15.  The GLA should work with the government to establish additional funding opportunities for London boroughs to address exempt accommodation issues.

Strategic Housing Market Assessment

16. The GLA’s next Strategic Housing Market Assessment should estimate current and future housing needs for all supported accommodations across London. As this assessment will likely take place in the next Mayoral term, the GLA should begin planning this work as part of its Planning for London programme.

London Plan to include supported housing targets

17. The next London Plan should establish targets for all types of supported housing, similar to the approach taken for older people’s supported housing. As this plan will likely be developed in the next Mayoral term, the GLA should start planning this work as part of its Planning for London programme.

Analysis of boroughs’ supported housing needs assessments

18. The GLA should conduct annual analyses of boroughs’ supported housing needs assessments and publish its findings.

19.  This will promote transparency and informed decision-making.

When needs assessment across the capital required

20. The GLA should clarify which groups it refers to in the London Plan when discussing multi-borough or pan-London assessment and provision of housing. The GLA should consult with boroughs to identify demand for pan-London delivery and begin work to establish this where there is demand.

Creating pan-London database

21. The GLA should create a pan-London database of supported housing stock, provision, and need, which can be broken down by client group. This database should inform the GLA’s supported housing delivery by identifying gaps in provision. The Committee recommends visualizing this data in a map to improve accessibility.

Calculating funding required for supported housing

22. The GLA should calculate the funding required to build supported housing that meets the needs of London residents, as it has done with general needs housing.

23. The GLA should use this calculation to optimise its current Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) funding and strengthen its lobbying for more funding for commissioned new-build supported housing where needed.

The role of Group Supported and Specialist Housing Delivery

24. The GLA should commission an independent review of GLA Group Supported and Specialist Housing Delivery as part of its ongoing work to review policy levers, planning guidance, and the creation of its ‘vision document.’

Required additional revenue funding

25. The GLA should calculate and make public the amount of additional revenue funding required to meet its own supported housing delivery targets and the wider needs across London.

26. The GLA should work with the Government to establish funding sources, whether through existing GLA funds, additional government funding, or other means.

Affordable Homes Programmes – sub-targets disclosure

27. The GLA should immediately make public all sub-targets within the 2016-23 and 2021-26 Affordable Homes Programmes.

28. This is to ensure transparency and enable stakeholders to understand the specific goals of the programmes.

Improved reporting

29. The GLA should expedite work to improve reporting of GLA-supported housing delivery.

30. The GLA should publish quarterly updates on all supported housing developed by the GLA, similar to the Affordable Homes Programme. It should also include the corresponding funding programme and client group.

31. This enhanced reporting will allow stakeholders to track progress and make more informed decisions.

Martin Ward and Philip Parnham, April 20 2023

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