1. To tackle the issues found in England’s supported housing, especially those tied to non-commissioned, HB “exempt”, transitional supported housing, the Government has introduced several measures to enhance the quality and effectiveness of this accommodation.

2. These measures are set out below. They have culminated in the changes set out in the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act 2023

National Statement of Expectations

3. The government has published the National Statement of Expectations, which serves as a guideline for assessing and planning to meet the demand for supported housing. This document also defines the standards of excellence for accommodation in the sector, highlighting what “good looks like” (paragraph 1).

Supported Housing Enforcement Pilots

4. To address the issues in supported housing, the government has invested £5.4 million in enforcement pilots in five areas: Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bristol, and Hull. These pilots aim to test various approaches to tackling the challenges faced in the sector (paragraph 2).

Independent Evaluation of Pilots

5. An independent evaluation of the enforcement pilots has been conducted, and the findings indicate an improvement in the quality of support and accommodation provided. Moreover, the pilots have successfully reduced the number of illegitimate or unreasonable Housing Benefit claims, preventing an estimated £6.2 million from being paid in error (paragraph 3).

Good Practice Resource

6. The government has developed a good practice resource to support local authorities in enhancing the quality of supported housing in their respective areas. This resource outlines effective interventions identified by the pilot authorities and provides the reasoning behind their benefits (paragraph 4).

Updated Housing Benefit Guidance

7. In order to provide more support to local authorities in their decision-making processes regarding supported housing claims, the government has updated the Housing Benefit guidance specifically for this purpose (paragraph 5).

Supported Housing Improvement Programme

8. Under the Supported Housing Improvement Programme, the government has allocated £20 million to 26 local authorities between 2022 and 2025. This funding aims to directly target and improve the quality and value for money in supported housing (paragraph 6).

Consideration of a National Body

9. In addition to the measures proposed in the Bill, the government acknowledges the calls for a national body that would ensure consistency and provide expertise to support local areas. The government expresses a willingness to further consider this suggestion and return to the committee with their thoughts (paragraph 14).

Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act 2023

10. Based on the findings of the pilots and the independent evaluation, Bob Blackman MP took forward the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill. This Bill became an Act on 29 June 2023 and addresses many of the issues highlighted in the Select Committee’s report (paragraph 12).

Potential Universal Local Licensing

11. To ensure the effectiveness of the sector, the government is open to deploying measures in the Act that grant the Secretary of State the ability to introduce universal local licensing. This would require all local authorities to establish a licensing scheme, thereby enhancing regulation and oversight (paragraph 13).