Scotland Policy Conferences

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email

Housing policy in Scotland - the new regulatory framework, protecting vulnerable groups, and the Government’s long-term strategy

Morning, Thursday, 8th October 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will assess The Scottish Government’s strategy for housing and the new framework for regulation.

It will be an opportunity to discuss Housing to 2040 - the Government’s draft vision and principles for housing communities in Scotland.

We are pleased to include a keynote session with Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, on next steps following a recent consultation on the draft vision.

The Director of Regulation at the Scottish Housing Regulator, Ian Brennan, is also a keynote speaker - and there will be further contributions from Addleshaw Goddard; the Energy Saving Trust; the Federation of Master Builders; Housing Options ScotlandParkhead Housing Association; Rettie & Co; the Scottish Association of Landlords; Shelter Scotland; South Lanarkshire Council; The Housing Finance Corporation and the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE).

The principal overall focus of this conference is the long-term strategy for the future direction of housing policy, with its emphasis on high quality housing and well-designed communities, sustainability, and homes that meet peoples’ needs.

However discussion on the day will also reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the housing sector and those working on it in Scotland - and the role played by the sector in response - as well as:

  • early indications on progress in restarting the housing market
  • supporting the resilience of the housing sector for the future
  • how to serve changing consumer and societal priorities in the wake of the pandemic in the areas such as provision of housing that supports health, the environment and new ways of working

The discussion in detail:

  • Implementation of the regulatory framework for social housing in Scotland, introduced by the Scottish Housing Regulator - with a keynote contribution from Ian Brennan, Director of Regulation, Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Assessing the regulatory framework, and priorities for the private rented sector, including:
    • the framework’s potential effectiveness in encouraging the culture of assurance, openness and transparency outlined as an aim by the Regulator
    • controlling rent in the private sector, with reports that the Regulator will be engaging with registered social landlords on the affordability of rents
  • Short Term lets and the Scottish Government's recent response to its consultation - including the potential to give powers to local authorities to introduce short term let control areas following the passage of the Planning Act
  • Homelessness, child poverty and the requirements of an ageing population - addressing the challenges, with discussion on:
    • implementation of measures outlined in Ending Homelessness Together - including funding for frontline third sector organisations to support them to innovate and transform services
    • meeting the needs of older people, and adaptability of housing for longer independent living - and what this could mean for reducing pressures on the health and social care system
    • increasing housing affordability and lowering house running costs for families with children
  • Balancing the interests of tenants and landlords in both the private rented and social housing sectors
  • Improving existing housing stock and conditions in both sectors, including how to ensure that housing stock run by local authorities and social landlords meets the Scotland housing quality standard
  • Progress made since the introduction of the Private Housing (Tenancies)(Scotland) Act 2016, which introduced:
    • a new open-ended private residential tenancy
    • measures to control excessive rent increases, including allowing local authorities to introduce 'rent pressure zones' where rent rises for existing tenants are restricted
  • The concept of a single standard for all properties across all tenures

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

Building, investment and energy efficiency


Housing and vulnerable individuals

  • The Scottish Government reportedly accepting all recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group report, which included suggestions on upscaling Housing First, learning from good practice during the pandemic, protecting tenants and those with NRPF, adding to the National Performance Framework, and reviewing Ending Homelessness Together
  • The Scottish Government writing to the UK Government to request that No Recourse to Public Funds restrictions be lifted during the crisis and recompense for money spent as a result of restrictions
  • Expansion of Housing First in Scotland to include former rough sleepers, who are currently being housed during the COVID-19 crisis, in the Housing First Pathfinder
  • Concerns around the number of people who may become homeless in the coming months as lockdown eases following the increase in applications for homeless status in Scotland for the second year in a row

The agenda:

  • The Scottish Government’s strategy for housing across Scotland
  • Assessing Housing to 2040 and the route map: accessibility, affordability and energy efficiency
  • Meeting Scotland’s housing needs: homelessness, supporting an ageing population, and tackling poverty
  • Social housing and the private rental sector: balancing the interests of tenants and landlords, improving existing housing stock and controlling rent increases in the private sector
  • The regulatory framework -  implications for tenants and Registered Social Landlords

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from The Scottish Parliament, and officials from The Scottish Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Aileen Campbell MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Keynote Speakers

Aileen Campbell MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Ian Brennan

Director of Regulation, Scottish Housing Regulator


David Stewart MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Eradication of Poverty and Social Inequality

David Linden MP

SNP Spokesperson, Housing, Communities and Local Government


Professor David Clapham

Professor of Housing and Urban Studies, Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow and Co-Investigator, UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE)

Jackie Fernie

Homelessness and Housing Support Manager, South Lanarkshire Council

John Blackwood

Chief Executive, Scottish Association of Landlords

Susan McDonald

Partner, Social Housing, Addleshaw Goddard

Moira Bayne

Chief Executive, Housing Options Scotland

Gordon Macrae

Assistant Director, Communications and Advocacy, Shelter Scotland

Gordon Nelson

Scotland Director, Federation of Master Builders

Jim Strang

Chief Executive, Parkhead Housing Association

Piers Williamson

Chief Executive, The Housing Finance Corporation

Laura McGradie

Head of Advice, Energy Saving Trust

Karen Turner

Director of Lettings, Rettie & Co