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Joint Review of Temporary Accommodation Provision: how can we improve the availability of appropriate temporary accommodation across the county

The Hertfordshire Growth Board is sponsoring a Joint Review of Temporary Accommodation Provision to investigate the options available to local authorities in Hertfordshire.

At a glance

Housing Advisers Programme case study

2022/23 cohort 

Executive summary

The Hertfordshire Growth Board is sponsoring a Joint Review of Temporary Accommodation Provision to investigate the options available to local authorities in Hertfordshire to better meet the housing needs for people living in temporary accommodation, whilst achieving quality and value for money. This will assist in responding to the acute shortage in housing supply and meeting identified demand from individuals and households who face challenges in accessing social and affordable housing. 

In developing this future vision, the below strategic objectives are the basis of the programme outcomes guiding this work: 

  • Develop a coordinated county wide framework for provision to improve outcomes and life chances for households who are temporarily homeless. Scoping of Housing Related Support needs will also align.
  • Secure, sustainable long-term improvements in accommodation arrangements that meets minimum standards.
  • Developing an approach to temporary accommodation across the county that can respond to local issues.
  • Build on existing activity to utilise publicly owned land and assets to support delivery of homes.
  • To be an exemplar county in managing use of temporary accommodation, building social and economic benefits for Hertfordshire.

Challenge and context

The project is critical to ensuring that citizens in urgent housing need are provided with decent and affordable homes. This project set against a backdrop of the county’s need to deliver 100,000 homes by 2032, the scale which is significant and is rooted in the need to provide homes to support sustainable economic growth. 

The emerging risk, through increased cost of living and strategic migration, is that the financial costs of delivering homelessness services for significantly more households will increase the cost of temporary accommodation provision. There are also often significant support needs for those coming through accommodation pathways that are commissioned, ensuring that the wider needs of an individual are met. 

In several of the targeted areas accommodation provision may be better achieved by local authorities and partners working together to co-ordinate their efforts, both to increase the supply of suitable accommodation to meet the different needs of homeless households with varying characteristics, and to manage existing accommodation more efficiently and effectively. 

The previous case study (June 2022) set out the approvals processes worked through to gain county wide support for this strategic initiative that has the potential to deliver value through adopting a coordinated and innovative response to the supply and management of TA accommodation in Hertfordshire. 

It is recognised that this does not mean a 'one size fits all' approach or that accommodation can be pooled across the whole county, bearing in mind the need for households to remain close to their support networks and the legal requirements within the homelessness legislation to make local placements wherever possible.

What we did

Following consultation with officers and elected members from all Hertfordshire councils, the options to be taken forward to Full Business case have centred on the following three proposals identified as having the highest potential to impact on the supply and management of accommodation used for housing homeless households, building on existing policy and practice as appropriate:

  • Development of a Hertfordshire Temporary Accommodation Predictive Model to better understand and manage future demand.
  • Development of a multi-district or Hertfordshire wide accommodation pathway for homeless people with Complex needs (originally a Housing First service), building on lessons from existing practice.
  • Development or commissioning of Hospital Stepdown accommodation to aid the recovery of patients without accommodation.

The difference we made

Success will be measured through the realisation of the identified benefits accrued from a joined-up approach:

  • Measurable improvements in the life chances for households in temporary accommodation, along with the reduction/ eradication of rough sleeping and those with the most complex needs.
  • Increased return on financial investment in provision of temporary accommodation.
  • Increased collaboration and shared learning from experience, by bringing together the required expertise into one co-ordinated programme - Improved awareness and promotion of infrastructure development across the county.

What's next

Continued work on the detailed Full Business cases for the two options currently in action, working toward approval to implement the solutions that will meet the needs of homeless people in Hertfordshire.

Lessons learned

Learning so far:

  • In how to develop and deliver a system wide review involving eleven local authorities and other partner organisations, including the complexity of stakeholder management, joint problem solving and innovation, and decision making.
  • How to understand and utilise the ‘ecosystem’ of local authority structures and governance arrangements to best effect to gain relevant approvals.
  • Implementing a new product across eleven local authorities and evaluating progress to full adoption, then evaluating wider impact on efficiency and effectiveness.

If successfully implemented, the learnings from developing a collaborative approach to resolving temporary accommodation challenges will be shared with other councils, particularly two-tier local government authorities who may face similar challenges with managing the provision of temporary accommodation. Case studies and evidence of how this approach has been achieved would also be developed and shared upon request.


Roger Barrett 

Programme Lead, Review of Temporary Accommodation Provision, Hertfordshire Growth Board/Hertfordshire Property Partnership

[email protected]