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Annual Impact Report 2023

Uploaded 15/06/23

Annual Impact Report 2022 - 2023

Meeting our strategic objectives 4 – Supporting the Network of Empty Homes Officers

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership acts to support and maintain a network of EHOs throughout Local Authorities across Scotland. By facilitating best practice groups, resources and training we enable peer support and networking. Training sessions were undertaken with 19 empty homes practitioners, from 9 local authorities, in the last financial year. This helped the new officers to network with more experienced EHOs and covered such topics as case management, council tax, and enforcement. Feedback from an officer that advised they successfully gained access to council information needed for their job by quoting our training.

We work to mainstream empty homes work and to make connections with other stakeholders such as national government, or other professional and community groups, looking to share opportunities or remove barriers to bringing homes back into use. We take care to tailor our events to meet the needs of the empty homes officers and seek their feedback, for example, through pulse surveys to event attendees and via our annual survey sent to empty homes officers.

Annual survey

We facilitate Best Practice meetings to create a forum for empty homes officers to discuss current issues in the sector and to share practices and issues with their peers. A benefit of these meetings is that they appeal to both the new and more experienced officers. Going forward, acting on feedback from officers, there will be an increased number of best practice meetings with greater engagement with more experienced officers through a rural forum and increased visits with the officers.

Acting upon feedback from Best Practice meetings we sought to provide the officers with further resources to aid their work. To this end we are funding a partnership with Brodies Solicitors who have been providing ongoing legal advice to officers. The officers can complete a referral form with anonymised case details to receive advice.

Transparency of ownership can be a challenge in Scotland, where over 30% of land and property ownership is locked in the historic 400 year old Sasine Register. We have entered into a partnership with Millar & Bryce, a property title and land register provider to support local authorities to identify the ownership of properties that may have been empty for several years or even decades.