Gypsy/Travellers are a distinct ethnic group in Scottish society, with their own culture, lifestyle, and accommodation needs. As with everyone in Scotland they have a right to expect accommodation that is of a good standard, and meets their requirements. The Government's role is to set a robust framework and to promote good practice, so that the accommodation needs of Gypsy/Travellers are properly assessed, and effectively met, at a local level.
Over the last two years we have undertaken work to build that robust framework. That has included delivering new guidance on local housing strategies and Housing Needs Demand Assessments. These stress the need to properly assess, and take into account, the accommodation needs of Gypsy/Travellers. We have also funded the production of independent guides on Gypsy/Travellers and the planning system, providing impartial information for applicants and decision makers.
This guidance is a further step in building the framework. It details clearly the minimum standards we expect every local authority and Registered Social Landlord Gypsy/Traveller site to meet. The standards address some of the key issues site tenants have raised with us: energy efficiency, safety and security, and maintenance and repairs. It also provides objective indicators so it is clear to everyone whether or not the standards have been met. We will regularly review progress towards implementing this guidance with site tenants, site providers, and other key stakeholders.
Part two of this guidance sets out core rights and responsibilities for site tenants. We want it to be everyone what rights and responsibilities a tenant has. These core rights and responsibilities reflect the minimum standards, and the duties site providers have to treat site tenants fairly and transparently.
This guidance has benefitted from the views and input of key stakeholders with links to the Gypsy/Traveller community, and those with expertise in housing and accommodation. Most important has been the views of site tenants. I thank all of them for playing their part in the process. I believe this guidance will provide a clear benchmark for all sites to meet and contribute to improving the living conditions, and therefore the lives, of site tenants.
Minister for Housing and Welfare