1. In part 1 of this series, we considered the reasons why exempt accommodation has come into the limelight over the last few years. In this part, we will consider what the Government has done so far to address the problems that have been identified in this vital area of supported housing.

National Statement of Expectations

  1. Until October 2020, there were no definitive guidelines on the accommodation element of supported housing, leaving the quality of the accommodation open to interpretation by providers, some of whom took advantage of this obvious omission.

  2. In October 2020 the then Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and DWP published a National Statement of Expectations (see statement-of-expectations/supported-housing-national-statement-of- expectations). This provides a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines on ‘what good looks like’ in terms of the accommodation that the Government expects providers to provide. We would recommend that all providers study this Statement and we have also prepared an advice note which may be of assistance (please contact us on should you wish to request a copy).

  3. Whilst this Statement sets an excellent starting point to improve and maintain good quality accommodation in the exempt accommodation system, there is one very clear shortfall - the Statement does not have statutory force. As a result, profit seeking providers can choose to ignore these guidelines and house vulnerable adults in less than suitable accommodation.


  1. Between September 2020 and October 2021, the Government decided to conduct a series of pilots across five councils to test whether the current enforcement measures are working effectively to improve the quality and value for money in supported housing. £5.4 million pounds of funding was allocated to this task and an evaluation report was published in April 2022 (see our blog on this report).

Intention to bring change

  1. Earlier this year, on 17 March 2022, the then Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing announced the Government’s intention to introduce a number of measures to tackle the problems identified in the provision of exempt accommodation. These were:

    (a) To set minimum standards for the support provided to residents;

    (b) To introduce new powers for local authorities in England to assist them in managing their local supported housing market and to prevent rogue landlords from exploiting the system; and

    (c) To change the HB regulations by defining what we mean by care, support and supervision.

  2. Many may consider that each of these goals are long overdue but it is perhaps heartening to see that action is finally being taken. Setting minimum standards for the support that providers must give to their residents is absolutely essential in seeking to eliminate the rogue providers who care little for providing good quality support that benefits their residents and makes a real, positive difference to their lives.

  3. Having a definition of care, support and supervision within the HB regulations will help to reduce the uncertainty that can arise in this whole area. It is hoped that these definitions will provide clarity so that providers can be more certain they are meeting the support threshold for their residents rather than hoping that what they are doing will be enough.

  4. Local authorities will no doubt welcome a better understanding of what needs to be done by providers to meet the support threshold when assessing claims for the enhanced rate of HB for those living in exempt accommodation. One would hope that this in turn will also go some way towards encouraging unity within local authorities to adopt the same approach when assessing the quality of support being provided.

The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill

  1. Further, in their attempts to improve standards in exempt accommodation provision, the Government introduced the Social Housing (Regulations) Bill in June 2022. It is intended that this bill, once passed, will create a new consumer regulatory regime, refine the existing economic regulatory regime, and strengthen the Regulator of Social Housing’s powers to enforce these regimes.


  1. In July 2022, the Government went on to publish the prospectus for its £20 million Supported Housing Improvement Programme which will invite councils to bid for funding ‘to directly target local quality and value for money issues in their area’ (see page 9 of the Report). The second reading of this Bill took place in November 2022 (which we will address in future blogs).

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Report

  1. Alongside the positive steps being taken by the Government, the LUHCC Report is an essential tool in helping the Government to have a wider understanding of what is really happening ‘on the ground’ in the world of exempt accommodation.

MR Associates - February 2023