Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness (The Alliance)?

A: The Alliance is a new and different partnership approach to achieve transformational change in homelessness services that are provided by third and independent sector partners. The first of its kind in the UK, the Alliance brings together the health and social care partnership, charities, housing providers and local people with personal experience of being homeless.

The Alliance will work together and with other homelessness agencies to reduce the time people spend homeless and prevent it from happing in the first place. The Alliance will also work in partnership with people who have personal experience of homelessness, wider public services, housing providers and others.

The entire range of homelessness services in the scope of the partnership over the seven-to-ten years of the timeline were covered within the procurement process, and are listed under the heading “Current Services in Scope” in Appendix 1 of this council’s report. In short it will work to:

  • end rough sleeping in the city
  • prevent homelessness and alleviate the impact of homelessness
  • reduce homelessness and the time people spend in temporary accommodation
  • reduce repeat homelessness
  • increase tenancy sustainment.

Q: What is Alliancing?

A: An Alliance is a virtual organisation. Members of an Alliance work collaboratively knowing that the benefits in doing so are greater than those obtained by acting individually. This collective ownership of opportunities and responsibilities, together with shared decision making, creates a collaborative environment.

Alliancing enables:

  • collective ownership, responsibility and accountability
  • collective response to external influences and risk
  • best-for-system decision making
  • pooling of skills, assets and experience
  • hard conversations and working through potential conflict
  • flexibility to evolve over time.

Q: How did the idea come about?

A: The City Council undertook a Strategic Review of Homelessness Services in 2016 with a key finding that “more of the same won’t do” and that a whole-system approach to transformational change was needed, as was a different, better way for key stakeholders to work together.

Alliance models in relation to health and social care services are a relatively recent development, but the third sector and umbrella bodies were especially keen to adapt this model as a potentially more effective method to tackle homelessness.

In 2017, GCHSCP started working with Homeless Network Scotland, Glasgow City Mission, Unity Trust and the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) to develop a new model of working, supported by an external consultancy, LH Alliances. A series of co-production events between all partners and people with personal experience of homelessness were facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland to agree a set of principles that would underpin the alliance.

The outcomes of this co-production approach formed the basis for the Prospectus, “Your City, Your Home”, the tender specification to establish the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness.

In May 2019 Glasgow City Council issued a tender for pre-formed groups to establish an Alliance partnership to work together with the Council.

Q: What is the evidence this will be a good way of working?

A: There are a number of successful examples operating in England and internationally (e.g. New Zealand). Evidence supports the advantages of collaborative partnerships in the planning, design and delivery of health and social care services leading to significantly improved outcomes for people using services.

It is a major shift away from the traditional commissioner / service provider relationship, but Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow City Integration Joint Board (IJB) agree that a new way of working with key partners is required to deliver improved outcomes for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Q: How will this prevent and reduce homelessness?

A: By everyone working toward the same goals, rather than individual or organisational goals. This will be achieved by developing new partnerships of people with lived experience, third and independent sector service providers and key housing and strategic partners working together to improve outcomes for individuals and families.

Partners concluded that the Alliance needed to redesign existing services and shape future developments along the following lines:

  • Tailored, not ‘one size fits all’. This means being more flexible, building from people’s strengths and making sure choice and control is in their hands.
  • Local, not segregated. This means making sure people have the choice to be in their own home as part of a local community and to live, work and use services in ‘ordinary’ not ‘homeless’ places.
  • Realistic, not idealistic. This means helping people tackle the financial and material hardship that often causes homelessness, which is as important as support people might want to build on or improve other parts of their lives.
  • Delivered ‘with’ people and not ‘to’ people. This means getting alongside people to end their homelessness quickly – and making sure that people who have experienced homelessness continue to influence every step the Alliance takes.

Q: Which organisations are in the Alliance

The Alliance is made up of eight organisations, including Glasgow City Council. They are: Aspire, Crossreach, Loretto Care, Mungo Foundation, Sacro, Salvation Army and Ypeople.

Q: What is the budget overseen by the Alliance?

A: The anticipated estimated value of the Alliance agreement over its maximum 10-year term is £187.5 million excluding VAT. This value is estimated on the basis of £23.3 million in year 1, reducing by 5% p.a. in subsequent years. This is subject to variation subsequent to Local Government financial settlements and Council / GCHSCP budget allocations. The Council will provide an infrastructure budget of £100,000 p.a. for the first two years post award of this contract. It is anticipated that from year three the Alliance will fund ongoing infrastructure costs from future service efficiencies / redirection of resources.

Q: What is the involvement of people who have personal experience of homelessness?

A: Members of Glasgow Homelessness Involvement and Feedback Team (Ghift) were fully involved in every stage of the tender process, (e.g. developing the specification, tender evaluation and interviews). This level of involvement from people using services exceeds the existing best practice in user involvement in commissioning.

The approach included the following.

  • Assessment Centre x 2 – observed sessions scoring groups on how they: collaborate, share & take positive risks and innovate.
  • Written Scoring Sessions x 12 – scoring all 3 stages of written tender submissions
  • Group Interviews x 2 – interviewing tendering groups as part of full interview panel

“The best example of coproduction in commissioning I’ve witnessed or read about.”
Linda Hutchison, LH Alliancing

GHIFT will also take a seat as a partner in the Alliance going forward.

Q: What is Homeless Network Scotland’s role in the Alliance?

As a knowledge-based organisation, independent from both statutory duty and service provision, Homeless Network Scotland will join the Alliance in an advisory role, connecting to evidence and learning and creating a route for the wider network to influence the Alliance and stay informed of its work. Homeless Network Scotland will also facilitate and support the partnership with people who have personal experience of homelessness in Glasgow.

Q: What does this mean for services that are not part of the Alliance?

A: The Alliance brings with it improved collaboration and partnership between the local authority and other public services, charities and wider homelessness sector in Glasgow as one of the cornerstone recommendations of the 2016 Strategic Review Of Homelessness Services.

The Alliance must communicate and consult effectively to ensure those affected by its work are listened to and their views inform current and future planning and delivery. This will include the way that it tells people about plans, performance and achievements and how the Alliance makes sure its work is accessible and visible to communities across the city.

Homeless Network Scotland provides an extra route and assurance for services not part of the Alliance to influence and stay informed about its work.

Q: Will the Alliance mean that new layer of staff and management posts is created?

A: Support posts may be created in partner organisations if a business need is identified. One senior manager / director post will be established to oversee the creation and delivery of the Alliance.

Once established, the Alliance will not itself become a separate legal entity, each of the individual Alliance partners enter into a legally binding contract among themselves which sets out their obligations to each other.

The Council will also be a party to this Agreement and these obligations are set out in a contract which is called the Alliance Agreement. The Council retains sole responsibility for all statutory homelessness duties and obligations in relation to the assessment of housing need and provision of crisis / short-term accommodation options appropriate to meeting the housing and support needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.