Shelter Scotland: Right to Adequate Housing

Shelter Scotland commissioned Diffley Partnership to conduct vital research looking at people’s lived experience of housing in Scotland.

The research was conducted between March and May 2023. Its timing was important to help equip the charity to input to the current legislative process in the Scottish Parliament towards a Human Rights Bill which will incorporate four United Nations Human Rights treaties into Scots Law. Of particular interest to the research was the seven elements of the right to adequate housing (RTAH), as outlined by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR):

Security of tenure
Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure
Cultural adequacy

The research was designed to gain lived experience perspectives from members of the public and stakeholder views on human rights regarding housing.

We conducted a four-stage research project, involving an Immersion Phase (Desk-based analysis of existing data on the right to adequate housing, including international examples and indicators); Qualitative Research with stakeholders (Helping identify known gaps or discrepancies in the evidence); establishment of the Establishing the RTAH Panel for Scotland (identifying the profile of the RTAH Panel – comprising groups most likely to be at risk of not receiving RTAH – and recruiting its members); and Qualitative research with the RTAH Panel, in the form of focus groups and/or 1:1 interviews.

Key findings included that none of the participants in the research were of the view that Scotland was performing universally well on any of the seven elements of the right to adequate housing, and participants repeatedly raised that housing should be safe, affordable, that people should have security of tenure, and that legislation should protect these rights. Based on consultation with stakeholders and hearing the lived experience of members of the public in relation to housing in Scotland, we made a number of recommendations.

The full report, including our recommendations, is available here and you can read more about the Scottish Government’s consultation on A Human Rights Bill for Scotland here.