SHASC Conference 2015 – Rights, choice and change
* Conference update. To view 2015 presentations, click on items marked <LINK> below*

Rights, choice and change was the theme for the Scottish Housing and Support Conference in October 2015 at the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel, Haymarket, Edinburgh. As usual, it took a positive and practical focus with up to the minute topics and lots of opportunity to network and hear from service users and practitioners. This key networking event attracts policy makers, staff and service users in housing, health, social work and the voluntary sector. Free places for service users were available thanks to Scottish Government funding. We were delighted that Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare agreed to speak about a fairer Scotland.

08:45 Conference registration,  exhibition stands and refreshments

09:45 Opening plenary -  Chair: Robert Aldridge, SHASC Director

Speakers  focussed on human rights and discrimination and involved service users and professionals. The conference looked at how we can take a human rights approach within housing, health and social care, how to ensure it will happen and how we can incorporate it into our work and services.

<LINK> Ian Welsh, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland will open the session and will be followed by <LINK> Chris Oswald, Head of Policy and Communications with the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland (EHRC). Chris will speak about race, disability discrimination and hate crimes.

11:00 Coffee break

11:15 Choice of Briefing Sessions A or B, or Workshops 1-5 (most run twice)

A   The impact of welfare reform and universal credit A discussion of the latest DWP benefits changes in Scotland. Although we can't change the policy how can we help by making the new system work fairly for vulnerable people and other claimants? And what may be the impact on the way we deliver services?  <LINK> Jacqueline Brown of DWP Scotland and Kirsty McKechnie, CPAG in Scotland

B    Health and social care integration  An overview of where things are in the development of health and social care integration and where housing is in these discussions: <LINK> Amanda Britain, Joint Improvement Team Lead for Housing;  plus <LINK> The Be@Home Adaptations Demonstration Project testing a cross tenure one stop shop for access to eg housing adaptations, handperson services, telecare and housing options advice and information to help people remain safely at home for longer: Lyn Kilpatrick, Highland Council and Margaret Moss, NHS Highland

Workshop sessions (most run twice)

1      Reconfiguring housing support services in practice: ­ <LINK> George Martin, Team Leader, Housing Support, Shetland Islands Council

2      Women, homelessness and health: The Women's Health Improvement Project is a community led participatory action research project based in Fife, looking at ways to improve the health and wellbeing of women who have experienced homelessness as a result of domestic abuse. <LINK> Jo Ozga, Policy Worker and Cheryl Sutherland Stewart, PhD Researcher, Scottish Women’s Aid

3      Community Resilience and Timebanking: cancelled

4      New developments in Telehealth and Telecare: <LINK> Nessa Barry, Service Development Manager, Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare, NHS 24 - morning session only

5      Self Directed Support –the challenges and opportunities for delivering services: Chris White, Policy and Information Officer, Mental Health Foundation Scotland 

12:40 Lunch

13:30 A fairer Scotland: Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare, Scottish Government

13:50 HSEU photography competition awards:  No Place Like Home presentations, Heather McCluskey, Housing Support Enabling Unit

14:10 Choice of Briefing Sessions A or B, or Workshops 1-5 (most run twice)

15:20 Coffee break

15:35 Closing plenary sessions - Chair, Fraser Gilmore, SHASC Planning Group

 It Could Happen To You! - a short play about the stigma of being homeless: Actors from the Overlee Support Group, East Renfrewshire homeless accommodation.

The Charter for Involvement:  We heard from Sylvia Crick (ARC Scotland) and Alan Mackenzie of the National Involvement Network (NIN), which is supported by ARC Scotland, who have been involved in developing the Charter for Involvement, launched at the Scottish Parliament. The Network is made up of people who receive support from different learning disability organisations and aims to help people who use services to have more choice and control over their lives, and to have a bigger say in how the organisations that support people are run. We heard about how the Charter was developed, how it is working in practice and its human rights importance for service users.

16:30 Close

What they said last year: Excellent, balanced spread of speakers and workshops; Relaxed, informal, inclusive; Good turnout, impressed that service users attended; Fantastic event this year - my best ever; very professional and friendly atmosphere; strong theme that people using services are people.

Who we are: The Scottish Housing and Support Conference planning group is drawn from voluntary and not for profit organizations – currently Age Scotland, Bethany, CIH Scotland, Homeless Action Scotland, HSEU, Horizon HA, Housing Options Scotland, Open Door Accommodation Project, SAY Women, Scottish Women’s Aid, Scottish Housing Best Value Network and SFHA. 

The SHASC Conference is a not-for-profit event supported by grant aid from the Scottish Government to encourage the participation of service users both as speakers and as delegates. Their active input continues to sustain the event as a unique forum for views and ideas. Through networking SHASC aims to improve service delivery, policy and practice across Scotland.



  All enquiries and bookings to


Norma Jones

SHASC Conference Co-ordinator

20c Fettes Row

Edinburgh EH3 6RH

Tel +44(0)131 557 1954

Fax +44(0)131 510 0610

Conference e-mail


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