Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments

Traveller Site ORS has a well-established portfolio of research studies with Gypsies and Travellers, including a number of accommodation needs assessments.

Our long-standing approach fits well with the Coalition Government’s policies towards providing Gypsy and Traveller sites, published in March 2012. In particular, our studies have always sought to provide a robust assessment of the minimum pitch requirement whilst recognising that additional needs could arise in future which are impossible to predict. In this context, our advice to local planning authorities was routinely two-fold; identifying that they should:

  • Plan for the minimum pitch requirement that our evidence identified
  • Develop a criteria-based policy for assessing sites to meet any additional future needs

Whilst local authorities still have a duty to ensure a 5-year land supply to meet any identified needs for Traveller sites, the importance of criteria based planning policies has also been recognised by the latest guidance. More generally, the guidance supports our existing approach to assessing needs which provides the reliable evidence base required.

The ORS Approach to Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments

Our typical approach is based on collating a wide range of secondary data sources and undertaking appropriate stakeholder consultation - but there is also the need for a high quality, robust and independent survey of Gypsy and Traveller households.

Any analysis can only be as good as the data analysed, so ORS routinely seek to interview every Gypsy and Traveller household living in the study area - including residents on existing private and social sites, temporary sites and unauthorised encampments; as well as Gypsy and Traveller households living in "bricks and mortar".

We have developed detailed questionnaires that ask a wide range of questions to distinguish Gypsy and Traveller needs on the one hand, from what might be called aspirations or preferences on the other. The household survey provides the basis for:

  • Detailed analysis of accommodation and support needs (and demand)
  • Identifying the element that is local need
  • Profiling any movement patterns that become evident
  • Understanding the seasonality of these issues, where it can be identified

The necessary interviews are lengthy and searching, taking about half-an-hour, but in our previous studies we have achieved a relatively high success rate with interviews typically achieved with 70% of all Gypsy and Traveller households known to be resident in the study area. Our stakeholder consultation will often identify Gypsy and Traveller households previously not known to the local authority, and these households are routinely interviewed as well.

Gypsy and Traveller Surveys

As for all of ORS' research projects, the necessary fieldwork for Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments is carried out by social research interviewers that have significant experience of undertaking detailed and sensitive interviews.

It is important to recognise that interviewing is a skill that develops with experience, and only our most skilled interviewers would normally administer such lengthy and searching interviews. Given this context, we strongly believe that this fieldwork is unsuitable for community interviewers with little or no previous social research background. More generally, we feel that the idea that only members of special groups can interview special groups is divisive and erosive of proper standards of quality, independence and credibility.

ORS has developed a highly experienced small team of interviewers to specialise in Gypsy and Traveller surveys, thus developing a good understanding of the demands of this area of social research. As well as understanding the culture and mores of the communities, they have come to understand the organisation and patterns of development of the various kinds of sites – which differ very much from those experienced in most housing surveys, of course.

Whilst we would not use any inexperienced interviewers for such detailed surveys, ORS encourages and welcomes involvement from Gypsies and Travellers in our work. In particular, involvement from the community can be invaluable in preparing the ground for the interviewing team, and accompanying and introducing interviewers as they visit sites - although it is important that the actual interviews are conducted in private, to ensure honest responses to the questions asked and maintain respondents' individual anonymity and confidentiality.

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments

Derbyshire Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
Derbyshire CC logo ORS was commissioned by Derbyshire Travellers Issues Working Group (TWIG) to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment to assess the needs of Gypsies and Travellers over the next five years, including the needs of Showmen. The study covered Derbyshire County, Derby City and all of the Peak District National Park. Read more...

Greater Norwich Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
Greater Norwich Housing Partnership logo ORS was appointed by the Greater Norwich Housing Partnership (Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk Councils) to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment for the sub-region. Within two months of commission, ORS had successfully completed 99 interviews with Gypsies, Travellers, Showmen and New Travellers across the area - more than 7-in-10 of all local households.

Neath Port Talbot Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
Neath Port Talbot CBC logo ORS has undertaken two comprehensive Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments for Neath Port Talbot as part of wider, integrated Strategic Housing Market Assessments. Personal interviews were achieved with over half of the Gypsy and Traveller households resident in the County Borough and Travelling Showmen on-site for the Neath fair.

Project Portfolio

ORS has undertaken all of the following local and sub-regional Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs), most also including Showmen Accommodation Assessments.

The following studies have all been undertaken since the latest national planning policy was published by CLG in March 2012:

  • Basildon GTAA
  • Bath and North East Somerset GTAA
  • Buckinghamshire GTAA - Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire, Wycombe
  • Cardiff GTAA
  • Central Bedfordshire GTAA
  • Craven GTAA - Craven and Yorkshire Dales National Park
  • Gloucestershire GTAA - Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud, Tewkesbury
  • Greater Norwich GTAA - Broadland, Norwich, South Norfolk
  • Hambleton GTAA
  • Harrogate GTAA
  • Hinckley and Bosworth GTAA
  • Lancaster GTAA
  • Mid Sussex GTAA
  • Milton Keynes GTAA
  • Neath Port Talbot GTAA
  • Redbridge GTAA
  • Ribble Valley GTAA
  • Rutland GTAA
  • Selby GTAA
  • Southern Oxfordshire GTAA - Oxford, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse
  • Suffolk GTAA - Babergh, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney
  • Sussex Coastal GTAA - Adur, Arun, Chichester, Worthing, South Downs National Park
  • West Berkshire GTAA
  • Western Hertfordshire GTAA - Dacorum, Three Rivers
  • Windsor and Maidenhead GTAA
  • Wokingham GTAA

Our previous projects include:

  • Ceredigion GTAA
  • Derbyshire GTAA - Amber Valley, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derby, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash, High Peak, North East Derbyshire, South Derbyshire, Peak District National Park
  • Greater Norwich GTAA - Broadland, Norwich, South Norfolk
  • Milton Keynes GTAA
  • Monmouthshire GTAA
  • Neath Port Talbot GTAA
  • Northern and Eastern Hertfordshire GTAA - Broxbourne, East Hertfordshire, North Hertfordshire, Stevenage, Welwyn Hatfield
  • Sevenoaks GTAA
  • South Bedfordshire GTAA
  • South East Wales GTAA - Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen
  • South Holland GTAA
  • Stratford on Avon GTAA