Hello and welcome to my second blog. This month I am focusing on our anti-social behaviour service.
As you will know, every two years we send out a STAR survey asking for your views on our services. Disappointingly the recent results for ASB were low, particularly for satisfaction with how we deal with ASB, and having confidence in our service.
We really want to get to the bottom of why this is and address it. I’m making improving our ASB service and tenant satisfaction with it a top priority for 2019.
So far we’ve had an independent review of the service carried out which included feedback from our tenants, and we’re now finalising an improvement Action Plan. The next step will be inviting our tenants to join a Service Improvement Group and Hot Topic Group to look at things like accessibility of the service, how we communicate and our ASB policy. If you are interested in having your say about the ASB service there are more details on how to join these groups at the end of this blog.
The ASB service
Dealing with cases of anti-social behaviour can be complex, and from the outside it is not always clear what is being done, so I thought it may be helpful to summarise the process, some of the different sorts of cases and how they are dealt with.
Although the process will differ from case to case, if you experience ASB and report it to us, Southway will work with you to improve the situation. Our service standards are to respond to reports of high level ASB within 24 hours and medium level ASB within three working days. We will discuss your expectations, explaining what the process involves and how long it is likely to take. We will work with you, neighbours, partner agencies and if necessary, the Police and Courts, to address the case.
Over the last year (from April 2018 to March 2019) we responded to over 220 reports of anti-social behaviour, which broken down, were:
- 92 high level cases: Hate Crime, Domestic Abuse and Youth Nuisance
- 102 medium level cases: excessive noise, drugs misuse and dogs barking
- 32 standard level cases: noise nuisance, neighbour disputes, parking and fly tipping
The largest single category reported to us (25%) were about noise nuisance. We had three Hate Crime cases during the year which was slightly less that the five reported the year before, and there were 4% more Domestic Abuse cases than the year before.
We took five cases to Court, securing four injunctions and an undertaking from a perpetrator to change their behaviour. We also secured three youth injunctions.
We also evicted a tenant who was causing significant ASB in the Old Moat area after lengthy court proceedings. The tenant had a chaotic lifestyle with multiple issues which we had to address. With the committed help of their neighbours, who provided information in the form of evidence and diary sheets, we were able to work closely with other agencies including Adult Services, Children’s Services and Greater Manchester Police, and through Court action were able to end this tenancy as unfortunately the tenant’s behaviour did not improve.
Where cases involve neighbour disputes mediation can often be an effective option. We referred seven cases for mediation, where an impartial third party works with the parties at conflict. We have a lot of success with this service. People we referred last year commented "I am very happy and the situation is much improved", "Things have calmed down a lot since seeing the mediators" and said "I would recommend the service to others and I felt listened to".
Have your say
We know that we need to improve our communication and other aspects of the ASB service. By joining the new Anti-Social Behaviour Service Improvement Group (which will provide an ongoing review of the service), or Hot Topic Group (a one-off meeting to review the Policy changes), or by getting in touch with me with your views, you can help us to do this better.
If you have any ideas on how we can improve things or want to be a part of the Anti-Social Behaviour Service Improvement Group, let me know using the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first ASB SIG meeting will take place on Tuesday 11th June 2019 6pm-7.30pm.
You can also contact Maureen Ward or Lai Chan here or on 0161 448 4200 for more information on the groups, or to let us know you be attending.
I look forward to seeing you there, or to talking to you if you get in touch.
See these pages for more tips and advice on dealing with neighbour conflict, identifying and reporting ASB, and information on services like mediation.
For government guidance on resolving neighbour disputes click here.