New Housing Antisocial Tool Revealed
Published Friday, 16 March 2012
Kettering Borough Council help to deliver new Antisocial Behaviour tool offering a stronger voice to communities
Recognising the skills and expertise of the CIHs Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team, Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, commissioned the CIH to work in partnership with Kettering Borough Council to develop a tool that could be used by social landlords nationally. He was particularly interested in ways in which the impact of harm on a community could be expressed.
Working in partnership with Kettering Borough Council and the Social Landlords Crime and Nuisance Group (SLCNG) alongside a steering group, the Community Harm Statement has been developed and piloted by 11 landlords over the last six months. The benefits of using the tool has been shown in its use in 21 cases through the courts and has helped assess the impact on community and local resources.
Grainia Long, Chief Executive of CIH, said: The Community Harm Statement is an industry leading document that will be useful for social landlords to adopt as part of their toolkit for tackling ASB. It has been designed to help social landlords when they take legal action on ASB to present evidence to the court in a consistent manner, and in a way that properly captures the impact not only on individuals but also the wider community. As such it is an opportunity to give communities a stronger voice in the judicial process.
Anti social behaviour has such a detrimental affect on communities, the impact of last summers riots are testament to that, and until now the voice of the community hasnt been put forward in the courts. We know the government is soon to announce new measures to deal with anti social behaviour and this document is the first of its kind to focus on communities and not just individuals.
Kettering Borough Councils Chief Executive, David Cook, said: A little while ago, working closely together with our local MP, Phillip Hollobone, we shared with the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, our concern that, far too often, courts make decisions about anti-social behaviour on housing estates without taking into account the impact on local communities.
We are pleased that the Minister shares our concerns and supports our proposal that landlords should be able to submit to the courts a professional assessment of how anti-social behaviour is harming neighbours and the wider community. After several months of hard work with our colleagues at the Chartered Institute of Housing and other social landlords, we are delighted that Community Harm Statements are now being launched.
Its absolutely critical when dealing with anti-social behaviour that someone can speak up for intimidated and vulnerable individuals so that the courts can take balanced decisions based on all the facts. The Community Harm Statement will help us to achieve just that.
Steve Boyd, Chief Executive of Solihull Community Housing, which took part in the trials said: Our experience shows that Community Harm Statements were effective in court and that judges took notice of them. We feel it is important that community suffering is heard and the statements paint a more detailed picture of how neighbourhoods can be damaged by the behaviour of individuals.
Over the coming months CIH will be working with the sector to encourage all social landlords to implement the Community Harm Statement as part of their toolkit for tackling ASB. Building on the experience gathered in the last two years of the ASB Action team, from April, CIH will be offering a range of products and services to deliver an integrated housing and ASB service. This will include a range of training, advice and support to landlords. Further information will be forthcoming.