Anti Social Behaviour - prevention
Preventing the causes of ASB is fundamental to creating communities where people choose to live. The following measures will be used to prevent the occurrence of anti-social behaviour:
- Allocation policy
- Tenancy management
- Tenancy support
- Housing advice
- Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC’s)
- Parenting Contracts
- Environmental improvements
The Council’s allocation policy includes the provision that a housing applicant is ineligible for admission to the housing register if it is satisfied that they are ineligible by virtue of unacceptable behaviour (section 160 Housing Act 1996 as amended and extended by section 14(7) Homelessness Act 2002).
With regard to existing Council tenants, the Council will take account of any unacceptable behaviour and, in the case of serious rent arrears or some other serious breach of the Tenancy Agreement, may refuse admission to the transfer list and lay down any requirements or expectations before receiving a further application.
When a person is allocated a Council property they have to sign a Tenancy Agreement. This is a legally binding contract between the Council and its tenants. Under this, tenants have responsibilities with regard to their own behaviour, the behaviour of the household and also the behaviour of any visitors to their home. Tenants who breach the conditions of their Tenancy Agreement will have action taken against them in line with the Council’s Anti Social Behaviour Policy.
The Council will support victims of anti-social behaviour. This may involve referring tenants to the tenancy support services scheme managed by Mosaic Homes when appropriate.
These services also play a role in preventing anti-social behaviour in the first place and reducing its re-occurrence providing support for new tenants and vulnerable perpetrators of anti-social behaviour. The Council will make referrals to Mosaic Homes where it is believed that tenancy support services may prevent a new tenant causing problems or becoming a target for anti-social behaviour.
Housing management staff will make referrals to the Council’s Housing Advice Officers, Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter or other such agencies when it is appropriate to provide further advice and assistance. These services are free, independent and confidential.
Mediation is a voluntary process that provides independent people (mediators) to talk to those involved in a dispute.
The mediator’s role is to listen to the parties without judging anyone and remain impartial at all times during the mediation process. Mediation enables all parties to be heard, “win/win” solutions can be explored and mutual agreements can be reached.
If both parties agree the Council will make referrals to Basildon Mediation when it is appropriate to provide further assistance. The aim is to resolve disputes at an early stage before they escalate into serious anti-social behaviour. These services are free, independent and confidential.
Where appropriate ABC’s will be implemented.
An ABC is a written voluntary agreement between a person who has been involved in or is likely to be involved in ASB and the Council and/or Police. They are most commonly used for young people (i.e. commonly between 10 and 18 years of age) but may also be used for adults.
An ABC will be agreed and signed at a meeting with the individual and the lead agencies. This is a voluntary agreement requiring co-operation from all parties. The ABC typically lasts for 6 months and will be reviewed periodically. The ABC sets out what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.
Whilst there is no legal redress for breaching an ABC, it may provide evidence that can be used subsequently in an application for an ASBO and/or Possession Order.
Parenting contracts offer a method by which agencies can work with parents on a voluntary and structured basis. The Council will consider the use of these contracts in appropriate cases.
The Council will endeavour to prevent the occurrence of ASB by working closely with contractors and other agencies in undertaking appropriate landscaping, security and lighting works.
The Council will publicise high profile cases, campaigns and activities related to preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour on the Council web site and in the local press.