Agenda Item No. 5
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION): 6 NOVEMBER 2013
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 21 OCTOBER 2013
C2055 CONSULTATION ON DRAFT ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR POLICY (HBMCS) (SCRUTINY – HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) –
Members were advised of problems with the current anti-social behaviour policy for council tenants and of progress on the development of a more suitable policy for dealing with anti-social behaviour in the future.
Earlier this year a senior officer working group recognised that the current methods of dealing with anti-social behaviour were unwieldy and hampered efforts to resolve matters. Consequently the officers recommended a peer review and a new draft policy.
The government was working on a draft Anti-social Behaviour Bill that was intended to streamline the range of measures available to landlords to combat the problem. While the bill was not expected to become law until 2015, the new Vale of Glamorgan approach would take account of the spirit of the change, which set out to provide an opportunity to address the underlying causes of ASB, improving the likelihood of achieving a long term sustainable positive outcome for the community.
The existing policy was adopted by Cabinet on 16 March, 2011 (Minute No.C1254) and was created in response to criticism from the Local Authority Ombudsman which included a decision of maladministration against the Council. In practice the existing policy and procedure had proved difficult to implement. It had been shown to be too onerous when dealing with routine matters and lacked flexibility.
The current procedure was highly prescriptive and placed undue emphasis on enforcement and not enough on prevention and good estate management. This led to officers being driven by the need to complete the process of producing standard letters and issuing warnings on time rather than concentrating on the people concerned and achieving satisfactory outcomes for them. A copy of the current policy and procedure was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.
The new policy set out in Appendix 2 as attached to the report, would adopt the standard definition of anti-social behaviour as set out in the Crime and Disorder Act: 'Any conduct that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not in the same household.' There would be a parallel policy for dealing with estate management issues [Appendix 3].
The new policy also took account of the 'Wales Housing Management Standard for Tackling Anti-social Behaviour.'
The Council was embarking on a consultation process that included consultation with the Housing Services Review Group, a tenant consultative body, formal consultation with significant partners such as Safer Vale, a staff working group and written consultation with other interested groups. Further consultation would be undertaken with all tenants in line with statute.
This was a matter for Executive decision
(1) T H A T the progress to date of the policy review and the principles of the proposed new approach for dealing with incidences of anti-social behaviour involving Council tenants be noted.
(2) T H A T the draft Anti-Social Behaviour Policy, as attached at Appendix 2 to the report, be endorsed and the consultation process as outlined in Paragraph 17 of the report be agreed.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for consideration.
(4) T H A T a further report on the final draft policy should be submitted to a future Cabinet meeting advising of the full results of the stakeholder consultation.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To ensure Cabinet was aware of the progress with the policy development process.
(2) To endorse the Policy and agree the consultation process.
(3) To ensure that Cabinet was aware of the consultation process associated with the policy.
(4) To ensure Cabinet received the final policy for their agreement featuring the consultation responses.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 21 OCTOBER 2013