|To outline Mount Green Housing Association’s (“Mount Green”) approach to dealing with perpetrators of antisocial behaviour and supporting victims
|Staff and managers in the Housing Services Neighbourhoods and Customer Experience Teams (together “team members”), and residents
|Date first implemented
|09 November 2022
|Housing Services Manager
|Date approved by Senior Leadership Team
|17 October 2022
|Date approved by Resident Committee Group
|11 August 2022
|Every 2 years
Document Status: This is a controlled document. Any printed copies of this document are not controlled. As a controlled document, this document should not be saved onto local drives but always accessed from the Policy Library.
(made prior to full policy revision)
|Nature of Amendment
|Additional policy added to 4.1
|Housing Services Manager
|Housing Services Manager
|Senior Leadership Team
Current Policy Revision
|Housing Services Manager
|SLT approval date
|RCG Approval date
|Next revision due
1. Policy Statement
1.1 This policy sets out Mount Green Housing Association’s (“Mount Green’s”) position and approach to dealing with antisocial behaviour (ASB) in Mount Green properties.
1.2 This document should be read in conjunction with our statement of ASB procedures. Together, these documents provide information on how Mount Green ordinarily responds to complaints of ASB.
2. Policy Principles
2.1 The Social Housing White Paper 2020 sets out a new Charter for residents of social housing. The requirements which are particularly relevant to this policy
- To be safe in your home – we will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure.
- To be treated with respect – backed by a strong consumer regulator and improved consumer standards for tenants.
- To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in – with your landlord keeping your home in good repair.
2.2 Antisocial behaviour is defined in the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 as conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm, or distress to any person; conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises; or conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.
2.3 The legal definition is very broad and is open to interpretation based on an individual’s experiences and expectations. ASB can mean different things to different people, and therefore Mount Green has developed a threshold and a framework within which it will operate, in order to assess those behaviours that are not acceptable and are considered to be unreasonable standards of behaviour.
2.4 Mount Green is committed to tackling antisocial behaviour, including hate incidents, harassment or other crimes, with prevention and early intervention. Mount Green is committed to tacking Domestic Abuse, including Violence Against Women and Girls, and have a separate policy for this. We will enforce the terms of the tenancy agreement in relation to ASB. In doing so we will work in partnership with our statutory partners, including the local authority and Surrey Police.
2.5 We consider that ASB constitutes a wide variety of activities that may cause nuisance and annoyance to others. Mount Green expects its residents to be tolerant of other people’s lifestyles and will not accept reports of behaviour that most people accept as a reasonable part of everyday life, although some behaviour can be perceived as unpleasant or inconsiderate, it may not be ASB. Mount Green will record these types of complaints but will NOT investigate them.
2.6 Mount Green will deal with Hate Crime in line with this policy and our supporting statement of procedures. We will respond to incidents of hate crime as a priority.
3.1 Once approved, team members within Neighbourhood Services and Customer Experience Services will be made aware and will be given training as appropriate.
3.2 Changes to this policy and its associated procedure (Appendix 1) will be communicated to our residents and to team members within Neighbourhood Services and Customer Experience Services.
3.3 Team Members in the Neighbourhood Services, and Customer Experience Services will be required to read this policy, and to confirm that they have read and understood it.
4. Other Policies
4.1 This policy should be used in conjunction with the following policies:
- Hate crime
- Domestic Abuse, and Violence Against Women and Girls
- Vulnerable Residents Policy
5.1 The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on behalf of the Board carries overall responsibility for ensuring that Mount Green has the appropriate processes in place which adequately and appropriately support its employees, regardless of what working pattern or arrangement they have.
5.2 Managers will ensure team members receive appropriate training in accordance with their role, especially with regard to legislation and dealing with potentially vulnerable people. This includes relevant refresher training and training as part of an induction schedule for new team members.
5.3 Team members are responsible for adhering to this policy and agree to participate in training to ensure they have the skills necessary to do so.
5.4 All team members are responsible for feeding back any improvements that could be made to this policy and its associated procedure (Appendix 1) or problems they have found while trying to implement it.
5.5 All tenants of Mount Green have signed a Tenancy Agreement which sets out the responsibilities and behaviours expected from them. They must not commit, or allow the people living in or visiting their home to commit, acts of ASB.
6.1 We will ensure tenants are made aware of their responsibilities in relation to ASB, this includes through:
- The sign-up process
- Probationary tenancies
- New tenant and end of year visits
- Where relevant thereafter including letters, emails, meetings, visits, and tenancy audits
- Formal interventions such as written warnings
7. Resolving complaints including early intervention
7.1 Mount Green will consider which course of action is suitable to the circumstances, depending on the occupation rights (if any) of the perpetrator, the severity and/or persistent nature of the conduct and we will have regard to the proportionality and reasonableness of the action. In some situations, we may use more than one remedy to address an issue.
7.2 Mount Green uses a wide range of tools and powers to challenge unacceptable behaviour and will decide on a case-by-case basis which tools and powers are the most appropriate to use.
7.3 Generally, in those cases that have not been assessed as high priority/impact, early intervention tools and techniques will be applied. Residents will be encouraged to engage and participate in order to stop incidents from escalating. This includes communicating with each other, such as through mediation, and respecting one another’s point of view.
7.4 Mount Green will take enforcement action in cases where early intervention techniques have not been successful and the harmful behaviour is continuing, or where complainants need protection to prevent further ASB incidents from occurring.
7.5 Please note that this policy does not relate to a formal complaint about a service you have received from Mount Green. This type of complaint should be put in writing to Mount Green either by emailing the Customer Experience Team at email@example.com or writing to the Customer Experience Team, Mount Green Housing Association, 26 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8BZ. Alternatively, you can go online and use MGHAs general customer feedback form at Complaints and Feedback – Mount Green Housing
8.1 Mount Green will keep in regular contact with the resident/s regarding the progress of their case and will regularly assess risk of harm, if any posed to them, by their situation.
8.2 In most cases they will be asked to keep a log of further incidents in order to gather evidence of the problem. We offer a number of methods which residents can use to record incidents of ongoing ASB. These include:
- Using diary sheets provided
- Using the Noise App on a smart phone to record and log incidents of noise (details will be provided to the resident/s by the officer allocated to the case)
- Directly emailing or phoning Customer Experience Services in relation to the case
- Reporting online at www.mountgreen.org.uk/residents/myneighbourhood/hot-topics/anti-social-behaviour/
9.1 Mount Green will offer support and advice to victims, especially if they are vulnerable, to assist us in enabling enforcement action against perpetrators.
9.2 Translation, interpreting and alternative methods of recording incidents will be made available; Mount Green want to make it as easy as possible to report ASB.
9.3 Support can include practical measures, such as the installation of fireproof letterbox plates, and/or other supportive measures such as referrals to coaching support. In exceptional circumstances we may consider a management transfer to safeguard complainants. Further information is available in our management transfer procedure.
9.4 When assessing what actions should be taken to deal with a complaint, the officer has a duty to consider whether the alleged perpetrator would benefit from specialist support to help them address their antisocial behaviour. This could include problems relating to drug or alcohol dependency or mental health needs, which may or may not be having an additional impact on the wider community. Victims of cuckooing who are also perpetrators of ASB will receive specialist support.
10. Enforcement action
10.1 Mount Green have a graded response escalation process and we will use a range of interventions depending on the nature of the reports being made, our response will be reasonable and proportionate and include but not limited to:
- Acceptable Behaviour Agreements
- Pre-legal warnings
- Legal action
10.2 In serious cases and/or where non legal interventions have not been effective Mount Green may consider making an application to the Courts to help resolve the issue. In very serious cases of ASB, such as a serious assault, we may take this action without any further warning to the tenant.
11. Partnership working
11.1 The Homes and Communities Agency’s Regulatory Framework, under the Neighbourhood and Community Standard, requires registered housing providers to co-operate with relevant partners to help improve social, environmental and economic wellbeing in their areas and to work in partnership with other agencies to prevent and tackle ASB in the
neighbourhoods where they own homes.
11.2Criminal matters should be reported to Surrey Police. If it is appropriate for the police to take responsibility for investigating an incident, Mount Green will work with them to support their investigation.
12. Consultation and communication
12.1 In line with the Involvement and Empowerment Standard (The Homes and Communities Agency’s Regulatory Framework), residents and the Residents Committee Group have been consulted.
12.2 We will publicise our approach to ASB to deter incidents. We may also publicise the outcome of ASB cases to enable community awareness and confidence.
13.1 This policy will be reviewed in response to any changes made by the Government which govern how social landlords are required to respond to ASB and / or enforce the terms of the tenancy agreement in relation to a breach arising from ASB.
13.2 We monitor the quality of this service, including via satisfaction surveys and performance statistics.
13.3 If a resident feels that a member of staff has not complied with this policy, they should raise their concern with the Housing Services Manager who will undertake an investigation.
14. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
14.1 For Mount Green, diversity is about respecting people’s individual differences and ensuring that all people that come into contact with us have access to the same high standards of behaviour and service.
14.2 We are committed to ensuring that no resident or employee will be treated less favourably because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation.
Appendix 1: Procedure on Antisocial Behaviour
1. Purpose and Scope
This procedure provides information on how Mount Green Housing Association (Mount Green) ordinarily responds to complaints of antisocial behaviour (ASB). This document should be read in conjunction with our ASB and Safeguarding policies.
It provides further details about the following:
- Reporting ASB
- Responding to a complaint of ASB
- Supporting Witnesses
- Supporting Perpetrators
- Remedies for resolving ASB
- Monitoring ASB
Mount Green aims to deal with all complaints of ASB in accordance with the procedures described in this statement. However, ASB can be very complex and
sometimes cases require a more flexible approach in order to achieve the best outcome for the complainant and/or the perpetrator.
Mount Green does expect its residents to be tolerant of other people’s lifestyles and will not accept reports of behaviour that most people accept as a reasonable part of
everyday life, although some behaviour can be perceived as unpleasant or inconsiderate, it may not be antisocial behaviour. We will record these types of
complaints but will NOT investigate them, for example:
- Isolated incidents of antisocial behaviour such as loud music, an argument, a bonfire
- Cooking smells
- Neighbour disputes such as interference with wheelie bins, parking disputes, ball games
- Anonymous complaints
- Noise nuisance caused by daily living noise which is not excessive or unreasonable
- Noise from a baby crying or children playing
Our residents have a right to enjoy their homes and are entitled to go about their daily lives without having concerns that complaints will be made against them.
Our team members are appropriately trained and will exercise their professional judgement when assessing reports that they receive. In situations where Mount Green assesses the behaviour reported is NOT ASB, we will provide residents with self-help options where appropriate including, access to mediation services.
Mount Green consider the following as some examples of the more common types of ASB, but this is not an exhaustive list.
- ASB related to drug or alcohol abuse
- Vandalism and damage to property
- Extreme noise that is persistent and capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a reasonable person
- Persistent pet and animal nuisance where the animal’s behaviour is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a reasonable person
- Actual violence/threats of violence against people or property
- Domestic abuse /Violence
- Verbal abuse, harassment, intimidation or threatening behaviour
- Hate-related incidents (based on race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religion, age)
- Other criminal activity in addition to those covered by the bullet points above
Mount Green considers cannabis use to be ASB and we will work with Surrey Police to resolve these complaints. We may provide complainants with an odour diary to assess the impact of the smell on the complainant however, we are limited in how far we can investigate these issues and we are unlikely to be able to take action for breach of tenancy if:
- There is no evidence to prove where the smell is coming from
- Officers from either the police or Mount Green are unable to witness the smell
- The complaint is made by one household against one other – one word against another
- There is minimal impact on the complainant
The Neighbourhood Officers in Housing Services are responsible for responding to complaints about antisocial behaviour caused by Mount Green residents.
HOW TO REPORT ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
If the person acting antisocially is a Mount Green resident, is a member of a residents’ household, or is visiting a resident, then the complaint should initially be made to Customer Experience Services.
Complaints can be made in the following ways:
- In writing to Customer Experience Services, Mount Green Housing Association, 26 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8BZ
- By telephone on 01372 379555
- By e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- On line at www.mountgreen.org.uk/residents/my-neighbourhood/hottopics/anti-social-behaviour/
- Through a third party such as a Councillor
- Any complaints made through the Mount Green’s main social media channels such as Facebook or twitter will be escalated to the Customer Experience Services.
If the activity is of a criminal nature then the antisocial behaviour (ASB) should be reported to the police (call 101 for a non-emergency response and 999 in the case of
Mount Green will record anonymous complaints but will NOT investigate them unless the complaint raises a safeguarding concern, or it relates to a crime in which case we
will follow up with relevant agencies such as Adult Social Care, Childrens’ Services and/or Surrey Police. Due to a lack of information about who made the complaint or
other evidence, it would be difficult to progress the complaint in such circumstances.
HOW WE WILL INVESTIGATE COMPLAINTS OF ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
All information provided by complainants will be treated in the strictest confidence, however, there are circumstances where Mount Green is obliged to share information.
Please note that in order to comply with safeguarding obligations, if officers receive information that suggests that a child or adult is at risk they have a professional duty
to share that information with relevant services including Children’s Services and Adult Social Care as appropriate. Similarly, if we receive a Court Order instructing us to disclose information as part of legal proceedings, Mount Green are legally obliged to comply.
Complaints of ASB will be assigned to the Neighbourhood Officer for your area. The named officer will be the complainant’s point of contact for all future enquiries relating to your complaint.
Details of the initial complaint will be logged onto Mount Green’s database.
Complainants will be contacted by the Neighbourhood Officer within 2 working days of the complaint being received. Cases likely to include imminent danger, violence or threats of violence, hate crime or domestic abuse, will be given priority, with a real focus on reducing the harmful behaviour and protecting the reporter by responding as quickly as possible. The Officer will assess the information provided and decide on the most appropriate way to respond to the complaint. The response will be dependent on the nature of the behaviour being reported, and the impact it is having on the complainant, their family, and/or the local community. Translation services or an interpreter are provided as required.
Nuisance behaviour assessed as low impact
Mount Green takes all complaints of antisocial behaviour seriously and will investigate each one to assess what response is appropriate. Complaints about a given type of activity can impact on different people in different ways for various reasons. Complaints which relate to estate type issues will usually be classed as low impact nuisance behaviour. Typically, in these cases there will be no risk of harm to the complainant and no vulnerabilities that would mean the nuisance would have a particularly adverse impact on the complainant. These issues might include, but are not limited to:
- Car repairs
- Dogs barking
- Neighbour Disputes
- Ball Games
Where cases have been assessed as low impact the officer will decide on the most suitable course of action and will discuss this with you. Please note that you may be directed towards ‘self-help’ tools to help you try to resolve the situation yourself. This could include referring you and your neighbour to Mediation Surrey.
Often the best way to resolve nuisance cases effectively is through discussion, negotiation and agreement between neighbours. If mediation is recommended it is because it is considered as the best option. Therefore, if you refuse without good reason Mount Green reserve the right to close your case. A referral to support coaching for the complainant may also be offered if the Officer and complainant agree that it might be helpful.
Antisocial Behaviour assessed as medium to high impact
Where cases have been assessed as medium to high impact, the complainant will be offered an appointment to discuss their complaint in more detail. Ideally, this will be a
face-to-face appointment however, it could also be via a video call on MS teams. A face to face appointment can take place at their home, at the head office, or at an alternative suitable location of their choosing. If they do not wish to meet with an officer, or take part in a video call, their complaint can be discussed over the phone. Please be aware that if the complainant declines further contact with an officer, so as to provide further details about their complaint, it may not be possible to progress their complaint.
The Neighbourhood Officer will take down the details of the complaint by completing the ASB Report Form. The purpose of the form is to record the following details:
- what is happening
- when it is happening
- who the alleged perpetrators are (if known)
- what impact it is having on you and/or your household
- whether you need additional support
- why it is happening
- whether the incident has been reported to other agencies
- whether you have discussed the problem with the alleged perpetrator
- what your expectations are with regards to your complaint.
- explore together the next steps
In most cases the complainant will be asked to keep a log of further incidents in order to gather evidence of the problem. Mount Green offers a number of methods which can be used to record incidents of ongoing ASB. These include:
- Using diary sheets provided to you
- Using the The Noise App on a smart phone to record and log incidents of noise (details will be provided by the officer allocated to the case)
- Directly emailing or phoning the officer allocated to the case or by contacting Customer Experience Services
- Reporting online at www.mountgreen.org.uk/residents/myneighbourhood/hot-topics/anti-social-behaviour/
If the complainant is asked to keep a log of further incidents, but fails to do so, their case may be closed if we are unable to progress if further because of this.
The ASB Report Form includes an action plan which the complainant and the Neighbourhood Officer will sign and date. The action plan will be based around the discussion in terms of how the complaint will be investigated and will include actions for the officer assigned to the complaint to complete if appropriate, and may also include actions for the complainant to complete.
When a case is assessed as medium to high impact, for example where someone is expressing fear of harm or feels unable to go about their daily life as a result of the ASB, the Neighbourhood Officer will complete a Victim Risk Assessment form with the complainant during the initial discussion. This matrix is used to assess the current level of risk to the complainant and will be reviewed as necessary as the case progresses. In accordance with the Surrey wide multi-agency Community Harm and Risk Management Meetings (CHaRMM) framework the following action plan will be
applied to the scoring matrix:
Standard score 0-25
- ASB incident diary to be offered if appropriate
- Offer crime reduction advice
- Consider mediation referral
- Encourage victims to visit http://www.surreycommunitysafety.org.uk/ for information and advice on what to do if you have been a victim of antisocial behaviour.
Medium score: 26 – 35 (in addition to standard)
- Joint agency home visit, if appropriate
- Initial action plan and engagement with relevant partners to consider CHaRMM referral for case management
- Consider if location of interest marker should be considered by Surrey Police or partner agency and created if appropriate
- Encourage victims to seek support from local victim care team in Surrey on 0808 168 9274
High score: 36-44 (in addition to standard and medium)
- Immediate referral to CHaRMM for case management and support
- Joint agency home visit to be conducted
- Referral to Mediation Surrey Coaching Support
- Immediate circulation and contact with relevant partners
- Case created on ECINS (multi agency database used to record CHaRMM referrals), risk assessment and initial support plan uploaded.
In all cases, the officer will use the ASB report form and any logs provided to assess what action, if any, should be taken. The proposed course of action will be agreed in discussion with the complainant along with the process involved as well as any translation, interpretation or requirements for alternative ways of recording evidence.
Following the initial meeting the complainant will be sent an information pack which
contains the following information:
- Covering letter summarising the initial action plan and containing contact details for the designated officer
- Copy of the ASB Report Form
- Copy of the CHaRMM Victim Risk Assessment if completed
- Supply of diary sheets if requested
- Information leaflet “Anti-social Behaviour: Together We can Deal With It”
The covering letter, ASB Report Form and accompanying CHARMM Victim Risk Assessment, if completed, form will be scanned onto Mount Green’s data capture system.
If the agreed action plan states that independent enquiries are to be carried out, the officer will start these enquiries as soon as possible after the initial interview. This may involve contacting agencies such as Surrey Police, Children’s Services, Adult Social Care. It can also include making enquiries with other residents to investigate whether they are also aware of the issue.
Please note, that due to the individual circumstances, and complexities of incidents of ASB, the officer dealing with the case may deviate slightly from the procedure described above. This applies to low, medium or high impact cases. Where this is the case the officer should be able to advise why this decision has been made. For example, following an assault but where the victim does not feel at risk of any further incidents.
Risk assessments are dynamic and should inform a victim led process therefore, initial risk assessments will be reviewed as and when the circumstances changes. Assessment of risk is an ongoing process, the outcomes of which will be reflected through our contemporaneous file notes and formal reviews using the CHaRMM Risk Assessment matrix.
All open ASB complaints will be reviewed by the Housing Services Manager a minimum of every 6 week but if the nature of the case requires them more frequently then we will be responsive to this need, for example, in the event of escalating threats of harm.
Hate Incident/Hate Crime
A hate crime is “any criminal offence committed against the person, or property that is motivated by the offenders’ hate against people because of their age, gender, race, religion, disability, or ethnicity, and there is evidence to support this motivation’.
In making judgements about hate crimes it is the behaviour and its impact on the recipient, not the intentions of the perpetrator that are important.
The purpose of this statement from the Macpherson Report is not to prejudge whether a perpetrator’s motive was hate or not. It is to ensure that investigations take full account of the possibility of a hate dimension to the incident and that statistics of such incidents are collected on a uniform basis.
A victim of hate crime does not have to be a member of a minority group or someone who is generally considered to be more vulnerable. For example, the friends of a visibly minority ethnic person, lesbian or refugee may be victimised because of their association. In some cases the perpetrator’s perception may be wrong. This can result in a person entirely unconnected with the hate motivation becoming the victim. In reality anyone can become the victim of a hate crime.
Hate crime can take on a variety of forms including, but not limited to, the following:
- Verbal and written abuse
- Abusive behaviour – such as spitting, threats, offensive items left on doors, posted through letterboxes, phone calls
- Physical assaults on complainant, their dependents and relatives
- Incitement – stirring up hatred by a variety of means such as petitions, leaflets and stickers
- Damage to property – such as abusive graffiti and slogans, bricks through windows and doors, damage to cars and other possessions
- Threats to wellbeing or life – such as lighted matches or rags being put through the letterbox
- Arson or attempted arson
Mount Green will not tolerate racial harassment and other hate crimes, either caused by or directed at its tenants. Full and comprehensive support will be offered to the victims of such behaviour. In conjunction with our partner agencies, such as Surrey Police and Social Services, we use, as necessary, all of the remedies provided by the law to deal with perpetrators.
Mount Green aims to:
- Ensure that the reporting of racial incidents and other hate crimes is made easy and accessible
- Increase the reporting of racial harassment and hate crime
- Deal with racial incidents and hate crimes with an appropriate and effective response
- Ensure appropriate support is provided to victims of racist incidents and hate crime
In line with the above we will manage incidents/cases of hate crime in line with our processes for investigating and taking action on antisocial behaviour as documented in
this procedure and that includes giving priority to address such complaints.
CONTACTING THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR
The Neighbourhood Officer may suggest that the alleged perpetrator should be made aware of the complaint straight away or, they may ask the complainant to keep a diary of incidents in order to gain more information before contacting them. It is important that the officer has as much information as possible before discussing the complaint with the alleged perpetrator.
The Neighbourhood Officer will attempt to talk to the alleged perpetrator face to face. In most cases the ‘first letter to perpetrator’ template will be used to set up an appointment. The letter makes the alleged perpetrator aware of the complaint and reminds them of the terms of their tenancy agreement. However, given the complex nature of ASB cases the officer may decide that contacting the perpetrator through another method, for example carrying out an unannounced visit, might be more appropriate when safe to do so. We will not divulge the identity of the complainant without the complainant’s clear consent. However, it is possible the identity may be guessed if the complaint is from a close neighbour and we will discuss this with the complainant. If you do not wish for us to approach the perpetrator we will not be able to progress your complaint.
It is possible that the alleged perpetrator may make a counter-allegation, in this event their complaint may also need to be investigated.
During the contact with the perpetrator we will :
- Put the allegations to the perpetrator for a response.
- Highlight the tenancy terms being breached.
- Warn of consequences if further incidents
- Explore any vulnerabilities or support needs
- Explore appropriate solutions and agree an action plan to manage the expectations of the alleged perpetrator
A range of early intervention solutions will be explored with the alleged perpetrator, such as drawing up an acceptable behaviour agreement, referral to appropriate agencies for support to address the behaviour, or a written undertaking. The interventions will be reasonable and proportionate. Mount Green may also refer the alleged perpetrator to diversionary activities accessed through the Social Prescribing Officer, Targeted Youth Support, and other agencies participating in the CHARMM framework.
Following the meeting, the Neighbourhood Officer will summarise in writing the agreement reached and provide the perpetrator with an action plan detailing what they need to do to prevent further nuisance and the possible consequences of failure to do this. If the officer is also satisfied that that there is sufficient evidence to support that the ASB is significant and ongoing, the alleged perpetrator will also be sent a written warning.
The written warning will state which section of the tenancy agreement has been breached and will list the complaints that have been received to date.
In the event of a warning being issued and the ASB is ongoing, the officer should then consider further action based on proportionality and reasonableness. This may include a final written warning. The final written warning will state which section of the tenancy agreement has been breached and will list the complaints that have been received since the written warning has been issued. The final written warning will also state what further action will be taken should the behaviour continue. The decision to escalate a case will be based on the facts of the case, the ASB being perpetrated and the risk of harm that is continuing. This could include formal legal enforcement action. Mount Green must ensure that any action taken against alleged perpetrators is reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances.
If the officer decides that further formal, legal, action would be appropriate the case would be referred to the Housing Services Manager in the first instance. Each case will be different and the evidence must be assessed to see whether it supports legal action being taken. To that end, the Housing Services Manager will be asked to sign off an authorisation document which considers the facts of the case in the light of the proposed course of action. Once the document is duly authorised the Neighbourhood Officer will refer the case to Mount Green’s solicitor.
The steps outlined above provide a basic framework that an officer needs to follow in order to progress a case to the formal legal enforcement stage. In the majority of cases officers will be required to carry out further interviews and meetings, issue informal warning letters, liaise with other agencies, and/or make referrals to supporting organisations before escalating the complaint to the next stage. In most cases the Neighbourhood Officer will be required to demonstrate to the Housing Services Manager that every attempt has been made to engage with the perpetrator through a variety of methods, and that legal action is being considered as a last resort only. However, there will be exceptional cases where it is reasonable to dispense with warning letters and proceed straight to enforcement action on a without notice basis, for example if there has been a serious assault on another resident. Legal action should be taken when it is appropriate to do so within the context of the procedure and when there is sufficient evidence to support this course of action.
All details relating to alleged perpetrators will be held on Mount Green’s database. This will include contemporaneous notes of telephone calls, interviews, meetings, copies of letters and notes of discussions between professionals.
When assessing what actions should be taken to deal with a complaint, the Neighbourhood Officer has a duty to consider whether the alleged perpetrator would benefit from specialist support to help them address their antisocial behaviour. This could include problems including drug or alcohol dependency or mental health needs, which may or may not be having an additional impact on the wider community.
Depending on the circumstances, support for perpetrators may include:
- Referral to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub who will assess which agency would be best placed to give advice and support to families whose family members (adults and/or children) are perpetrators of ASB
- Catalyst is a not for profit organisation providing services for people with wellbeing problems, often resulting in drug and alcohol use
- Liaison with Surrey Police, Social Services, Community Mental Health Team and/or Targeted Youth Support Services
Supporting vulnerable perpetrators
Complex issues relating to county lines, cuckooing, child criminal exploitation and modern slavery mean the lines between who is a perpetrator and who is a victim can become blurred. An individual identified as a perpetrator may well be a victim of exploitation themselves and Mount Green is committed to working with partner agencies to support these individuals so that they get the help they need, and to ensure that the ASB stops.
For example, in the case of cuckooing, professional criminals target the homes of vulnerable adults so that the property can be used for drug dealing. These criminals are very selective about who they target as ‘cuckoo’ victims and are often entrepreneurial. A lot of the time victims are lonely, isolated, frequently drug users themselves and are already known to the police. ‘Cuckooing’ means the criminals can operate from a discreet property, which is out of sight, making it an attractive option. They can then use the premises to deal and manufacture drugs in an environment under the police radar, usually staying for just one day. When the criminals use the victim’s property for criminal enterprises, the inhabitants become terrified of going to the police for fear of being suspected of involvement in drug dealing or being identified as a member of the group, which would result in their eviction from the property.
The CHaRMM meets regularly to discuss perpetrators of ASB who are having a significant impact on the local community, and to consider and support victims of ASB where the impact is deemed to be high, and the victim in need of further support.
In cases of cuckooing Mount Green will refer the perpetrators (if known) to the CHaRMM and they will also refer the victim to the CHaRMM. The perpetrator may also be referred to the Catalyst outreach Cuckooing programme so that they can reach out to them in an attempt to establish whether they are in fact being cuckooed and whether they are in need of specialist support.
The CHARMM panel will discuss new referrals and make a collective decision as to whether or not to accept the subject onto the Agenda for future action and monitoring.
KEEPING COMPLAINANTS INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS OF THEIR COMPLAINT
We will respond to the initial complaint within 2 working days, thereafter we will respond emails within 5 working days and written correspondence within 8 working days. If written correspondence is assessed as urgent or high risk we will prioritise our response and aim to reply as quickly as possible. If the correspondence requires a more in depth response we will acknowledge it within 2 working days will respond in full within 15 working days. The full response could be a response in writing or face to face or over the phone. Please note this does not mean the complaint will be fully resolved and closed within 15 working days.
The Neighbourhood Officer is responsible for ensuring that they are kept informed of the progress of their complaint at all times. Whilst having regard to Data Protection, the officer will discuss potential action with them and will update them once the action has been carried out. This can be done in writing, verbally over the phone, or during a face-to-face meeting.
All details relating to the complaint will be held on Mount Green’s database. This will include contemporaneous notes of telephone calls, interviews, meetings, copies of letters and notes of discussions between professionals.
The best evidence to successfully obtain legal action, is always direct evidence which also shows the impact the behaviour has had on a person or community. In cases
where the Mount Green takes legal enforcement action against a tenant, we will ask residents to provide witness statement(s) to support that action. Whilst we recognise
that this can be an intimidating prospect the reality is that the Courts also expect to hear first hand evidence from the residents who have witnessed the antisocial behaviour. Anonymous witness statements can be submitted but they do not carry as much weight with the Court. Mount Green may not always be able to proceed with court if the case is solely based on anonymous evidence.
Where residents agree to act as a witness in a case Mount Green will support them as fully as possible by paying travel and/or work expenses incurred as a result of them attending court as a witness, talking them through the court process and making any other special arrangements throughout the court process as necessary.
If the complainant is assessed as medium to high impact, for example when someone is expressing fear of harm or feels unable to go about their daily life as a result of the ASB, we will complete a CHaRMM victim risk assessment at the outset of the complaint. This will be reviewed as required throughout the course of the investigation. The complainant will be provided with a copy of the risk assessment and a copy will be kept on their file. If they score highly on the risk assessment they will be referred to CHaRMM where multi agencies will meet to discuss their particular needs, how best to support them with their issues and agree an Action Plan.
If the complainant is considered to be particularly vulnerable we can offer practical measures in order to support and reassure them. This can include:
- security measures, such as installing extra locks and spy holes
- provision of wrist panic alarms and installation of fireproof letterbox plates
- in serious cases of significant anti-social behaviour the Council will consider installing a CCTV camera.
We will liaise with other agencies as appropriate, such as Surrey Police and Social Services, to ensure that full support is provided. For example, we may request that the
police conduct local patrols in the area.
We will consider the use of ASB Injunctions where the perpetrator has engaged or is threatening to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person.
Mount Green will support complainants to make use of the Community Trigger (also known as the case review) if we believe it may be of benefit to them in your situation.
If they (or others) have reported an incident 3 or more times within a 6 month period they can activate the Community Trigger (also known as ASB Case Review) through their local Council. The Community Safety Officer will then assess their information to decide whether or not it meets the threshold for the Community Trigger. If the threshold it met there will be a multi-agency case review which involves various agencies (e.g. local Police, Local Authority, NHS).
This is different from a single-agency complaints process which looks at faults in the way an agency responded – further details on this process are included later on this document, under ‘who to contact if you are not satisfied’ The Community Trigger process is more of a case review to decide whether there are any further steps agencies can take to try to resolve the problem and stop the anti-social behaviour. There are no guaranteed outcomes, and the complainant should keep in mind that the process may not always result in the problem they report being resolved. They can activate the trigger themselves, or someone can activate it on their behalf, including the officer dealing with their complaint of antisocial behaviour. Further details on the community trigger can be found here Community Trigger – ASB HELP.
MOVING TO ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
Mount Green aims to support witnesses to stay in their own homes however, in exceptional circumstances, we will consider moving complainants to an alternative property if appropriate. We will not move someone just because they are experiencing ASB. This process is called a Management Transfer and it is a transfer to another property outside of the normal allocations process and is limited to one reasonable offer. Each and every request will be assessed on its own merits and must be supported by robust evidence from relevant professionals, such as the Police.
As a guide, you MAY be eligible for a Management Transfer under the following circumstances:
- Surrey Police are of the view that the tenant and/or a member of their household would be at significant risk of harm should they remain in their property
- Where a tenant is experiencing hate crime and/or harassment because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
- Other exceptional circumstances, when the approving officer feels that the only way to resolve a difficult situation where an urgent outcome is required. For example, in the event of significant personal tragedy where it is unreasonable for the resident to remain in the home
Further details on management moves can be found in the Procedure For Management Transfers.
REMEDIES FOR TACKLING ASB
When deciding on what action to take to deal with a complaint the officer will take into account a number of factors including but not exclusive to: the type of behaviour, the time of the incident and how long it lasts for, the frequency of the incidents, how long the incidents have been going on, what steps have been taken to resolve the issue to date, whether independent evidence supports the allegation. Mount Green must take action which is appropriate to the circumstances of the ASB. It will seek to act reasonably in all the circumstances. We will update the complainant about what action, if any, will be taken. We will tell you the reasons for this decision.
Before taking any formal action such as making an application for an injunction, and/or serving a Notice, and then later making the decision to apply to Court for a
possession or demotion order, the officer should complete an authority document to be signed off by the Housing Services Manager or a more senior officer. The authority
document should outline the facts of the case, describe what action has been taken to date in an attempt to resolve the situation, consider any relevant factors under the Equality Act 2010. The authority document will also consider human rights issues and as such it should outline why the action being recommended is reasonable and proportionate and is a lawful response to the situation.
This section lists the types of legal and non-legal actions the Council might consider in addressing ASB, as follows:
Mediation – Following the initial discussion about your complaint, the Neighbourhood Officer may decide that a referral to Mediation Surrey may be the most appropriate course of action. Surrey Mediation Service is independent, confidential and free of charge. Mediators don’t take sides or try to tell people what they should do. They are trained and experienced in helping people reach agreements between themselves. They do not give advice. If the officer decides that this is the most appropriate course of action but you chose not to participate in the mediation process, it may not be possible to progress your complaint at that stage.
Warning letters –warning letters give perpetrators the opportunity to remedy their behaviour before more serious action is considered. These letters will tell the perpetrator what complaints have been made and which section of the Tenancy Agreement has been breached.
Acceptable Behaviour Agreement (ABAs) Acceptable Behaviour Agreements are voluntary agreements made between the Council and the perpetrator, and sometimes another agency such as the police or school. The intention is to address the anti-social behaviour and they can be used for children or adults.
Written Undertaking –from the adult perpetrator to cease specified conduct and/or take certain positive steps. If breached would consider further action.
Good neighbour agreements – these are voluntary agreements between neighbours and are useful to address issues impacting on the community such as noise, parking,
litter, property condition. MGHA can facilitate and work with neighbours to draft up the agreement
Diversionary activities– these can be useful to divert antisocial behaviour for example assisting young people to participate in sporting activities or encouraging residents to
become involved in the community or learn new life or work-place skills
Referral to support agencies – such agencies can assist with underlying vulnerabilities or support needs that might be contributing to the ASB.
This list is not exhaustive but includes the main informal measures that can be explored to resolve ASB.
Demoted Tenancies – Mount Green can apply to the County Court to have an assured tenancy demoted for a period of 12 months. A demoted tenancy is a non-secure tenancy and as such it is easier for Mount Green to then seek a possession order should the ASB continue.
Possession orders – Mount Green applies to the County Court for a possession order in respect of a perpetrator’s home. If achieved, it then applies to issue a possession warrant for a bailiff to evict the occupiers.
Management Transfer – in exceptional circumstances Mount Green may move the complainant for their own safety.
Absolute ground for possession – where at least one of the following applies: a person has been found guilty of a serious criminal offence, has been found by a court to have
breached the terms of an Injunction (under S1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014), conviction for breach the terms of a Criminal Behaviour Order,
where the property is subject to a Closure Order for more than 48 hours, where the person has been convicted for breaching an Abatement Notice obtained under the
Environmental Protection Act 1990.
ASB Injunction under Part 1 of the Crime and Policing Act 2014 where the respondent has engaged or is threatening to engage in antisocial behaviour. This is defined as conduct which has or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person or conduct which is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person. Breach of an injunction is contempt of court which could result in a fine or custodial sentence.
Community Protection Notice – can be issued to deal with a particular problem which is negatively affecting the community. The conduct must be unreasonable and must be having a detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality. We will work with Surrey Police and/or the local authority who have the authority to use these powers.
Closure Notice and Order – used where there is significant nuisance being caused or likely to be caused to members of the general public and/or that there has been disorder or is likely to be disorder at the property. A Closure Notice prohibits access to all persons except those who habitually live there or those who own the property. A Closure Order is granted by the Magistrates Court and prohibits access to all persons at all times. It may allow access to specified persons, and is known as a ‘Partial’ Closure Order . We will work with Surrey Police and/or the local authority who have the authority to use these powers.
Section 21 Notice – are used to bring an assured shorthold tenancy to an end where there has been a breach of tenancy through ASB.
In cases of significant noise nuisance, which may meet the test for statutory noise nuisance, we will liaise with our colleagues in the relevant Local Authority’s Environmental Health Team who can serve a Noise Abatement Notice if the test is met.
Mount Green offers a range of tenancy types depending on the stage of the tenant’s housing journey. In cases of ASB where Notice is served, the type of Notice will depend on the status of the tenancy, as follows:
- Assured Shorthold Tenancy tenant’s who are living in permanent social housing for the first time will be granted a 12-month introductory tenancy. If there are complaints of ASB the introductory tenancy can be extended by a further 6 months. A Section 21 Notice can be served to bring this tenancy to an end in the event of significant ASB.
- Demoted tenancy – [explained above] Serve a Notice of Proceedings for Possession with a right to request a review within 14 days. If not exercised or decision upheld, then court proceedings with a right to possession if procedure was followed correctly
- Assured tenancy – tenants with a secure tenancy would be served with a Notice of Seeking Possession as a first step to the Council seeking possession of the property. A notice of proceedings for seeking a demotion order can only be served where the tenant has an assured tenancy.
CLOSING A CASE
It is essential that complainants provide evidence of the ASB by completing and returning logs in the format agreed with the Officer allocated to your case. Without this evidence it is unlikely that case can be properly investigated and their case may be closed.
In addition, a case may also be closed if the following applies:
- the ASB has stopped
- there is insufficient evidence to take any action
- the behaviour cannot be reasonably classed as ASB or nuisance
- the perpetrator has moved
- the complainant has moved
- no further reports of ASB have been made.
For cases assessed as low impact, the case may be closed without further notice because the complainant has not responded to contact by officers. It may also be closed following a discussion between the complainant and the officer either over the phone or in person. In medium to high impact cases the complainant will receive a closure letter informing them that the case will be closed if they do not contact the officer within 7 days.
When the case is closed we will ask the complainant to complete a satisfaction survey, rating their levels of satisfaction in relation to how their complaint was handled. If they do not contact the officer within 7 days the case will be closed. Any remaining documents will be scanned onto our data capture system.
Should the antisocial behaviour reoccur complainants can make a further report. Although a new complaint will be opened all the information from their previous complaint will be held on file and will be referred to as necessary.
If the complainant is particularly vulnerable as a result of their experiencing ASB, the officer will signpost them for additional support and/or continue to monitor their wellbeing if appropriate.
If a complainant is not content with the response from Mount Green then they will be given details of our complaints procedure. The complaints procedure can be found here Complaints and Feedback – Mount Green Housing Association Ltd
MONITORING ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
All complaints of ASB are logged on the Mount Green’s database; this includes the name and address of both the complainant and perpetrator. The data is then fed into
Mount Green’s overall figures for ASB each month and quarter, such as how many cases have been opened and how many closed.
The local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership receives reports on problems of crime and disorder which impact on identified communities or are being created by identifiable individuals.
In order to continually monitor and improve our service, all complainants receive a satisfaction survey once their case is closed. The results are recorded and are used to provide vital feedback on how we respond to complaints of ASB.
WHO TO CONTACT IF COMPLAINANTS ARE NOT SATISFIED
We aim to provide a high standard of customer care however, we recognise that we do not always meet resident’s expectations in relation to how we respond to complaints of antisocial behaviour.
If the complainant is dissatisfied at the outcome of their complaint they may wish to consider activating the Community Trigger to request a review of the decision(s)
made in their case. They can find more details of the Community Trigger here Community Trigger – ASB HELP
The Community Trigger should not be used if the complainant has reported ASB and received a response from us but are unhappy with the service they have received. If
this is the case they should follow Mount Green’s internal complaints procedure. Further details can be found on our website at Complaints and Feedback – Mount
Green Housing Association Ltd. Alternatively, they can email email@example.com or write to us at 26 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8BZ or by phoning 01372 379 555 .
In addition, they may wish to contact the Housing Ombudsman by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by submitting an online form to them at www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/contact-us/. The Housing Ombudsman can assist the complainant throughout the lifetime of their complaint by offering advice and assistance at an early stage, not just at the point where the internal complaints procedure has been exhausted.
OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION
Managers will ensure team members receive appropriate training in accordance with their ole, especially with regard to legislation and dealing with potentially vulnerable people. requirements will be reviewed at 1-1’s and appraisals. As a minimum existing team members will receive relevant refresher training every two years and new team members will undertake training as part of an induction schedule.
We monitor the quality of this service, measuring the satisfaction levels relating to ASB complaint handling.
We will consult staff and residents about the operation of our policy and procedures. We aim to review this procedure in 3 years to ensure that it reflects current legislation and the latest examples of best practice.
Responding pro-actively to complaints of ASB delivers potential benefits to vulnerable people.
Managers are responsible for ensuring that this policy is fairly applied, with due regard to individual’s circumstances and for adequate training for team members on
This Statement is reviewed regularly to ensure it remains relevant and up to date.