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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Thirteen, anti-social behaviour review and COVID-19

21/04/2020


Thirteen Group was already working hard to tackle anti-social behaviour, and as senior tenancy support service manager Angela Corner explains in today’s blog, that’s got more important – and more urgent – in the current crisis.

Over the last 12 months we have reviewed our approach to anti-social behaviour (ASB). The aim of the review was to increase intelligence on our estates, provide easier ways for our customers to report ASB and to provide a better customer experience all round. The review is complete, and our new ways of working have been rolled out, which have proven extremely effective dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

So, what have we done?

We have recruited a triage team who are responsible for processing every ASB complaint reported to Thirteen. The team is responsible for assessing each complaint, conducting risk assessments, identifying trends, working with CCTV operatives internally and externally and logging all intelligence we receive. They then pass the case to the relevant investigating operator; low level to our neighbourhood and support staff, or when the complaint is linked to crime or a more serious issue and where enforcement action is needed, to our enforcement team.

Because of the increase and centralisation of intelligence it has provided valuable insight into COVID-19-related cases, enabled us to take swifter action, understand our problem estates and work with the police and local authorities more effectively.

We’ve introduced the ASB ‘Reportable’ app, downloadable on a smart phone and allowing our customers to report ASB quickly and conveniently 365 days of the year. The report logs the time, date and location of the incident and allows customers to take photographs, providing us with evidence to support enforcement action. Introducing the app has reduced the need for customer telephone contact, particularly at this busy time.

Our customers also have access to the ‘Noise App’, again downloadable on a smart phone. The app removes the need for diary sheets and also for attending the property to fit noise equipment. Customers can record noise activity and send it straight into us to investigate.

That said, noise reports have increased in the last few weeks and we are reaching out to customers to ask them to try and become more tolerant, given the expected increase in daily living noise as people are at home more than normal and children are unable to play out as they normally would. We’ll be doing this in a number of ways including using social media and videos.

What else is new as a result of COVID-19?

The ASB team has a daily conference call with Cleveland Police to understand demand, impact on our estates, be involved in operations and also understand the impact to our communities.

Where we have communal areas and there are particular issues with social distancing, the ASB team has worked with our supported housing, extra care and neighbourhood teams to send texts, information and warning letters to tenants flouting the rules. This has also involved extra work from our concierge and CCTV operatives to monitor and reduce parties, gatherings and visitors to properties.

We’ve reviewed our process and reduced warning stages and introduced additional measures for those flouting the governments rules. An additional warning letter has been produced by our legal team to warn and deter those not adhering.

Although we have not yet seen an increase in reports of domestic abuse we are concerned that victims are trapped in the home with perpetrators. Again, we have promoted local and national support in addition our Noise App and asking our customers to remain vigilant of potential domestic abused incidents.

These measures have allowed the triage, tenancy support and enforcement teams to carry on working safely from their own homes, while still providing essential services to our customers to offer them extra reassurance during this difficult time.

Find out more about dealing with ASB under COVID-19 from our CIH good practice guide.


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