05 January, 2021
Addressing a rise in Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) during COVID-19 topped the agenda during the first meeting of the Housing Best Practice Partnership Network for West Yorkshire.
The Network has brought together more than 40 different organisations so far including registered providers of housing, local authorities, emergency services, third sector groups and probation services from across West Yorkshire to tackle issues within social housing communities.
A rise in ASB since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, including serious violent crime, domestic abuse, neighbour disputes and fly tipping was reported by the different agencies, with an agreement made for the wider sharing of ASB data going forward and the correlation of this against information held by West Yorkshire Police.
Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire, commented: "The Network was set-up to drive greater collaboration between the social housing sector and many other organisations that all share a common goal of making communities better and safer places to live. The first meeting has already made progress in fulfilling the Network's purpose and will see more informative reporting of anti-social behaviour across the region.
"The meeting also saw the Network agree to produce a report for consideration by the Reducing Reoffending Board to promote a more joined-up approach to preventing ASB."
Darren Burton, Head of Housing Consultancy Services at Forbes Solicitors, is leading the report and explains: "The Network is working on a project that will develop links between social housing and the National Probation Service to identify specialist pathways for female and homeless ex-offenders to sustain tenancies and move forward with their lives.
"This will enable communities to benefit from a more preventative approach towards anti-social behaviour and could help make better use of the time and resource of all the agencies focused on improving community safety."
The Housing Best Practice Partnership Network for West Yorkshire is a joint initiative between the West Yorkshire Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner and Forbes Solicitors and is open to all organisations interested in community safety. It is also striving for a more regionalised approach to the obtainment of Premises Closure Orders.
Darren Burton added: "Housing associations don't have the statutory powers to obtain Orders that can be used to shut down properties linked to anti-social behaviour. By working together, the network of agencies can better support housing associations to ensure these Orders are obtained quickly to reduce the risk of problems spiralling in communities."
Hannah Saltonstall, ASB Strategy Manager (Resolution Team) at Stonewater, said: "For us, collaborating with other housing providers and agencies through the Best Practice Network will be key to our approach in supporting and making our communities feel safe.
"It provides an opportunity for everyone in the Network to share their experiences so that we can learn from one another about the key issues in different areas - exploring everything from fly tipping to serious crime.
"Housing providers have a responsibility to support their customers as best they can and by working together through the Network, we can ensure that we are all working towards the same aim effectively."
The Housing Best Practice Partnership Network meeting took place on 9th December 2020 and was introduced by Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, and chaired by Kate Jowett, the lead for criminal justice at the West Yorkshire OPCC.
The Network is now working with organisations in other regions across the UK to help them facilitate the best-practice approach established in West Yorkshire and will meet again in April 2021.
For more information contact Darren Burton in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01257 240827. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.