Council tenant complaints rise
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR REPORTS UP TO 3 A DAY
Local democracy reporter COUNCIL tenants in South Tyneside are lodging around three complaints every day about anti-social behaviour, new data has revealed.
According to figures gathered by South Tyneside Homes (STH) in their latest Tenants’ Report, complaints have increased year on year since April 2015.
Over a three-year period, between April 2015 and April 2018, there were 2,861 anti-social behaviour reports lodged - roughly three a day.
In 2015/16, there were 937 complaints, with the figure rising to 960 in 2016/17 and again in 2017/18 to 964.
Anti-social behaviour ranges from abusive behaviour, vandalism and drug dealing to alcohol-related incidents, domestic abuse and violence.
Under council rules, it also covers people breaching tenancy conditions around their properties or gardens.
The council’s lead member for area management and community safety, Coun Nancy Maxwell, has said the majority of cases in recent years were “low level”.
“We take issues of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously and work closely with our partners within STH and the police to resolve matters,” she said.
“We will always take action where we can, using the range of tools and powers available to us.
“The vast majority of cases are low level issues and are resolved through early intervention with no further problems reported.
“However in a small number of cases we are left with no other option but to pursue the matter in the courts and take eviction proceedings. This action is only ever used as a last resort.
“With customer satisfaction remaining high, we are pleased that our efforts are recognised and valued by residents.”
STH defines anti-social behaviour as “acting in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, alarm, harassment or distress to one or more people.”
Complaints can relate to people living in a council home, neighbours and any visitors to estates.
For serious cases, anti-social behaviour victims can be referred to the council’s ‘Victims’ Champion’ for extra support.
Coun Maxwell added: “We continue to encourage residents to report anti-social behaviour incidents, and over recent years have introduced more ways for people to do this.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind tenants of their responsibilities and that they are putting their tenancies at risk should they, other people in their household or visitors to their property, engage in anti-social behaviour.”
Anti-social behaviour reports are dealt with based on their severity with ‘category A’ cases such as hate crime or domestic violence, responded to within one working day.
Standard ‘category B’ cases, including neighbour disputes and criminal behaviour, take two working days while minor ‘category C’ cases, such as noise nuisance, have a three-day response time.
According to the annual tenants report, customer satisfaction was 94.2% at the end of 2017/18.
Of the 964 anti-social behaviour complaints reported over this period, the report adds, around 959 were responded to within timescales.
Anti-social behaviour can be reported to the council’s specialist team on 0191 427 7999, or the customer contact centre on 0191 424 7000. Alternatively, email [email protected]neside.homes. org.uk or text ASB followed by the message to 07786 200 802 or visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/asb
■ South Shields Town Hall