Coun­cil ten­ant com­plaints rise


Sunday Sun - - News - By Chris Bind­ing @Chris­bind­ingldr

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]­ne­ or text ASB fol­lowed by the mes­sage to 07786 200 802 or visit www.southty­ne­

■ South Shields Town Hall

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