Mediation is becoming increasingly more vital when it comes to tacking cases of anti-social behaviour (ASB).
In this article we’re going to look deeper into why mediation is now so important, the impact the pandemic has had on how to tackle ASB cases, and how a recent government whitepaper about social housing and its recent introduction of the Housing Possession Mediation Service will affect the future relationship between mediation and ASB.
Social housing & ASB
It’s been a long wait but recently the government published its whitepaper on social housing and it was immediately clear that more attention will be on social landlords to make them more accountable when tackling cases of ASB.
A change of culture
To tackle ASB cases more effectively in the future it’s clear we need a culture shift within organisations that manage social housing. They should see the changes as an opportunity to problem solve, lower the number of cases, and help victims more comprehensively, not just as more procedures to follow. Change will benefit social landlords just as much as the victims of ASB.
It’s also critical that there’s more knowledge passed on to the community so that residents know what they can do to manage their cases and to do things such as request case reviews more easily.
There’s a tool to do this called the Community Trigger which is under utilised due to a lack of knowledge in communities and it’s vital that agencies such as the National Housing Federation and the Local Government Association support residents by providing more insight into the tools available and how to access them.
New procedures are required
At the moment there’s too many instances of poor case management due to a lack of effective processes and clarity, with many cases simply falling through the cracks in the system.
Cases that don’t qualify as ASB but are problematic are particularly challenging for organisations to deal with. In some instances it’s not clear what the roles are for the organisations involved such as the police, landlords, and councils.
The government whitepaper sets out its intention to make it clear which authority is responsible for what when tackling cases in the future which is a positive for residents and organisations alike. There are however ongoing concerns that certain local arrangements or a lack of budget and resources could limit positive progress in communities. There is also still a long way to go to make sure that social housing landlords can deal with cases that fall in between ASB and not much more effectively.
That’s where mediation comes in…
Housing Possession Mediation Service
With resources tight, courts overloaded with backlog, and an increase in cases of ASB and neighbourly disputes due to the pandemic, mediation is quickly and resolutely coming to the rescue.
Mediation can deal with cases at all stages of progression quickly, effectively, and remotely. Often a series of telephone calls can help us to reach a resolution with all parties concerned.
This has never been more evident as the government has just launched the Housing Possession Mediation Service.
This is a free service for both landlords and tenants involved in housing possession court proceedings with the aim of resolving cases without the need for a face to face court hearing.
Tenants work with an independent mediator from the Courts and Tribunals Service who will help all parties come to a mutually acceptable resolution.
In implementing this scheme it’s clear that the government is acutely aware of the power of mediation to provide a less stressful and less expensive way to resolve cases and avoid the courts.
The government has partnered with charity, The Society of Mediators to provide this service. They aim to conduct mediation remotely within 10 days of a referral. At ADR we work closely with our social housing partners to respond within 1-2 days to get to that all-important resolution even quicker.
What you can do now
Do you recognise any of these case management challenges?
- Are you or your officers spending a disproportionate amount of time on lower harm cases, meaning that you can’t support vulnerable/high-risk victims as quickly or effectively as you would like?
- Do you have cases caught in a cycle of open-closed-open-closed without you being able to fully resolve them?
- Do you experience cases where there are lots of complaints and counter complaints, and it’s difficult to understand who is at fault and the best course of action?
- Are you receiving lots of service complaints relating to particular cases?
If so, it’s time to act and look at how you can use mediation to tackle cases of ASB more effectively starting today.
To help we’re running a free-to-attend 1-hour webinar on Tuesday 11th May at 10am. Our CEO, Kim Logan will be on the panel alongside anti-social behaviour specialist, Janine Green and Eden Bailey from GreenSquare Accord.
We will cover:
- A refresher covering what mediation is and its processes
- An overview of how mediation can assist when the behaviour reported does not meet the definition of ASB
- The value of mediation in neighbour disputes
- How to use mediation to nip problems in the bud and the associated short term and long term benefits
- How to overcome common objections when it comes to implementing mediation
- A case study showing how to use mediation in practice
- A discussion around everyday challenges and their solutions
- Q&A to close
Book your place now to join us! Here’s the link to register – join the webinar.
We look forward to seeing you at the event.