Headlines: February 28th, 2008

Social landlords are to play a bigger part in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour on housing estates. The Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, is giving housing associations new guidance on improving involvement with Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships to assist landlords in dealing with problems such as drinking in public, youth gangs, truancy and drug taking.

Under the guidance the associations will be encouraged to share information about anti-social and criminal activity with other members of the partnerships and to share resources and expertise. “Social landlords shouldn’t just be concerned with bricks and mortar, they must also be involved in building better, safer communities,” Ms Blears said.

As well as publishing the new guidelines, the Department for Communities and Local Government is also highlighting examples of work already being undertaken by housing associations with local partnerships. They include ‘pill patrols’ to reduce drug misuse on the Church Manor estate in Lambeth; gang clampdowns in East Finchley; a consortium of landlords in Coventry, spanning areas so problems are not simply moved from one estate to another; estate surgeries on the World’s End Estate in Kensington and Chelsea; the Kent and Medway Social Landlords Anti-social Behaviour Group where associations work with the police on local initiatives and examples of information sharing.

Individual housing associations will be left to decide how to work with their local partnerships but Ms Blears said, “Our guidance will support social landlords to engage with other key agencies to help tackle anti-social behaviour wherever and whenever it occurs. It will help to deliver quicker, more effective actions, and in turn, increase tenants’ confidence in coming forward to report problems.”