Anti-Social Behaviour Policy

Content

 

Introduction

All Local Authorities and social landlords in England and Wales are required to prepare and publish policies and procedures in relation to anti-social behaviour (S12, Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003).

The duty is threefold:

  • To publish a policy statement
  • To publish a statement of procedure and
  • To publish a summary of the policy and procedure 

This document fulfils the legal requirements and is designed to give a clear statement of our approach to anti-social behaviour.

Bassetlaw District Council is committed to ensuring that we not only comply with this duty but that our neighbourhoods are safe and welcoming places to live. Incidents relating to Anti-Social Behaviour need to be addressed in a firm but fair manner. Residents are entitled to live in a quiet and peaceful environment and where appropriate the Council will endeavour to act quickly and efficiently to tackle incidents of ASB.

This policy will apply to all Bassetlaw District Council residents, their families and any other occupants and visitors. The same principles apply to members of staff and other persons working on behalf of the council, regardless of housing tenure.

We will not tolerate incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB), we will intervene appropriately where we can, and enforce matters relating to ASB when required, for those residents in council properties this includes tenancy conditions. This approach will be made clear to all tenants, prospective tenants and residents of the district.

In response to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, 2014 Bassetlaw District Council has fully reviewed its ASB Policy & Procedures.

 

Scope and Purpose of this Policy Document 

This document is one of two that tells you about Bassetlaw District Councils anti-social behaviour (ASB) responsibilities and what we do to tackle ASB.

This is the policy statement. It tells you what we mean by “anti-social behaviour” and sets out our objectives for the Council’s ASB services.

It says what we want our services to achieve for people experiencing ASB, and details the kind of service level and quality we aim to provide. It also explains the broad approach we have agreed to adopt in order to support and advance our objectives.

This policy does not say how we will deal with ASB on a day to day basis. This is explained in our operational procedure documents, which should be read in conjunction with this policy.

 

The Council's ASB Responsibilities

Bassetlaw District Council has a wide range of responsibilities to tackle ASB. These arise from 3 distinct roles, as follows:

Council Housing Stock

As a landlord, the council has a duty to respond to ASB affecting council properties. The duties and powers are different from, and usually act in addition to, the duties and powers used to deal with the wider community. In this policy (and the operational procedure) we will make it clear when a policy or a power applies only to a Council Tenancy.

Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Safety Partnership

Under the Crime & Disorder Act, 1998, Bassetlaw District Council must work with the Police and other agencies to reduce crime and disorder in the locality. In this role we play a key part in dealing with anti-social behaviour of all kinds and also undertake project work, preventative and intervention activities.

Our environmental protection role 

Bassetlaw District Council has a range of responsibilities to deal with ‘environmental’ ASB like noise, graffiti, litter, dumped rubbish and abandoned cars. These responsibilities arise from a number of acts and local byelaws, but in particular from the Environmental Protection Act, 1990.

The above are intrinsically linked and robust working arrangements have been developed between the teams that deliver the various services. However, the policies described in this document refer mainly to our role as a Landlord and the Community Safety Partnership so tend to say more about the work of the Council’s Community Safety Team and Housing Services Team.

Environmental ASB is tackled by a number of different teams within the Council. This policy sets out the broad approach, however the specific procedures followed may depend on the circumstances and severity of the anti-social behaviour, or the legislation being used to remedy the behaviour.

What is anti-social behaviour?

It is known there is no commonly agreed definition of what is meant by the term anti-social behaviour. For the purpose of the policy, the definition of anti-social behaviour is consistent with that used in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act, 2014.

Section 2(1) of the Act defines the meaning of anti-social behaviour as:

  • Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person;
  • Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that persons occupation of residential premises, or
  • Conduct capable of causing housing related nuisance or annoyance to any person

The term anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be applied to a wide range of behaviours, impacting on a persons or community’s quality of life.

However let us start with what is not ASB and will not be investigated by officers of the District Council and Community Safety Team:

  • Children playing in the street or in communal areas
  • Young people gathering socially unless they are being intimidating
  • Being unable to park outside your own home
  • DIY and car repairs unless they are taking place at night 
  • Civil disputes between neighbours e.g. shared driveways 
  • One off complaints against noise e.g. parties 

Examples of ASB

Anti-Social Behaviour may include but is not limited to the following:

Noise:

  • Loud televisions and music
  • Persistent, unnecessary or excessive noise
  • Shouting or yelling
  • Persistent alarms
  • Excessively loud or frequent parties
  • Dogs persistently barking

Intimidation, harassment and violence:

  • Verbal or written abuse
  • Threats of violence
  • Assault
  • Damage to property
  • Keeping or failing to control an aggressive dog
  • Using or allowing the premises to be used for illegal activity such as prostitution, handling or storing drugs and handling or storing stolen goods

Hate Crime or Incidents directed at a person’s:

  • Race or nationality
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability; or
  • Faith

Environmental ASB:

  • Dumping rubbish or littering
  • Vandalism
  • Dog fouling
  • Graffiti
  • Fly posting
  • Abandoned vehicles 

The Councils housing stock, include conditions relating to ASB and are defined using the same ASB definition criteria and the following additional criteria:

  • Failure by tenants to prevent children or visitors from behaving anti-socially;
  • Failure by tenants to observe any ASB-related tenancy condition;
  • Any act(whether or not committed by a tenant or leaseholder) which directly or indirectly adversely affects the housing management function;
  • Misuse of communal areas (including parking areas); and
  • Use of motor vehicles in an anti-social manner by tenants and visitors.

 

The Council's Objectives

The Council’s ASB policy is based on the following 5 objectives.

No one should have to put up with ASB.

Our policy is to: 

  • Make people aware of what anti-social behaviour is;
  • Publicise and promote our various services to combat ASB;
  • Encourage people to report ASB and make it possible for them to this using a range of reporting methods;
  • Seek to respond to each reported case of ASB as quickly as possible and
  • Support victims of ASB throughout the case to the extent the seriousness of the case requires.

Reports of ASB will be treated seriously and dealt with professionally.

  • Assess (and periodically reassess) the seriousness of ASB reported to us, and take action according to our target times;
  • Treat all reports as confidential, sharing information only with other organisations that can help with the problem (for example the police) and observing data protection laws and information sharing agreements;
  • Ensure that criminal ASB reported to the Council is quickly passed on to the Police.
  • Electronically register each case we take on.
  • Fully investigate the complaint, which may involve interviewing any alleged perpetrator and may involve interviewing third party witnesses;
  • Quickly and appropriately refer cases between the different departments of the Council and to other agencies as necessary;
  • Continue to treat any case referred by the ASB team to another council department or external agency as an open case until, in the opinion of the Community Safety Coordinator, the case can be closed;
  • Formally close all cases in writing
  • Respond promptly to all complaints about the service and advise anyone not satisfied with the way their case was handled how to make a formal complaint; and
  • Explain our reasons should we choose to take no action, and advise on self-help or other alternative courses of action whenever it is possible and appropriate to do so.

ASB will be dealt with firmly, fairly and proportionately

Our policy is to:

  • Take any necessary early action to protect people and property;
  • Investigate the circumstances and seek to understand all the facts of the matter reported to us;
  • Seek always to resolve cases at the lowest appropriate level of intervention taking formal action when the ASB is serious or persistent or when it threatens people’s safety or health;
  • Use any of the tools and powers available to us under the law and council policy, according to our best professional judgement;
  • Take into account (adjust our approach as necessary) when a victim or perpetrator is a vulnerable person;
  • Not intervene in low level disputes between households concerning minor lifestyle differences e.g. noise made by children playing in their home, garden or communal areas, or parking disputes involving non-allocated spaces;
  • With consent of the people involved, we may refer suitable low-level cases to a meditation service or give consideration to a Good Neighbour Agreement;

We will work with partners in order to deliver an effective, value for money ASB services across the community.

Our policy is to:

  • Play a full and active part as a key member of the Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Safety Partnership;
  • Participate in relevant strategic or preventative initiatives
  • Lead and participate in permanent or ad-hoc multi-agency working groups dealing with specific ASB issues
  • Work with the HOUSING SERVICES, housing associations, private landlords, letting agents and businesses providing professional advice and support as required so that these organisations can act confidently to prevent or tackle ASB.

We will provide a high quality service which meets people’s identified needs.

Our Policy is to:

  • Ensure that staff dealing with ASB are appropriately trained;
  • Ensure that staff dealing with ASB understand a follow agreed policies and procedures;
  • The policy will be reviewed on a regular basis reflecting new legislation and lessons learnt;
  • Formally seek the views of service users and partner organisations when the documents are reviewed;
  • Seek to ensure that all our activities are prioritised and undertaken with regard to clear evidence of need; sound consideration of how effective the work undertaken is likely to be, and a clear understanding of the outcomes sought.

 

Examples of tools we can use to tackle ASB

Part 1 Injunction is a civil power, which can be applied for by a range of agencies to deal with anti-social individuals. Agencies that can apply for Part 1 include district councils, housing providers and Police. Applications must be made to a youth court for those aged under 18 and to the county court or High Court in all other cases. The Part 1 injunction can prohibit the offender from doing proscribed things (prohibitions) and require them to do certain things (requirements). The requirements should aim to tackle the underlying causes of the anti-social behaviour and could include such things as attending an anger management course, participating in substance misuse awareness sessions, or attending a job readiness course.

Breach of a Part 1 injunction, where the court has attached a power of arrest a constable may arrest the offender without warrant if he or she has reasonable cause to suspect that the offender is in breach of the provision.

Community Protection Warning (CPW) & Community Protection Notice (CPN). The CPW and CPN are intended to deal with particular, on-going problems, or nuisances that negatively affect the community’s quality of life by targeting those responsible. CPWs are the initial first response to alleviate the issue without a need for further escalation. If the matter is not resolved, a CPN can then be served. CPW and CPN’s can be used to tackle a wide range of problem behaviours including (but not limited to) graffiti, rubbish and noise. CPW and CPN’s can be served on any person over the age of 16 or a body, including a business. Failure to comply with the requirements of a CPN, the offender may be offered the opportunity to discharge their liability to conviction, when a Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued using powers contained within the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, it is the Policy of this Authority that the amount shall be set at the maximum amount specified, which is currently £100.

Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). The PSPO is intended to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life, by imposing conditions on the use of the area which apply to everyone. This could include, but is not restricted to, placing restrictions on the use of parks, alleyways, or communal areas to prevent problems with misuse of alcohol, dogs or noise.

Closure Power. The closure power can be used by the District Council and the police to close premises that are causing nuisance or disorder. The power comes in two stages. The closure notice can be used out of court to provide short term relief up to a maximum of 48 hours. The notice can then be extended upon application for a closure order to the magistrates’ court for a period of up to three months. At any time before the expiry of the closure order, an application may be made to the court for an extension (or further extension) of the order up to a total of six months.

Recovery of Possession of Dwelling-Houses. The purpose of the new absolute ground for possession is to speed up the possession process in cases where anti-social behaviour or criminality has already been proven in another court. Landlords will no longer have to prove that it is reasonable to grant possession but, instead, courts must grant possession if the landlord followed the correct procedure and at least one of the specified conditions is met. See Appendix 2

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC’s). ABC’s are voluntary written agreements between persons who have been involved with ASB and one or more agencies including the District Council to prevent such behaviour.

Good Neighbour Agreements. A formal written agreement negotiated between neighbours in cases of neighbour disputes that require a different approach, particularly with owner occupiers, to change behaviours over time.

Tenancy Agreement. Under the terms and conditions of the council tenancy agreement, tenants are responsible for the behaviour of everyone (including children) living in or visiting their home or neighbourhood.

Other relevant legislation, as deemed appropriate to the specific type of ASB.

 

Legal Framework and Supporting Legislation

As a minimum our approach to ASB is delivered in line with the legal requirements affecting the council including:

Anti-Social Behaviour, Policing & Crime, Act, 2014

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Act, 2003
  • Housing Act, 1996
  • Data Protection Act 1998 and 2003
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended)
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Police Reform Act 2002
  • Police & Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)
  • Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007)
  • Criminal Justice and Police Act, 2001
  • The Noise Act 1996 as amended by ASB Act 2003 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environments Act 2005
  • Children’s Act 2004
  • Harassment Act 1997
  • Homelessness Act 2002
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Equalities Act 2010

 

Witness Support

We recognise that witnesses are crucial to tackling anti-social behaviour; whether they are victims of anti-social behaviour or residents who have seen anti-social behaviour directed against someone else or in the wider neighbourhood.

We understand the needs of witnesses will differ from person to person and we will ensure that the support we provide is tailored to meet each individual’s needs.

We are committed to providing a high level of service to both witnesses and victims of ASB. The Council will consider using professional witnesses and hearsay evidence.

The council recognises that racial and homophobic harassment is a serious offence and will work to remove racist, sexual and homophobic graffiti and carry out emergency repairs as a matter of urgency after an incident is reported involving Council housing stock.

Victims of ASB will be kept updated with the action being taken.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act, 2014 includes new measures designed to put the victim and communities first and for them to have a voice in how ASB is dealt with.

ASB case reviews give victims and communities the right to request a review of their case and bring agencies together to take a joined up problem solving approach to find a solution. The council as a statutory authority has a duty to participate in case reviews.

Across Nottinghamshire a consistent approach has been developed to support all agencies, in providing victims of ASB with a clear and effective response regardless of where they live in the County.

Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Safety Partnership – Community Trigger Framework can be found at Appendix 1.

 

Working with Perpetrators

We acknowledge that some perpetrators of ASB may themselves be vulnerable or have been victims of ASB in the past. We will work with vulnerable people and tenants to ensure that they have access to appropriate support, whether this is through our own services or through our partners.

Where appropriate we will work with perpetrators to understand the reasons behind their behaviour and give them an opportunity to change.

 

Information Sharing

The Council will work within the provisions of the Data Protection Act which provides a background for the sharing of information and the need for confidentiality and privacy.

Where appropriate the council will share information with the Police and vice versa under joint information sharing protocols so that agencies can carry out their functions and duties in accordance with the Crime & Disorder Act, 1998.

The council will also work to ensure that residents are encouraged and are able to report incidents confident in the knowledge that they will be recorded and investigated where appropriate.

 

Communications

The council will endeavour where possible to release appropriate details of successful cases to local people via various methods including the local media. This approach is to deter further behaviour from the perpetrator and others, to enable the community to effectively police the conditions, to empower the community to tackle anti-social behaviour and to provide accountability from the local authority in tackling anti-social behaviour.

 

Discretion

This policy commits us to dealing with ASB in Bassetlaw in a way that will always be fair and, in all important respects, consistent across cases of a similar kind. However, our services are constantly evolving and each ASB case we deal with is likely to be unique in some or other aspect. This means that we may occasionally use our discretion to vary our approach from that described in this document. We may do this in any individual case, following appropriate consultation, or we may make any change of approach apply in all subsequent cases, in which case we will formally amend our policy and procedure.

 

Review

The document will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis or if new legislation is introduced.

 

Putting Victims First - Community Trigger Framework

September 2014 

Contacts

Gerald Connor - Community Safety Manager, Bassetlaw District Council (

www.bassetlaw.gov.uk)

Lisa Lancaster - Community Safety Manager, Newark and Sherwood District Council 

(www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk)

 

Introduction

What is a Community Trigger?

The Community Trigger (CT) is introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. It gives victims and communities the right to request a review of their anti-social behaviour complaints and brings agencies together to take a joined up, problem solving approach to find a solution.  If a CT submission meets the defined threshold, a case review will be undertaken by the local Community Safety Partnership (CSP). Agencies will share information, review what action has been taken and decide whether additional actions are possible.

Who can use the Community Trigger?

  • A victim of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) or another person acting on behalf of the victim such as a carer or family member, MP or councillor or professional person.
  • The victim could be an individual, a business or a community group.

Purpose:

  • To provide a high level multi-agency case review panel for ASB cases (once the threshold is met).
  • Provide victims and witnesses of ASB with a comprehensive action plan for how the ASB will be addressed.

What is not suitable for the Community Trigger?

  • If someone has reported ASB and been given a timescale for response, which has not expired. They will be advised to contact the agency they are working with to discuss what is happening.
  • If someone has reported ASB and received a service but they are unhappy with the conduct of a particular agency. They will be advised to submit a complaint under the agency’s complaints procedures.

What will happen?

  • If the Community Trigger threshold is met a referral will be made to Locality LMAPS meeting (Local Multi Agency Problem Solving) ensuring engagement by those agencies to whom the ASB reports have been made.
  • The LMAPS will review the case and consider how the problem could be resolved.
  • A response will be sent to the victim detailing what will happen and providing an action plan explaining how the LMAPS will attempt to resolve the ASB.
  • If a CT involves ASB that is particularly complex and challenging to address, CSPs may consider including a peer review by a neighbouring CSP as part of the process.
  • The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will provide a route for victims to query the decision on whether the threshold was met or the way a CT review was carried out, if they remain unhappy following the Community Safety Partnership’s response

The process for Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood:

  • Single point of contact (SPOC) in each district/borough for all submissions. To be agreed by each CSP, but likely to be the District Council Community Safety Manager or ASB Officer.
  • Respond to victim confirming receipt of the Community Trigger (CT) within 3 working days and outline the timescales for a full response, which will not exceed 25 working days from receipt of the CT.
  • Initial assessment of a Community Trigger (CT) submission and risk assessment of victim to establish vulnerability, to be undertaken by District Council Community Safety Manager, Neighbourhood Inspector and relevant Social Landlord (if appropriate).
  • Decision to accept or reject a Community Trigger fed back to the victim by SPOC, with a clear explanation of the reason for the decision.
  • LMAPS reviews the CT and agrees an action plan to address the outstanding ASB issue, which is then shared with the victim via SPOC.
  • Consider a peer review of the CT response by a neighbouring CSP.
  • Governance of the Community Trigger process will sit with the local Community Safety Partnership or other local agreed arrangement.
  • The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will provide a route for victims to query the decision on whether the threshold was met or the way a CT review was carried out, if they remain unhappy following the Community Safety Partnership’s response.

Please note: when initial assessment of a CT takes place, you are asked to consider the harm that is being caused to the victim/s and whether they may be vulnerable. There could be occasions when a CT does not meet the threshold, but due to the nature of the ASB and the potential for harm to be caused, dealing with the issue under the CT is still the most appropriate response.

 

Threshold for Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood

  • A victim has reported three times in the last six months separate, but related, anti-social incidents to agencies and the problem persists, or 
  • A victim is aware that other people in the local community have reported separate, but related, anti-social incidents to agencies in the last six months and the problem persists.

The trigger will be started if five or more individuals have made separate, but related reports over a six month period.

Please note: a qualifying complaint of ASB is if the complaint is made within the period of one month beginning with the date on which the behaviour is alleged to have occurred.

 A Community Trigger should not be submitted where:

  • The agency/agencies involved have given a time-frame for actions to be completed and this has not yet expired.
  • The agency/agencies involved have taken action and the victim is unhappy with the conduct of a particular agency. This should be directed back to senior officers within the relevant agency dealing with the issue and dealt with through their usual complaints procedure.

Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Trigger Request Form

What is a Community Trigger?

The Community Trigger (CT) is introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act, 2014. It gives victims and communities the right to request a review of their anti-social behaviour complaints and brings agencies together to take a joined up, problem solving approach to find a solution. If a CT submission meets the defined threshold, a case review will be undertaken by the local Community Safety Partnership (CSP). Agencies will share information, review what action has been taken and decide whether additional actions are possible. 

You can submit a Community Trigger request if:

  • You have reported three times in the last six months separate, but related, anti-social incidents to agencies and the problem persists, or
  • You are aware that other people in the local community have reported separate, but related, anti-social incidents to agencies in the last six months and the problem persists.

The trigger will be started if five or more individuals have made separate, but related reports over a six month period.

Please note: a qualifying complaint of ASB is if the complaint is made within the period of one month beginning with the date on which the behaviour is alleged to have occurred.

You cannot submit a Community Trigger request if:

  • The agency/agencies involved have given you a time-frame for actions to be completed and this has not yet expired.
  • The agency/agencies involved have taken action but you are unhappy with the conduct of a particular agency. This should be directed back to senior officers within the relevant agency dealing with the issue and dealt with through their usual complaints procedure.

 

What is Anti-Social Behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder that make many people’s lives a misery – from litter and vandalism, to public drunkenness or aggressive dogs, to noisy or abusive neighbours. Such a wide range of behaviours means that responsibility for dealing with anti-social behaviour is shared between a number of agencies, particularly the police, councils and social landlords.

 

Who will deal with my Community Trigger submission?

Your Community Trigger submission will be dealt with by your local Community Safety Partnership which is made up of a number of agencies including:

  • District or Borough Council
  • Nottinghamshire Police
  • Other agencies or organisations determined locally, for example, the local social housing provider.

When will I get a response?

We will confirm receipt of your Community Trigger request within 3 working days of your submission.

Appeal Process

Should the ASB victim(s) be not content with the outcome of a case review, a community trigger may only be escalated to the Commissioner’s office where one of the following measures is satisfied:

  • The community trigger review has failed to consider a relevant process, policy or protocol;
  • The community trigger review has failed to consider relevant factual information.

The role of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will be to consider due process and ensure that the Community Safety Partnership has properly and effectively undertaken a review. In considering a community trigger escalation the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner can either:

  • Uphold the appeal and refer the case back to the Community Safety Partnership asking them to consider a particular process, policy or protocol not previously considered;

  • Determine that the Community Safety Partnership has reviewed the case, considering all relevant policies, process and protocols satisfactory in line with its Community Trigger Procedure.

A community trigger review cannot be escalated where a complainant is dissatisfied that a particular agency has not utilised a particular enforcement tool and where it has been established through the review that appropriate consideration has been given to the use of that tool but, having consideration of the facts and relevant protocols, that agency has determined that it would not be appropriate to utilise the enforcement tool.

The appeal process will essentially be a desk top review and will not involve hearings or meetings with victims although the Commissioner may consider meeting with victims in exceptional circumstances. The Commissioner’s appeal process will be subject to periodic review to ensure that victims interests are adequately considered. The current Appeal Process can be found on his web site http://www.nottinghamshire.pcc.police.uk/Get-in-touch/Community-Trigger-Appeal.aspx

 

Objectives

The Part 5 of Anti-Social Behaviour Crime & Policing Act 2014 (“the Act”) introduced the absolute ground which is available to social and private landlords. This ground is intended to significantly reduce the length of the possession process for the most serious Anti-Social Behaviour (“ASB”) in order to provide a swift relief for victims and witnesses of ASB. 

Procedure

As a landlord, Bassetlaw District Council (“the Council”) will be able to choose to use the absolute ground, in addition to or instead of the existing discretionary ground for ASB, where any of the following five conditions are met:

  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for a serious offence;
  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been found by a court to have breached an injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour;
  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for breaching a criminal behaviour order;
  • The tenant’s property has been closed for more than 48 hours under a closure order for anti-social behaviour; or
  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for breaching a noise abatement notice or order (convictions in practice are exceptional and are likely to relate to very serious noise issues).

The Council will only use the absolute ground in extreme circumstances and where the above conditions are met. The need to use this ground will be assessed on a case by case basis and the final decision to proceed with a legal notice will be made by a Manager in the Housing Services Management Team.

  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for a serious offence;
  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been found by a court to have breached an injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour;

  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for breaching a criminal behaviour order;

  • The tenant’s property has been closed for more than 48 hours under a closure order for anti-social behaviour; or

  • The tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for breaching a noise abatement notice or order (convictions in practice are exceptional and are likely to relate to very serious noise issues).

The Council will only use the absolute ground in extreme circumstances and where the above conditions are met. The need to use this ground will be assessed on a case by case basis and the final decision to proceed with a legal notice will be made by a Manager in the Housing Services Management Team.

If the Officer at Bassetlaw District Council with conduct of the case feels it is appropriate to use the absolute ground, where one of the above conditions has been satisfied, the Officer they will seek authority from the Officer at Bassetlaw District Council with the Delegated Power to authorise use of the absolute grounds of possession.

Once the Officer from Bassetlaw District Council has authorised use of the absolute grounds of possession in line with Bassetlaw District Council Officer delegated powers the Officer will present the file to a Senior Manager to conduct a review. If the Senior Manager agrees it is appropriate they will complete and sign the Proportionality Assessment form (Appendix 1) indicating they have sanctioned the use of the absolute grounds and their reason for this (e.g. why it is appropriate). The Senior Manager sanctioning the use of the absolute ground for possession will not have had direct involvement with investigating the case to ensure they remain impartial.

The Act places a restriction upon the service of an Absolute Ground for Possession Notice in relation to the time that has elapsed from the date of any conviction, finding or closure order being relied upon in the possession case as follows:

  • 12 months beginning with the day of conviction or determination of any appeal against conviction
  • 12 months beginning with the date of the finding of breach of injunction being made or the determination of any appeal against breach
  • 3 months beginning on the day which the closure order was made or determination of any appeal against conviction

The Senior Manager will ensure the date conviction; finding or closure order is within the relevant time before authorising the use of the absolute ground of possession.

The Senior Manager may take advice from Bassetlaw District Council's Legal Services Team prior to making their decision.

Once use of the absolute ground has been sanctioned the Officer with conduct of the case will proceed to serve a Absolute Ground for Possession Notice in accordance with Section 83ZA Housing Act 1985 (Appendix 2) and Certificate of Services (Appendix 2A). The notice shall be served with a covering letter (Appendix 3).

Once notice has been served the tenant(s) have the right to request a review.

Once the Absolute Ground for Possession Notice is served the tenant has the right to an appeal by review. The statutory procedure for review is contained in the new Section 85ZA Housing Act 1985 and states:

  • Such a request for review must be made in writing before the end of the period of 7 days beginning with the day on which the notice under Section 83ZA is served.
  • On a request being duly made, the landlord must review its decision to serve the Absolute Ground for Possession Notice.
  • The landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the decision on the review.
  • If the decision is to confirm the original decision to serve the Absolute Ground for Possession Notice, the landlord must also notify the tenant of the reasons for the decision.
  • The review must be carried out, and the tenant notified, before the day specified in the notice as the day after which proceedings for the possession of the dwelling-house may be begun.

All Reviews (both oral and written) will be carried out by a single member of Corporate Management team. Who will ensure this person is of greater seniority than the Senior Manager who made the original decision to serve the Absolute Ground for Possession Notice. The person will not have been involved in the decision to seek possession under the absolute grounds

Bassetlaw District Council will comply with The Absolute Ground for Possession for Anti-social Behaviour (Review Procedure) (England) Regulations 2014 (“the Regulations”) when conducting reviews.

A tenant(s) application for review of the decision to serve an Absolute Ground for Possession Notice must include the following information to be held as a valid request in compliance with the regulations:

  • the applicant’s name and address;
  • a description of the original decision in respect of which the review is sought including the date on which the decision was made;
  • a statement of the grounds on which the review is sought;
  • a statement to the effect that the applicant does, or does not, require the review to be conducted by way of an oral hearing;
  • a statement to the effect that the applicant does, or does not, agree to receive communications relating to the review by email, and if the former, the email address to which such communications should be sent.

A form will be included with the Absolute Ground for Possession Notice to enable the applicant to provide the required information (Appendix 4).

Review Without a Hearing

Where a review is requested but the applicant does not request an oral review, Housing Services will send a written notice of review without hearing to the applicant stating that they may make written representations in support of the appeal before a time specified in the notice.

The written notice of review without hearing will state the date by which the tenant must make written representations. This date will not be earlier than five days after the day on which the written notice of review without hearing is received by the tenant

In making a decision on review the member of Corporate Management team conducting the review will take into account any representations received.

Review with an Oral Hearing

Where a request for review includes a statement to the effect that the applicant wishes the review to be conducted by way of an oral hearing, the review will be conducted as follows:

  • Housing services will send a written notice of oral hearing to the applicant stating the day, and the time and place at which it is proposed that the oral hearing is to take place.
  • The day referred to in the notice of oral hearing will not be earlier than five days after the day on which the notice of oral hearing of hearing is received by the applicant.
  • The day referred to in the notice of oral hearing will not be earlier than five days after the day on which the notice of oral hearing of hearing is received by the applicant.
  • If at any time before the day on which the hearing is due to take place the applicant so requests further time Bassetlaw District Council may postpone the hearing to a later date.
  • If at any time before the day on which the hearing is due to take place the applicant so requests further time Bassetlaw District Council may postpone the hearing to a later date.

The oral hearing will be conducted with the minimum amount of formality and in accordance with any directions given by the member of Corporate Management team conducting it. A Solicitor may be in attendance at the hearing to provide the member of Corporate Management team with legal advice prior to them making their decision.

At the hearing the applicant may:

  • make oral or written representations
  • be accompanied or represented by another person appointed by the applicant for that purpose (whether that person is professionally qualified or not);
  • be accompanied or represented by another person appointed by the applicant for that purpose (whether that person is professionally qualified or not);
  • call persons to give evidence on any matter relevant to the decision to be made on the review; and
  • put questions to any person who gives evidence at the hearing.

A person appointed as a representative of the applicant or the senior manager who made the original decision to serve the Absolute Ground for Possession Notice has the same rights as the applicant or the person whom made the original decision

If the applicant fails to attend the hearing, the member of Corporate Management team conducting the hearing shall have regard to all the circumstances (including any explanation offered for the absence) proceed with the hearing or give such directions to adjourn the hearing

The hearing may be adjourned by the person conducting it (on the application of the applicant or otherwise.

Where the hearing is adjourned for more than one day, the member of Corporate Management team conducting the hearing shall specify a date on which the hearing is to be resumed by sending a notice of adjournment of oral hearing to the applicant and any other person whose attendance is required at the resumed hearing.

 


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 17, 2020