Our customer Scrutiny Group reviewed our approach to anti-social behaviour (ASB) in autumn 2020. They are an independent group of customers who meet regularly and work with other residents and staff to review our services and performance to help us make improvements.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a problem that can blight the lives of individuals and communities so it’s important that the service we offer to combat this is fit for purpose and valued by our customers.
We noticed that customer satisfaction with our ASB service was low in 2019-20 so we wanted to find out why, and how we could improve.
How the group reviewed our ASB service
The Scrutiny Group:
- Looked at feedback from customers who had reported ASB and interviewed some of them by phone.
- Identified themes in the comments of customers who completed ASB satisfaction surveys.
- Compared our approach to ASB to other social landlords in the same area as part of a desktop study; and
- Reviewed an auditor’s report from 2019 to see if progress had been made on its recommendations.
The Scrutiny Group found that:
- The number of ASB complaints we receive is quite high compared to a group of similar-sized landlords, and customer satisfaction is in the lowest 25% compared to the same group.
- Customers don’t feel that we understand how ASB affects them and we do not carry out a risk assessment for complainants.
- Our ASB policy follows best practice in many areas such as offering starter tenancies and a pre-tenancy workshop to new tenants, training for new staff, adopting ‘secure by design’ principles on new developments and appointing a named contact for complainants.
- Our Board receive quarterly satisfaction results for the ASB service.
- Action plans are not used consistently, and satisfaction results are not analysed by the case manager.
- The ASB procedure does not follow a structured format like other policies so there is no ownership or review dates.
- We, and other partners in West Oxfordshire, do not publicise the Community Trigger (ASB Case Review) for cases of repeated ASB, unlike most other landlords and councils.
- Our customers find it easy to report ASB to us although few use the website to do so.
What happens next
Overall, the Scrutiny Group think a clearer focus on providing information, managing expectations and regular communication will address many of these issues raised during their review. They have made the following recommendations:
- The ASB policy should be improved through ongoing training for staff, publicising the service and the way staff communicate with complainants. Action plans should be used consistently.
- The ASB procedure should be updated to show ownership and review dates using the approved template. Timeframes should match those agreed in the individual action plan for each case.
- Satisfaction results should be analysed by case manager and any learning identified and shared through ongoing training.
- A vulnerability risk assessment is needed for all complainants.
- Complainants should receive better information, so they understand the process we use when dealing with ASB. This requires a more personal approach from case managers from start to finish and should include a courtesy call to follow up 3-6 months after the case is closed.
- We should publish the Community Trigger on the website and include it in the ASB Policy.
- The level of information about ASB on our website and in the tenancy starter pack should be improved.
- Better use of technology should be explored in tackling ASB.
- We should consider treating low level and high level ASB differently and making this clear in the policy and on the website (as per Peabody report).
- We should review all cases, feedback and satisfaction each quarter and produce a short summary report to identify learning opportunities.
We have agreed the recommendations and are currently working on an action plan to deliver the improvements we need to make. The Scrutiny Group will monitor our progress and report to Board each quarter.