Sharon Nandoo is group anti-social behaviour manager for Southern Housing Group and the former chair of the London Housing ASB Group. She is responsible for advising and supporting front line staff dealing with ASB cases and for developing policy, procedure and strategy. Sharon has worked in housing since 2003. She was previously a lawyer for 16 years.
Sharon Nandoo has not added any comments yet.
Sharon Nandoo has not added any discussions yet.
Posted in: HA, court, ASB
The best evidence is always first hand from those who experience the ASB. If the victims/witnesses have a genuine fear of reprisals they do not have to attend court. Evidence can be given through the Housing Officer and other professional witnesses such as the police and environmental health officers where they have been involved in the case.
As the evidence is not first hand and cannot be tested through cross examination of the victims/witnesses, it will be up to the judge to decide how much weight to attach to the evidence. Judges are more aware of the issues and concerns involved where the victim and perpetrator are neighbours and do make possession orders if there is evidence of ASB and an order is deemed necessary to prevent further ASB, even if the victims do not attend court.
Posted in: Witness Statements in Court Proceedings
Your legal team will have considered which witness will be of greatest evidential value. This should be the primary consideration if you are to present your best possible case.The best evidence is likely to be provided by the person who saw/witnessed/experienced the issues first hand, which presumably is the Housing Officer who provided the first witness statement. If he/she does not attend court, and you do not have first hand knowledge of the issues, your opponent will not have the opportunity to cross examine the Housing Officer under oath and the judge will be entitled to attach less weight to the evidence. This could compromise your case. Litigation is not cheap and I suspect the loss of earnings and travel expenses of the witness will be a drop in the ocean compared with your own legal costs, and the costs of your opponent which you could have to pay if unsuccessful. The advice of your legal team to subpoena this witness appears to be appropriate and in the best interest of your case.
Nearer to the trial date your legal rep should be able to give your witness an indication of exactly which day/s he/she will be required to attend court which should help minimise the costs.
Posted in: Twitter and the riots
Love it or hate it, social media is a massive industry which should not be ignored. Whilst it is an effective tool for keeping people informed, exchanging views and information, it can also be used in a negative way as we have seen recently.
Although, some social landlords use social media for the purposes I have described, I am not aware of any having used it in the way you suggest. I would be interested to hear if any social landlord has used it in this way. I do not think it is the role of social landlords to use social network sites to gather 'intelligence', nor do I think they can reasonably be expected to do so.
Even the police with their specialist skills in gathering and analysing intelligence were unable to anticipate what happened. No doubt the police will be monitoring social network sites much more closely in future for intelligence gathering and crime prevention. In my view, such activity should be left to the experts.
Posted in: ASB 2011
This does raise some interesting points. What is the role of a social landlord ? Which agency is responsible for dealing with ASB/crime? Being a social landlord is about more than bricks and mortar. As individuals we all want to live in a home where we feel happy, safe and secure. If social landlords do not take steps to try to prevent ASB or to stop it when it occurs, what would happen to the homes and communities in which our residents live ?
Agencies should be working together to resolve ASB when it occurs. ASB does cover a wide spectrum of behaviour from neighbour disputes to serious criminal activity. The most common cause of complaint for most social landlords is that of noise, which the police would not routinely be involved in. If the behaviour was serious/a criminal offence then the fact that it has taken place on social housing property does not make it any less of a police issue than if it had taken place in the local shopping centre. I wish I could say that the response you refer to is rare, but unfortunately it is one that residents and staff face repeatedly. A more appropriate response would've been for the police and social landlord to work together, share information on the incidents that had been reported and, having investigated, decided what action would be proportionate and which agency is best placed to take that action, depending on the type and severity of the conduct in question.
The government is currently reviewing the tools available to agencies to deal with ASB. The consultation is open to the public and can be accessed on the Home Office website. Anyone who has any views should not miss the opportunity to have their say
If the landlord has strong evidence to suggest that the allegations were made maliciously, as opposed to them not being able to substantiate the allegations, then yes they should take some. That action does have to be justified and proportionate. A warning letter or acceptable behaviour agreement/contract might be appropriate depending on the circumstances.
Here is an example of where this has been done. Whilst investigating a stage 2 complaint that the landlord had failed to deal with allegations of ASB appropriately, the complainant put forward the names of several neighbours who could apparently verify the incidents of ASB by another neighbour.
When the neighbours were interviewed they all stated separately that they had previously been bullied by the complainant to make false allegations against the alleged perpetrator. Furthermore they disclosed that the complainant was spreading malicious rumours on the Estate about the alleged perpetrator. The complainant was given a final written warning.
You do not say what the landlord reported the vehicle for. Generally speaking there is nothing to prevent a landlord (or anyone else)reporting a vehicle to the relevant authorities if they believe a law has been breached.