What is it with Lewisham Council and MPSLewisham keeping people in the dark about their rights when it comes to ASB? They did it regarding their joint ‘ASB Minimum Standards’ and there has also been a complete lack of publicity about the Community Trigger.
The Community Trigger came into force on 20th October 2014 to ’empower victims and communities’, this by enabling victims of Anti-Social Behaviour to insist on a multi-agency case review if they had reported a minimum of three incidents in the past six months but the ASB was still continuing.
There has been concern about the way Councils have implemented and are adhereing to the Community Trigger and its aims, these are detailed in a Report by ASB Help, the link to which can be found at Community Trigger: Empowerment or Bureaucratic Exercise?
In October 2016 I raised three concerns, via Cllr Daby as she is the Cabinet Member for Community Safety –
That Lewisham Council has not published the Community Trigger statistics as law requires
Reply – “Lewisham Council has not received any applications to activate the community trigger since its commencement in October 2014. This will be confirmed on the council web pages in due course as I will ask the Council’s web team to add a line about no applications submitted on our Community Trigger page. I agree this should have been recorded, even as zero, last year and will be updated each October.”
- Although a sentence did then appear on the Council’s website, as at 16/02/18 the statistics for 2017 have not been published, the law states they must be published annually
The Lewisham Council website re Community Trigger does not give details of any other agencies via which ASB victims can activate the Community Trigger
The law states “consideration should be given to the fact that some victims may feel more comfortable contacting one agency than another” –
To summarise the Lewisham Council replies, they and their partners had agreed between themselves that they would “divert” all residents who wanted to activate the Community Trigger to one “gateway” which would be the Council’s website
this would “ensure that the applications were received by a regularly monitored inbox and were not lost. This would also help with ensuring a timely response to the application”
No “consideration” then, just what suits the Council and their partners – who it seems cannot be trusted to deal appropriately with correspondence tsk tsk – so much for “empowering victims”.
Given ASB is consistently a police ‘priority’ on most wards in Lewisham, the reason(s) why there were no requests from any Lewisham residents to activate the Community Trigger/case review
Ah well, Lewisham Council “works in close partnership with Police and Housing partners to address ASB and crime concerns, with effective mechanisms for escalation. This ensures that as far as possible, Lewisham residents should not need to activate the trigger as they are receiving a response within the boundaries set by the trigger threshold.”
So the reason for zero CT activations isn’t the complete lack of publicity about the right to activate it – no no not that at all – it’s that the Council and its partners are so good at dealing with ASB that…well, it’s dealt with, it stops…
most odd then that ASB has been consistently raised as a priority by residents on most wards, time and time again…
and what are these “effective mechanisms for escalation”? What could they be, escalated how, to whom? Not to a multi-agency case review obvs because that’s the Community Trigger and that had never been activated.
Still, as long as the Council and partners are satisfied with their response, that’s the test right? Actually no, the whole point of CT is whether those suffering/reporting ASB are satisfied with the response – when they are still suffering incidents despite reporting them they have the right to activate CT…
so I pointed out that “Victims might be “receiving a response within the boundaries set by the trigger threshold” but the issue as regards legislation giving the right to activate Community Trigger is whether the victim of ASB is satisfied the response is timely/effective.”
The reply was…how can I politely describe it…oh I can’t politely describe it…see it for yourself…
“The legislation sets out the minimum criteria for the threshold of when the trigger can be activated. Lewisham has adopted this, as most other boroughs have. If a resident/ complainant is dissatisfied that the response is not timely or effective then they have the opportunity to complain using the council’s service complaints procedure.
If someone complains 3 times in 6 months and do not get a response, then they have met threshold for the trigger. There is a distinction here between complaining about the service received, which would then be dealt with by the service complaints procedure and receiving no response from that service within the trigger threshold (i.e. if an individual has reported antisocial behaviour to the Council, police and/or a social landlord three times about separate incidents in the last six months and it is perceived that no action has been taken, or if five individuals in the local community have reported similar incidents of antisocial behaviour separately and it is perceived that no action has been taken.)”
Erm…right…my point though…?
I had raised the issue of complete lack of publicity re the right to CT, the issue I believe the Council is completely avoiding is that the purpose of the CT is NOT that Councils, and their partners, can just think/say they are effectively dealing with reports of ASB but whether those suffering/reporting ASB are satisfied with what the Council, and partners, have done…and if not they can activate CT…
but to fulfil that people need to know about their right to activate the CT…
why doesn’t the Council give the Community Trigger widespread publicity, and why isn’t it widely publicised by Lewisham police, and the other relevant agencies?
According to the Council that was happening, in response to my further pressing about lack of publicity for CT Cllr Daby stated “Housing providers in the borough also advertise the trigger on the website, as do Metropolitan police.”
So I searched the Metropolitan Police and housing providers’ websites –
I could not find Community Trigger on the Metropolitan Police website (I searched for “community trigger” and “trigger” and also looked on their two anti-social behaviour pages).
Using the same searches as for MPS I could not find Community Trigger on these example housing providers’ websites – Phoenix Housing, L&Q, Hyde, Lewisham Homes, Regenter, Amicus Horizon.
Affinity Sutton made the barest mention of it in an FAQ-style list.
Family Mosaic stated in an ASB policy PDF document “People can activate a Community Trigger by contacting their Local Authority”.
The vast majority who searched the MPS and/or their housing provider websites for info re ASB would clearly be none the wiser about their right to activate CT.
When I replied to Cllr Daby explaining the above and that it was not correct that housing providers and the Met police advertise Community Trigger on their websites she replied “sorry but I don’t think I can add to this any further”.
But…but you said they adverti…but they don’t…so…
- I checked the Met Police website again today, 16/02/18, using the same searches but still could not find any mention of the Community Trigger.
As stated in the ASB Help Report (my emphasis) –
“The statutory guidance is clear:
Don’t tell anyone though, it’s a secret.