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GOVERNMENT LAYS DOWN HOUSING RESPECT AGENDA

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The importance of strong housing management in tackling anti-social behaviour and creating a community culture of r...
The importance of strong housing management in tackling anti-social behaviour and creating a community culture of respect is at the centre of a new government standard aimed at council and housing association landlords.

The Respect Standard for Housing Management, launched today, outlines the core components essential to delivering an effective response to anti-social behaviour and building stronger communities, such as accountability, leadership, giving greater resident empowerment, and supporting community efforts at tackling anti-social behaviour.

Housing minister Baroness Andrews said the new standard draws on best practice already generated by social landlords and their partners during the last few years.

'A culture of respect is central to many of the things we seek to achieve in creating better places where people can thrive. The standard creates a clear opportunity for landlords, tenants and the community to work together to ensure this can be attained. Those landlords who have already acted as trailblazers have set a high standard for others to aim for and in order to ensure that every community is free from antisocial behaviour and all its ill-effects, all landlords can play a key role.'

The government's co-ordinator for respect, Louise Casey, stressed that it was important for landlords to sign up to the new standard.

'Strong housing management where landlords take swift action to tackle anti-social behaviour can make a real difference to tenants and the wider community. Tenants should expect their landlords to protect them from unacceptable behaviour. Signing up to this new standard demonstrates a commitment to this. It sends a clear signal that they will work to uphold certain standards of behaviour, to the benefit of all.

The chief executive of the Housing Corporation, Jon Rouse, said the standard was an important facet of the work of housing associations.

'Social landlords are often providing services at the very heart of communities and are therefore best placed to deal with anti-social behaviour. The emphasis on empowering residents is an essential plank of the Standard and we are confident that many associations will quickly want to sign up to it.'

Also today the Audit Commission has launched a consultation exercise on changes to the way it inspects tenancy and estate management services in housing organisations. Its proposals reflect a number of developments in the role social landlords play in tackling anti-social behaviour, including the introduction of the respect standard.

The standard is built around six core commitments:

Accountability, leadership, and commitment

Landlords need to make a visible commitment to the community so that everyone is clear they take issues of anti-social behaviour and respect seriously and will deliver what they say they will.

Empowering and reassuring residents

Landlords and the community need to work as one through involving residents and giving them input into decision making. Engagement and effective communications act to reassure and empower communities.

Prevention and early intervention

Landlords can play a key role in preventing anti-social behaviour from occurring. Where it does occur if problems are addressed quickly this often gets the best results.

Tailored services for residents and provision of support for victims and witnesses

Success rests on people being prepared to report and then give support to agencies in taking action. Every case and every person deserves a robust, tailored and sensitive response.

Protecting communities through swift enforcement

Government has provided landlords with the tools they need to tackle a whole range of anti-social behaviour. Landlords need to understand how tools work and be prepared to use them quickly to protect communities.

Support to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour

Provision of support can put an end to unacceptable behaviour by tackling underlying causes. This leads to sustainable outcomes and gets people's lives back on track.

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