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The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland has today told the Scottish Parliament that the under-funding of soc...
The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland has today told the Scottish Parliament that the under-funding of social work, the Children's Panel system and over-stretched police forces leave housing officers as the last line of defence.

The CIH has been invited to give verbal evidence to the communities committee, which is looking at the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill (Scotland). Whilst it supports the use of enforcement measures against anti-social behaviour it is worried that much of the burden of addressing it will be put on housing officers.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, policy and public affairs officer at the CIH said: 'We recognise the role played by housing professionals in tackling anti-social behaviour. However, housing officers' jobs are primarily to help people to get the type of rented housing they need and to where necessary, support them in keeping their home. Our members are concerned that housing is too often being asked to step in to fill a gap left by other resource pressed services such as the police and social work.

'For example the proposals for under-16 ASBOs are largely a response to an over-stretched Children's Panel system and a shortage of social workers. Also the current professional witness schemes and specialist 24-hour anti-social behaviour teams, which the Bill proposes extending, are often left to deal with complaints requiring an immediate response, a response that local police are often unable to provide. Further the majority of anti-social behaviour teams are currently funded from tenants' rents but are expected to address all issues of anti-social behaviour.

'We need to look at how social work, policing and housing are resourced in order to provide a proper response to anti-social behaviour. If we do not we are in danger of raising public expectation to level which cannot be met by organisations on the ground.'


The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland (CIH) is the only professional organisation for people who work in ho using. Its purpose is to maximise the contribution that housing professionals make to the wellbeing of communities. The CIH has over 17,000 members in the UK with over 1,600 in Scotland. Members work within local authorities, registered social landlords, Communities Scotland, the Rent Service, voluntary organisations, educational institutions and the private sector.

The CIH written evidence to the Scottish Parliament communities committee is available here.

The report 'Dealing with Offending by Young People', from the auditor general and Accounts Commission found that vacancy rates amongst children's services social workers were 11.3% and getting worse.

The auditor general's report led to the Scottish Parliament's audit committee calling for clear standards for the time taken at each stage of the children's hearing system and the criminal justice system to ensure children's needs are addressed.

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