Speaking to the Association of Metropolitan Authorities' Conference in London on, 'The role of the social landlord: managing neighbour disputes, nuisance and crime on council estates', Lord Arran told delegates:
'Both local and central government agree that this is one of the most important on the housing management agenda.
'Just as anti-social behaviour can be a complex and many facetted problem, so the responses demanded are varied and need to be tailored to the problem at issue. Local authorities need to work with tenants to bring about a 'change of culture' in which certain types of behaviour become unacceptable.'
He said: 'If neighbour disputes are caught in their early stages, before each side has hardened its views, mediation and counselling services may be the best way of solving them.
'Many councils are now using mediation to try to resolve disputes. If neighbours can be persuaded to talk to each other, perhaps with the help of a third party, a dispute may be settled before it escalates into a costly legal battle.'
Lord Arran praised the 'partnership approach' in tackling problems on estates, he said:
'Other council departments, such as social services, environmental health and the education/youth service, also have a role to play, besides housing managers.
'My Department's report 'Crime Prevention on Council Estates' showed that this kind of joint response was often the most successful. I look forward to hearing what authorities are doing in developing local strategies to tackle or prevent crime and other forms of anti-social behaviour in partnership with the police and other bodies.'