Neighbourhood Management Policy

Neighbourhood Management Policy

February 22 2022

1. What this policy is about

Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) is responsible for managing neighbourhoods where we have homes on behalf of Newcastle City Council (NCC).  This policy covers our approach to Neighbourhood Management and how we will meet our responsibilities and duties as a managing agent.

 

The policy was developed with input from several stakeholders, and cross referenced with good practice from other organisations and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) good practice manual. The policy covers key topics such as:

 

  • Who this policy is for?
  • Responsibilities of tenants and YHN as a managing agent for NCC
  • Partnership working
  • Funding
  • How we will seek to involve customers in improving our neighbourhoods.

 

    1. Links to Organisational Goals and Documents

 

This policy fits with our vision to be “First for Housing”and our values to beReady, Amazing, Revolutionary, and Energetic (RARE). It also supports our objective to create amazing places where people are proud to live and our priority to have clean, safe and desirable neighbourhoods.  

 

The Neighbourhood Management Policy links to the following YHN and NCC policies, strategies and documents:

 

  • Safe Living Policy and Plan
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Strategy
  • Asset Management Strategy
  • Repairs and Maintenance Policy
  • Environmental Policy (to be developed)
  • Newcastle City Council and Leazes Homes Management Agreements
  • Leazes Homes Tenancy Policy
  • Newcastle City Council Lettings Policy

 

We will also develop Neighbourhood Improvement plans, based on Patch Profile data and customer and staff insight.

 

    1. Regulation and Legislation

 

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) Neighbourhood and Community Standard requires all registered providers to publish a policy setting out how, in consultation with their tenants, they will maintain and improve the neighbourhoods associated with their homes. The policy must also set out how we will work in partnership to achieve these objectives and what role we will play in our neighbourhoods. 

 

The Assistant Director, Customer Services will ensure this policy has regard to all legislation, regulation and best practice. Other key legislation applicable to this policy is provided at Appendix 1.

                 

2. Who this policy is for?

This policy is for all YHN staff and customers and covers all our neighbourhoods. The table in the next section shows the responsibilities of staff and customers in implementing and adhering to the policy. This policy also applies to Leazes Homes staff and customers. Leazes Homes is covered in this policy unless explicitly stated.

 

3. Roles and responsibilities

Role

Responsibility

Assistant Director, Customer Services

Accountable for ensuring effective implementation of this policy

Senior Manager Housing Services

Responsible for adequate resourcing and having effective processes in place to implement this policy

Housing Services Managers

Responsible for ensuring that this policy is adhered to and that all staff are appropriately trained

Housing Services Teams

Responsible for identifying and resolving issues within our neighbourhoods. A facility to ‘find your local housing officer’ is available on our website www.yhn.org.uk.

All Staff

 

Responsible for identifying and resolving issues within our neighbourhoods

 

Tenants, leaseholders and other customers

Responsible for looking after their neighbourhoods and reporting any concerns to ‘Your Local Services’ (formerly Envirocall).

 

NCC and other external partners

NCC has specific responsibilities including waste, recycling, planning and environmental health which all have a significant impact on our neighbourhoods. All YHN staff are expected to build and maintain positive relationships with external partners including NCC to help us to achieve well-maintained neighbourhoods.

 

4. Our approach

We have four strands to our approach:

Customers

Neighbourhoods

The City

The Sector

We want to create amazing places where people are proud to live which are well managed and maintained so that residents feel safe and assured.

 

We will encourage active customer involvement in all aspects of Neighbourhood Management.

We will work in partnership with tenants to ensure neighbourhoods are clean, safe and desirable.

We recognise that  our neighbourhoods are diverse and will ensure our approach reflects the individual requirements of our homes, estates and communal areas.

We will use our influence and work with our partners to help shape attractive neighbourhoods in which customers feel safe and are proud to call home.

We want to be leading experts in our field.

 

YHN want to create amazing places where people are proud to live. We recognise that our neighbourhoods are diverse and so our approach to neighbourhood management reflects the individual requirements of our homes including those that we manage and communal areas.  Our main objective is to provide clean, safe and desirable neighbourhoods and our policy aims to achieve this by:

 

  • Offering high quality services, ensuring our neighbourhoods are well managed and maintained so that residents feel safe, assured and proud to live there
  • Working in partnership with our tenants and external organisations to provide clean and desirable neighbourhoods
  • Encouraging active customer involvement in all aspects of neighbourhood management.

 

We are strongly committed to fairness and equal opportunities for all. This policy meets the requirements set out by the Equality Act 2010 and aims to prevent unlawful discrimination on the grounds of disability, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion and beliefs, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships.

 

4.1    Shared Responsibilities

 

Effective neighbourhood management is built on the success of shared responsibilities. Our responsibilities as a managing agent include:

 

  • To take reasonable care to maintain and ensure cleanliness in the shared entrances, halls, stairways, lifts, passageways, rubbish chutes and any other common parts, including electric lighting, in reasonable repair and fit for residents and other occupiers and visitors.  
  • Making neighbourhood improvements and where appropriate consulting with residents. For example, on fencing programmes.
  • Giving residents a wide range of opportunities to influence and be involved in how neighbourhood services are delivered, how performance is monitored and how satisfaction is assessed in accordance with the RSH ‘Tenant Involvement and Empowerment’ standard. For example, via our Customer Forums.
  • YHN employees listening and acting on concerns raised by residents about their neighbourhoods where appropriate
  • Having a clear, simple and accessible approach to complaints to ensure they are resolved promptly. (Please see YHN Complaints policy and procedures for further details)
  • Partnership working to deal effectively with antisocial behaviour and other neighbourhood concerns or issues.

 

Residents’ responsibilities are as set out in the tenancy agreement or lease

conditions and include:

 

  • Making sure that homes, gardens and driveways are well maintained and in good condition in line with their tenancy/lease agreement.
  • Promptly reporting any repairs or disrepairs for which YHN or Leazes Homes are responsible.
  • Helping us to meet our health and safety responsibilities by ensuring that communal areas are kept clean, tidy, safe and free from obstruction and to not use them to store personal belongings or other items.
  • Making sure that pets (where the tenancy agreement allows) are kept under control, do not damage properties or cause nuisance or annoyance to other people in the neighbourhood, and do not defecate/urinate in communal areas.
  • Not engaging in anti-social behaviour, nuisance or annoyance to neighbours and reporting any concerns.
  • To not accumulate items at their property which likely to attract vermin or insects or cause a fire hazard.

 

Responsibilities are fully detailed in the individual tenancy or leaseholder agreement. We are also developing a suite of customer standards.

 

4.2 Services provided by YHN:

 

YHN provides and manages several services in our neighbourhoods and communal areas to ensure they are clean, safe and well managed including:

 

Operations team:

 

  • Caretaker service in place across all our high-rise blocks in the city to keep them clean, tidy and safe including 24/7 responsive team for emergencies
  • Operational staff who take care of environmental work on our estates including litter picking and fly tipping.

 

Supported Accommodation:

 

  • Housing Plus and Support and Progression service in place across all of our Supported Accommodation in the City, including 24/7 responsive team for emergencies.

 

Garden care:

 

Customers can access the garden care service to help with the maintenance and upkeep of their gardens. There is a weekly charge for this service which is added to the rent account. YHN customers can request to receive a service by completing this online form or via a referral from their local housing office. Leazes Homes customers can contact their local housing office or email contactus@leazeshomes.org.uk to request this service.

 

Communal areas:

 

i) Cleaning

 

YHN carry out a regular programme of cleaning in our high-rise and supported accommodation blocks paid for by tenants through a service charge. In mid and low-rise blocks (less than six stories high) cleaning of communal areas is the responsibility of the tenants living in the block. In Leazes Homes blocks, where applicable, a cleaning programme is in place paid for by tenants through a service charge.

 

ii) Repairs

 

All communal areas will be inspected regularly by Housing Services Officers to ensure that Health and Safety standards are met and maintained. If a tenant notices a repair that needs to be carried out to a communal area, they should bring this to the attention of YHN’s Contact Centre at the earliest opportunity to ensure the issue can be rectified in a timely manner.

 

Parking

 

Parking problems or nuisance parking can be an issue between immediate neighbours or a wider neighbourhood concern. This includes (but is not limited to) issues such as blocking access, damaging grassed areas, parking in curtilage without a dropped kerb, numbers of vehicles per household and abandoned vehicles. Where these problems involve YHN or Leazes Homes tenants we will work with the relevant parties to address them.

 

Seasonal maintenance

 

In certain seasons we will carry out an additional regime of maintenance to ensure our neighbourhoods are clean and safe. Any seasonal maintenance issues should be reported to ‘Your Local Services’. Examples of seasonal maintenance could include gritting of roads or pavements or removal of leaves.

 

Neighbourhood presence and inspections

 

Housing Services Officers are regularly on estates ensuring that communal areas and neighbourhoods are kept clean and safe. Formal inspections will be carried out twice yearly and advertised via our website and social media channels. We will also advertise inspections via local places and community groups to give a diverse range of customers and partner agencies an opportunity to attend.

 

Officers are responsible for logging and reporting any issues that arise during the inspection to the relevant departments to ensure they are dealt with. This could include issues such as graffiti, fly tipping or abandoned vehicles. Where an inspection is attended by customers and/or partners the Officer will agree what feedback is required, the format the feedback will take and the timescale it will be received within.

 

In addition to inspections, YHN staff will also have a regular presence on our estates, identifying, reporting and where possible resolving neighbourhood issues as quickly as possible. They will undertake an action-based approach, ensuring that their eyes are wide open to any issues and reporting and resolving them at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

4.3      Partnership Working with Newcastle City Council (NCC)

 

YHN work with NCC to deliver a range of services in our neighbourhoods. Some services within our neighbourhoods and communal areas will be charged for through a service charge. This means that we will seek a contribution from tenants and leaseholders to pay for those services.

 

All environmental issues identified by staff and customers should be reported to ‘Your Local Services’ which is the single point of contact for environmental services within Newcastle upon Tyne. Issues which can be reported relate to:

 

  • Bins
  • Bulky Waste Collection
  • Communal Bins
  • Permits for Home Waste recycling centre
  • Pest Control
  • Skip enquiries
  • Street lighting
  • Graffiti
  • Environmental crimes such as fly tipping

 

In addition to the environmental services identified above, NCC also carries out a ground’s maintenance programme on all landscaped surfaces YHN are responsible for. This also includes a planned tree management programme. A company carries out a grounds maintenance programme for any landscaped services Leazes Homes are responsible for. Any grounds maintenance issues should be reported in the same way to ‘Your Local Services’. Please see Appendix 2 for a definition of grounds maintenance.

 

Neighbourhood Wardens

 

YHN provide a neighbourhood warden service in partnership with NCC to help keep local neighbourhoods clean, safe and tidy. There are ten neighbourhood wardens who work exclusively on YHN and Leazes Homes estates across the city.

The wardens help to reduce environmental crime and anti-social behaviour by patrolling neighbourhoods, reporting incidents and engaging with communities and other service providers. Tasks undertaken by the wardens include:

  • helping to reduce environmental crime such as littering and fly tipping
  • responding to anti-social behaviour including noise nuisance and alcohol related disorder
  • helping to arrange educational activities such as estate events
  • reporting issues and incidents on our estates, for example, to ‘Your Local Services’ or Northumbria Police
  • supporting community safety initiatives
  • signposting residents when they have queries or concerns.

We also work closely with several teams at NCC to resolve neighbourhood issues, such as the Public Safety and Regulation service which carries out regulatory functions to protect the health of residents and safeguard the environment. Services offered by this division include Environmental Health (including pollution control and housing standards) and licensing (including street trading, sale of alcohol etc).

 

We also put partnership arrangements in place where specific community issues are identified, for example issues with community safety in a particular neighbourhood. In these instances, we organise Stand Alone Problem Solving (SAPS) meetings and bring together relevant internal and external partners such as the Police, Residents Groups, Social Services and local Charities to tackle the issue and identify actions that can be taken by all partners to resolve it.

 

4.4 Working with partners – Northumbria Police

 

We want to know what is happening on our estates and work with you to make sure they are safe, desirable places to live. There may be some instances however where it is appropriate to report neighbourhood issues to both YHN and the Police. For example, a neighbour dispute about excessive noise could be dealt with by YHN in the first instance however if the issues escalate and any violent, threatening or abusive behaviour is displayed, this may need to be reported to the Police. If any issues are, or have escalated to being a Police matter, we will let you know and where necessary, work with the Police to resolve the matter.

 

Similarly, Anti-Social Behaviour issues such as young people causing a nuisance on motorbikes can be reported to YHN however if any aggressive or intimidating behaviour is displayed by those involved or any potential criminal activity is linked to the disorder the Police may need to be notified and get involved. You can contact the Police via the 101 number in situations that do not require an immediate response. If a crime is in progress in your neighbourhood however and an immediate response is required, you should dial 999.

 

4.5 Community Engagement

 

YHN’s vision and values are centred on putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. Customer Services staff will work closely with the YHN Customer Engagement Team and NCC Community Team to involve and engage customers in maintaining and improving their neighbourhoods. We will also continue to play an active part in tenant and resident’s groups and community events. We will look to receive feedback from customers while we are delivering our services, to help drive changes and make improvements.

 

 5. Reporting, monitoring and review

This policy will be reviewed every three years, or in line with business need or any regulatory changes.  Any changes will be subject to the approval of the Directors Team.

 

The accountability for this policy lies with the Assistant Director, Customer Services, and the overall responsibility lies with the Senior Manager Housing Services.

 

 

 

Current version:

1.0 APPROVED

Date published:

22/02/22

Date of next review:

2025

Author:

Senior Manager, Housing Services

Owner:

Assistant Director, Housing Services

Approved by:

CMT

Date:

April 2021

 

Appendix 1: Key Legislation

 

Key legislation applicable to this policy includes but is not limited to the following:

 

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Housing Act 1996
  • Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2003-14
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Race Relations (amendment) Act 2000
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Offences against the Person Act 1861
  • Criminal Damage Act 1971
  • Public Order Act 1986
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • ROSPA Guidelines
  • Any other specific legislation mentioned in other relevant policies

Appendix 2: Definitions

 

Tenants and Leaseholders: are those who have signed the tenancy or lease agreement. They will usually be responsible for the actions of the occupants in their homes. A Leaseholder for the purpose of this policy includes leaseholders and shared owners.  The lease agreement will always take precedence over this policy unless there is an over-riding legal or regulatory requirement.

 

Residents: are not only tenants and leaseholders, but all occupants of a tenants or leaseholder’s household or those living in the wider local area.

 

Communal Areas: are spaces shared by more than one home such as landings, hallways, gardens, garage blocks and open green spaces.

 

Estate: is an area of homes and communal spaces that make up one larger area and may also include homes which we do not manage.

 

Neighbourhood: is an estate or group of homes with shared external or internal areas, or ad hoc pockets of land that we manage.

 

Pest Control:includes the inspection and treatment of pests or infestations, removal of waste after treatment and reporting of repairs caused by pests.

 

Grounds Maintenance:is the cutting and maintenance of grassed areas, the maintenance of shrubs, hedges and bushes and weed control of all landscaped surfaces.

 

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