Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Email the Council? Don't bother!

South Tyneside Council failing!

I am absolutely appalled at the downright failure of South Tyneside Council to reply to my emails requesting information about it's policies in respect of criminal and anti-social behaviour by some of South Tyneside Homes' tenants, and the so called crime partnership with Northumbria Police.

I had previously posted in this blog about Inspector Simon Charlton's call for action in respect of a small number of tenants who had been arrested and charged hundreds of times for a variety of reasons, and who, in his opinion, were making life a misery for their neighbours. I also drew comparisons with the successes being achieved in the same areas by North Tyneside Council.

With this in mind, I emailed Irene Lucas, the Chief Executive of the Council, along with Paul Wilding, the Chief Executive of South Tyneside Homes, and Cllr. Michael Claire, the Lead Member, on the 21st. June this year.

I asked three simple questions;

  1. How many tenants have been evicted for criminal or anti-social behaviour in the past two years?
  2. How many applications for evictions, for the above reasons, are currently being processed?
  3. How many tenants are being currently considered for such actions?

Since 21st. June I have sent a number of reminders, and also copied in the Leader of the Council, Paul Waggott, and South Tyneside Homes' Board member Cllr. Jim Foreman, as well as Frank Coverdale, the Governance manager of South Tyneside Homes (the latter two have only been contacted today.) It is almost unbelievable that more than a month and a half after originally asking these questions I have still not received the answers! I feel that South Tyneside Council, rightly or wrongly, is failing to address the issue.

I am all for giving our strongest possible support to Neighbourhood Policing and I feel very peeved to think that Inspector Simon Charlton has to keep turning up at meetings of the Community Area Forums to give his verbal crime report and realise that little or nothing becomes of his team's efforts. He and his team on the beat are trying their hardest with limited resources to keep our streets safe and build good working relationships within local communities, but as far as partnerships go, this one looks increasingly one sided. There is no such thing as a working one sided partnership!

I would like to see South Tyneside Council follow the lead of their counterparts across the Tyne by starting to be proactive with problem tenants who persist in making life miserable for those who are living around them, the problem will not go away by simply staring it in the face (rather like my emails.) It seems there are some within the machinery of our local government who think that I will go away if they coninuously fail to respond to my emails, this is not the case, I will just try harder to get to the truth and be even more obstinate!

The Annual General Meeting of South Tyneside Homes takes place on 21st. August in the Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields, unfortunately I will not be able to attend because I will be away on holiday again, but I hope that someone poses some awkward questions about South Tyneside Council, it's housing Arms Length Management Organisation, and it's policies towards partnerships with our local police, and whether or not the police will find themselves working alone!

Labour - "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime"

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