Lincolnshire Council: sharing information to improve consistency in practice across the county

Community safety partners in Lincolnshire are sharing information and good practice, with the aim of reducing incidents of ASB and ensuring that a more consistent county-wide approach is in place for both victims and perpetrators.


The local context

Lincolnshire is a large county which includes seven district council areas. Lincolnshire County Council employs a full-time community safety strategy (CSS) coordinator, who supports the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership (SLP), the county’s community safety partnership, and coordinates county-wide activity around ASB. The district councils and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner all contribute funding for the management of ASB issues, part of which goes towards the cost of the co-ordinator post.

The SLP is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour as one of four priorities in its 2018-22 action plan, through measures including:

  • Devising a process to identify ASB issues that are trending significantly upwards in specific areas of the county, and developing a mechanism for sharing good practice in tackling these issues.
  • Exploring the opportunities for tackling ASB in partnership with environmental protection departments.
  • Resolving ASB risk assessment conference attendance issues with mental health and social care agencies.
  • Implementing a new case management system (E-CINS).

Sharing information

The partners recognised that ASB data was predominantly based on police information so did not provide a true picture. This made identifying trends through reporting a challenge. To address this, the ASB Practitioner Group (ASB officers from the district councils, police and housing providers) is being utilised to identify emerging issues and trends. This is then fed into the ASB Core Priority Group (a sub-group of the SLP) to consider the response required. A case study template has been developed for practitioners to record and share their response to specific ASB problems (what did/did not work well and any challenges or barriers), to help form a best practice toolkit.

There is a push to have all relevant partners across the county using the E-CINS system to record ASB. One-system recording would not only provide an accurate ASB data picture but also further embed the partnership approach. The use of E-CINS in Lincolnshire for ASB also extends to the delivery of ASB risk assessment conferences, which involve multiple agencies.

Another focus has been improving the customer journey for victims by providing a consistent message on how to report incidents. People were not always sure who to contact about different types of ASB, so a generic webpage has been created for all the partner agencies. It takes people through a process of understanding what ASB is, how to report it and how they can help themselves. A task and finish group has led this work.

The ASB Core Priority Group has been looking at how to improve early intervention for young people involved in ASB, working within the existing incremental system of enforcement. Following the successful introduction of a joint diversionary panel (JDP) to tackle youth crime, the group agreed to pilot this approach for ASB. It was trialled over two six-month periods. The JDP would discuss the young person’s behaviour, identify any underlying issues and agree the next steps. For a range of reasons the JDP approach didn’t work as effectively for ASB as it did for crime, so it is not being taken forward. However, parts of the panel process did work well and are being added to the existing enforcement process.

One key learning point was to use the JDP administration (provided by a member of the youth offending service team) as a mechanism to share relevant information. They now provide a ‘first point of contact’ for all agencies during the enforcement process, confirming whether a young person is known to youth offending or children’s services and providing details of the lead professional. This allows for engagement, intervention and support at the earliest opportunity, which can help prevent an escalation of ASB. 

Lisa Duckworth, Lincolnshire’s CSS Co-ordinator, said this ‘JDP admin’ process was introduced halfway through the pilot and was used extensively by district council ASB teams, with 165 checks requested in six months. “Feedback on this facility has been extremely positive. It has proven very efficient in improving engagement between district ASB teams and children’s services in response to anti-social behaviour.”

Using JDP admin offered the required solution, engaging agencies at an earlier stage, without the need to have a panel discussion on ASB cases. It now forms part of the recommended process and its effectiveness will be monitored in the longer term.

Next steps

Lisa Duckworth said: “The JDP pilot has been an invaluable exercise to identify barriers and challenges experienced by district council ASB teams, police and registered housing providers in their response to ASB involving young people. By having the opportunity to explore these issues it has helped to improve knowledge and understanding of what is required, and the interventions and support available to ensure the best response.”

The principle underlying all of these work streams is that better information-sharing leads to more effective multi-agency working to prevent and deal with ASB. This also provides greater consistency in how incidents are dealt with, for both victims and perpetrators. Lisa Duckworth said:

We are lucky in Lincolnshire to have partners that want to work together and will compromise when that’s needed. There is a shared ambition to address the underlying causes and impacts of ASB, and a mutual respect for each agency’s role and remit within this.

Lessons learned

  • Before exploring a solution to an identified problem, ensure that all the agencies have a clear understanding of each other’s issues and concerns – never assume they are the same.
  • Consider what can and can’t be done to resolve the problem in order to manage expectations from the offset.
  • Set realistic timescales and extend them if necessary: taking the time to get it right will reduce the likelihood of failure.

Contact

Lisa Duckworth, Community Safety Strategy Coordinator, Lincolnshire County Council: Lisa.Duckworth@lincolnshire.gov.uk