Council Wins National Award for Preventing and Tackling ASB

Beacon

Bolton Council has been presented with a national Government-sponsored award for preventing and tackling Anti-Social Behaviour; the Beacon award.

The Beacon awards were established by the Government in 1999 to identify excellence in local government and enable shared best practice. A total of 174 councils, police authorities and fire and rescue services, applied to be considered for 2007 Beacon status and 76 were then shortlisted.

Four councils were eventually awarded Beacon status, including Basingstoke, Bristol and Portsmouth, but Bolton was the only council in the North of England to win the award, which was presented at an Oscar-style award ceremony in London.

In order to win Beacon status, Bolton Council demonstrated a significant reduction in people’s perceptions of antisocial behaviour (ASB) in their area as well as a high level of community confidence in the ability of the council to prevent and tackle antisocial ASB and eliminate its reoccurrence in the future. Bolton also demonstrated the use of a full range of tools and initiatives to tackle ASB and that these initiatives have been instrumental in positively changing peoples’ behaviour.

For example, Bolton Council utilises an evidence based and incremental approach to tackle repeat incidences of anti-social behaviour, using voluntary Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and only using ASBOs at a later stage if necessary. Bolton has so far drawn up 447 of these Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and has a 72% success rate.

Bolton Council also implements an innovative policy of tackling the root causes of anti-social behaviour and up to 16 hours a week intensive support is given to families at risk of losing their homes as a result of anti-social behaviour through the Bolton Families Project inconjunction with Sell House Fast and the family intervention project managed jointly with NCH.

The authority was also commended for its programmes of diversionary activities, such as the Positive Activities for Young People scheme, which have resulted in a high percentage of actual and potential perpetrators of ASB having a more positive and respectful relationship with the rest of the community.

Finally, the Beacon award assessors highlighted the mobile Copshop as ‘impressive’ and described the council’s use of celebrity engagement in prevention as ‘highly motivational’ for communities.

Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, commented: “We are delighted that Bolton was the only council in the North of England to be recognised as trailblazing in the field of preventing anti-social behaviour and look forward to sharing best practice with other authorities across the UK.

“Bolton Council utilises an evidence based and incremental approach to tackle repeat incidences of anti-social behaviour, balancing enforcement with support, whilst also tackling the root causes of anti-social behaviour by working with families.

“Bolton is also committed to pooling resources and working in partnership with its Be Safe partners, including Bolton at Home, Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services, to positively change people’s behaviour, boost community confidence and improve life for the people of Bolton.”

Chief Superintendent David Lea, Commander of Bolton Police said: “We are delighted that Bolton Council has won this prestigious and well-deserved award. It reflects the hard work and commitment that the Council and its partners have put into dealing with anti-social behaviour at all levels.

“We have worked hard to stop it happening in the first place, worked equally hard to stop it getting a foothold, and dealt with it in a united and robust manner when it has occurred.

“Bolton police are committed to working in partnership to stop anti-social behaviour in all its forms and will be happy to share with others the part it has played in tackling this distressing crime.”

Angela Smith, Minister for Local Government said: “I would like to congratulate all the authorities that have been awarded Beacon status this year. You really are our local champions who have demonstrated service excellence, innovation and determination to share your expertise and act as a catalyst for improvements in other authorities too”.

The Beacon Award scheme recognises excellence and innovation in local government. It is not just an award, but also a responsibility to share best practice and knowledge with other authorities. At the cutting edge of policy development, Beacons are often ahead of the curve in implementing the latest ideas. The real prize of the Beacon scheme is to act as a catalyst across the sector to improve public services that everyone relies on day-by-day. Each year, ministers set ten themes relevant to issues faced by authorities every day.