Section 4. Model Procedure
Once the details have been established, it will be possible for the investigating officer and senior staff to determine an appropriate course of action. The time scales outlined in the procedure are offered as guidelines only and as a reminder of the need to ensure a speedy resolution. Time scales may have to vary according to circumstances but the following provides an idea of what may be required:
Regular visits to the victim and, with agreement, liaise over the provision of additional help from local groups if appropriate.
Priority action on a transfer request to ensure that it is dealt with promptly liaising with other organisations if necessary to obtain a transfer offer and ensuring that the victim is kept fully informed.
With regard to the alleged perpetrator set out a range of action including initial interview and warning letters. Also consider the need for legal advice and the range of associated action: eviction, ASBO, charging for the cost of any repairs.
Seek legal advice at an early stage and discuss the merits of any proposed action with the victim beforehand.
Set out the range of repair work needed and ensure that the
emergency status of these repairs is adhered to.
The programme of action can be amended as circumstances change but it is important that staff are clear about their role at each stage.
Each follow-up visit or action taken in relation to the victim should be carefully recorded and kept on file using the monitoring forms devised for these situations. Similarly, in the case of the alleged perpetrator, each follow-up interview or action should be carefully recorded and placed on file and kept securely.
There may be times when delays in the progress of the action plan occur. Good casework administration can help in these circumstance and will include:
An agreed action plan with identified timescales and clear responsibilities should provide an essential first step.
Following any interviews or the emergence of additional evidence or information, amendments may be necessary to the action plan and considered in consultation with the tenant.
Each development should be recorded internally as a file note and confirmed with relevant external partners, including the victim and potentially the alleged perpetrator(s).
This framework should help when delays need to be challenged. Approaches to statutory agencies should make reference to statutory duties, relevant policies and standards of good practice. Emerging delays should be checked quickly.
If reassurances are not provided and further delay seems likely, consideration should be given to further action including: written reminders, calling of case conferences, highlighting practical solutions and moving up the management scale.
The investigating officer will keep the victim informed of action taken, at least once a week for the first month, to ensure that harassment has not restarted. The weekly contact will also provide an opportunity for the investigating officer to note the contents of the completed diary sheets and decide how the investigation or action against the alleged perpetrator(s) should proceed. Where regular visits are not possible, frequent contact by telephone with the victim may be maintained.
The investigating officer should also make sure that the police and any other agency contacted at an earlier stage are kept informed.