Partnership Working and Legal Options
Partnership working is especially important because different agencies have different powers to intervene in different situations, particularly where adults may be vulnerable or at risk of harm.
It is important that everyone involved thinks pro-actively and explores all potential options.
Housing providers have a wide range of powers that they can use to both support and protect their tenants. It is therefore important to involve the housing provider in multi-agency meetings as they often hold lots of information, they are well positioned to support victims of abuse / neglect and they may also be able to use their powers to take action against the perpetrator of any harm / abuse.
These powers could apply in Extra Care Sheltered Schemes, Independent Supported Living, private-rented or supported housing tenancies.
A tenancy agreement signed by the tenant sets out expectations with regards to their behaviour and they can also be held responsible for the behaviour of everyone who is authorised to enter the property. Housing providers can issue a tenancy warning to people breaching their tenancy agreement and in more extreme cases they can apply to the court for an Injunction. An injunction is a court order which can be made to prevent someone from doing something or compel someone to do a specific activity (e.g. seek support for underlying problems).
There may also be circumstances in which a person’s actions amount to anti-social behavior under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
This piece of legislation can be applied, where on the balance of probabilities:
- A person has engaged in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance; and
- It is just to grant the injunction to prevent antisocial
This applies where there is a direct or indirect interference with housing management functions of a provider or local authority, such as engaging in anti-social or nuisance behaviour preventing gas inspections, will be considered as anti-social behaviour.
Injunctions can be used to tackle a wide range of abusive behaviour, exploitation and hate crime. They can be used to exclude people from places / properties and they can also be used to get the tenant to clear the property or provide access for contractors.
It is likely that the housing provider will need to prove the tenant has mental capacity in relation to understanding their actions before legal action will be possible. If the tenant lacks capacity, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 should be used.
In extreme cases, a landlord can take action for possession of the property for breach of a person’s tenancy agreement, where a tenant fails to comply with the obligation to maintain the property and its environment to a reasonable standard. This would be under either under Ground 1, Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985 (secure tenancies) or Ground 12, Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 (assured tenancies).
Please see our housing awareness pack [insert link] for more information on housing providers.
Community Care have published this article, Safeguarding adults who refuse support: how antisocial behaviour legislation may help which explains how this legislation was used in a real case.
Please see Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Anti-social behaviour powers Statutory guidance for frontline professionals for more information on anti-social behaviour powers, including civil injunctions.
Environmental Health Officers in the Local Authority have wide powers/duties to deal with waste and hazards. They will be key contributors to cross departmental meetings and planning, and in some cases e.g. where there are no mental health issues, no lack of capacity of the person concerned, and no other social care needs, then they may be the lead agency and act to address the physical environment.
Remedies available under the Public Health Acts 1936 and 1961 include:
- Power for LA to remove accumulations of rubbish on land in the open air (section 34)
- power of entry/warrant to survey/examine (sections 239/240)
- power of entry/warrant for examination/execution of necessary work (section 287)
- Power to require vacation of premises during fumigation (section 36)
- Power to disinfest/destroy verminous articles at the expense of the owner (Section 37)
Remedies available under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 include:
- Litter clearing notice where land open to air is defaced by refuse (section 92a)
- Abatement notice where any premise is in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance (sections 79/80)
- Town and Country Planning Acts provide the power to seek orders for repairs to privately owned dwellings and where necessary compulsory purchase
- The Housing Act 2004 allow enforcement action where either a category 1 or category 2 hazard exists in any building or land posing a risk of harm to the health or safety of any actual or potential occupier or any dwelling or house in multiple occupation (HMO). Those powers range from serving an improvement notice, taking emergency remedial action, to the making of a demolition
- Local Authorities have a duty to take action against occupiers of premises where there is evidence of rats or mice under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949.
- The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 Section 46 sets out restrictions in order to control the spread of disease, including use of infected premises, articles and actions that can be taken regarding infectious
Details of all the latest news from Salford Safeguarding Adults Board.