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Appendix 6 - Neighbourhood Wardens Report

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					                                             Neighbourhood Wardens Discussion Paper
                                                                         Appendix 6

1. Purpose of Report
   1.1 The purpose of this paper is to provide some background information on
   neighbourhood warden schemes, both across the country and locally, as a basis for
   discussion. The paper will look at the background and process of setting up warden
   schemes, as well as the present situation. Given the current economic environment
   where funding is limited, the paper will also explore various options that have been
   suggested by different warden schemes to help maintain the service for the future, as
   well as simultaneous emerging issues.

2. Background
   2.1 As part of the work of the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit in Communities and Local
   Government, 245 warden schemes have been set up across the nation since 2001.
   Often these schemes have been closely linked in to neighbourhood management pilots
   that seek to empower local people and service providers to work together to shape
   services more towards their needs.

   2.2 Nationally Warden Schemes differ in detail due to their remit being set by local
   need. Generally the main aims of the wardens’ role have been to:

          improve quality of life
          contribute to the regeneration of an area.
          help reduce crime or fear of crime
          deal with antisocial behaviour
          improve the physical appearance of the area
          engage with the community by attending and supporting community

3. National schemes
   Background research of a range of different schemes highlighted the following topic
   areas and emerging issues around different warden schemes:

   3.1 Balance of enforcement and community cohesion

    3.1.1 Certain initiatives have included or placed more emphasis on an enforcement role
   for the warden, as opposed to a more community cohesion angle of developing
   relationships with different local people and community groups. The enforcement role
   has brought both positives and negatives to the service. Some schemes have found
   that by wardens having police accredited powers, problems like dog fouling, illegal
   parking and litter have been reduced and has led to improved partnership working .
   Moreover, the income generated from the increased use of fixed penalty notices has in
   the case of County Durham been used to ring fence and fund warden activities. In
   contrast the warden scheme in Newbury (Berkshire) has abjectly fought against this
   punitive element being incorporated into the role, due to the potential negative effects of
   the service no longer being seen as a friendly face.



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3.1.2 The benefits of the wardens being seen as a ‘trusted friend to the community’,
with an emphasis on engagement and communication has had real positive effects on
customer satisfaction surveys. Helping support a range of schemes and activities like
organising litter picks, setting up football teams, visiting schools and vulnerable people
and running Junior warden schemes are just some examples of this. It is however
recognised that building relationships is a harder output of the service to evaluate, as
opposed to more tangible outputs like numbers of fines issued, number of referrals to
agencies etc...

3.2 Patrol and call-out
3.2.1 Most schemes operate using a set patrolled area for wardens so that local people
are more likely to recognise wardens, be aware of their presence and build
relationships. In addition to this, the Ashfield warden service also uses a call centre
number so that residents/partners can phone in to report a particular issue, concern or
request. This has meant a more focused/need driven service being given. However
there have been concerns that the lack of ad-hoc community interaction from a solely
patrol based service could have detrimental community cohesion effects.

3.3 Foot patrol versus bicycles
3.3.1 Although it has been highlighted that bicycles could mean greater ground
coverage, some schemes have raised concerns that building relationships with the local
community could be impacted on by using this form of patrolling, rather than on foot.

3.4 Management & Supervision
3.4.1 Research shows that wardens’ schemes are managed in a range of ways
including direct management by the local authority, whilst others are managed by
armslength management organisations for Council housing.

3.4.2 Likewise how wardens are supervised differs as well. Some teams are supervised
by the local authority or managing ALMO, whilst others are actually supervised and
tasked by the policing team. The advantage of the latter has meant police and wardens
working very closely together helping to join services up more and lessen duplication.
However, a mismatch of agendas between management and the supervisory agency
has been highlighted as a potential issue here.

3.5 Evaluation
3.5.1 Many neighbourhood warden projects have evaluated and reviewed their service.
Some have been stimulated to do this in an attempt to try and secure future funding.
Many of these reports have highlighted the strengths and weakness of the service, as
well as areas of confusion and merging issues. Forms of evaluation have included
quantitative data such as reduction in crime stats, household robberies, numbers of
people, talked to, meetings attended, as well as qualitative research stemming from
customer satisfaction surveys. Nearly all services have been received in a positive light
overall.




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4 Local schemes
4.1 Sharrow Partnership
Back in 2007, Sharrow Partnership undertook extensive research with the local community
to see if local people wanted and needed a warden service and if so, what they would want
from it. Through focus groups, interviews, workshops and fieldtrips, the response was that
the Sharrow community was very much in favour of a warden service. They wanted the
service to incorporate elements of community engagement, community safety through the
reduction of a fear of crime and a focus on environmental issues like litter, flyipping and
graffiti.

Discussions from the consultation resulted in the employment of 2 neighbourhood wardens
funded by Sharrow Partnership and managed by Sheffield Homes. This particular warden
service was different in that its shape was guided by what local people needed and also
meant the whole of the Sharrow area would be patrolled, not just properties belonging to
Sheffield Homes. As well as attending youth clubs, schools, coffee mornings and TARA
meetings during July 2008 – Jan 2009, the wardens made over 95 hotspot checks in the
area, 96 referrals to other agencies like Street Force and Environment and Regulatory
Services (Enforcement) to report issues like graffiti, fly tipping, litter and unruly gardens, as
well as removing a significant amount of graffiti themselves. Working in close partnership
with South Yorkshire Police has also been a key part to the role illustrated in the successful
target hardening Smart Water initiative.

With the Sharrow Partnership funding for the wardens finishing at the end of March 2010,
Sheffield Homes are currently looking at ways to try and fund the 2 posts after this time.

4.2 Burngreave
As part of the Burngreave New Deal for Communities funding the Community wardens’
service was set up in the area to focus on community engagement, reporting issues
relating to crime and disorder and prevention of antisocial behaviour through a visible
presence. Partnership working with the Council, Sheffield Homes and South Yorkshire
Police created a dramatic turnaround in incidents of crime in Burngreave. The Burngreave
Community wardens finished in March 2009, however the Sheffield Homes’ Neighbourhood
Warden Service continues and carries out a wide range of traditional warden activities.

5 Options for the Future & Emerging Issues:
5.1 Like Bradford, some areas have received recent funding from local authorities with new
warden schemes being set up in 2009, however many schemes who received the initial
Communities and Local Government funding are no longer in existence due to the
cessation of this funding.

Coventry has recently hit the headlines with a sharp increase in antisocial behaviour
statistics after the ceasing of their warden service. It seems likely that future funding needs
to rely on a wider range of long term funding streams, including the Council, health
authorities, housing providers’, schools and businesses

Due to a lessening in funding opportunities available for neighbourhood warden schemes,
organisations have come up with a whole host of creative and diverse ways to try and
sustain and strengthen neighbourhood warden services.



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Some of these ideas are summarised below:

   Align warden scheme outputs with Local Area Agreement targets
   Amalgamate wardens role into the police community safety team
   Develop an approach to establish a baseline figure before, during and after a specific
    warden intervention so as to assess the impact of a warden service in relation to crime
    statistics
   Mainstream the funding of the wardens scheme to directly within the Council
   Incorporate a more enforcement element to the role through wardens receiving police
    accredited training to issue fixed penalty notices. This approach could open up potential
    funding streams from other partners like the Police who would benefit from this work.
   Change how caretaking and cleaning services are delivered to sheltered scheme
    communal rooms and areas of flats and use these savings to fund a neighbourhood
    warden.
   Ask businesses to sponsor a team of neighbourhood wardens (Central & Hindpool)

6. Conclusion
Although many warden schemes have not been formally evaluated, those that have
generally show a positive impact in increasing residents’ satisfaction with the area they live,
reducing fear of crime and a perceived improvement in environmental problems .
(Communities and Local Government Department).

With the current economic environment, evidencing the impact and justifying the rationale
for the warden schemes is important, as too is looking at different ways to try and sustain
the service.

This November saw the Government pledge to give £10 million to 130 targeted Councils,
including £54k to Sheffield City Council, to help tackle antisocial behaviour by focusing on
support and resources for frontline staff in the City, which could potentially involve
neighbourhood wardens.

Although this is not a huge amount of money, it is a sign that there is Government support
and recognition of the importance of services like wardens in helping local people feel safer
and more engaged with services and their community. This funding may offer an
opportunity for a sustainable warden service through partnership working.




Sam Killick
Sharrow Partnership Officer
January 2010



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