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Neighbourhood agreements - A recipe for keeping the place clean and tidy (17 Oct 09)

Something very simple but highly effective. So why arenít there more of them?


Joe Micheli, Principal Social Inclusion Officer for Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council has just sent me the latest Clean and Tidy Neighbourhood Agreements for New Lodge and Athersley and for Kendray in Barnsley.

They are called Clean and Tidy Agreements because they deal with issues such as litter and general tidiness of areas, graffiti, dumping of rubbish and waste, refuse collection, street and road sweeping, abandoned or unwanted cars and recycling and rubbish collection.

I am passing them onto you because I am always struck by how something so simple as a Neighbourhood Agreement can be so effective. But I am also always astonished that there are not more of these agreements as they really do work and the benefits can be enormous.

Neighbourhood agreements simply involve residents and service providers sitting down and working out what people are unhappy with. Because this is done in an organised way they are able to agree what changes are needed and then introduce them.

The agreement lists what service providers and residents have agreed to do, as well as basic information about services so everybody knows what to expect. It also describes how the agreement will be monitored.

And if you are a small landlord for heavenís sake please donít be put off from trying something like this out, as the same principles still apply.

In fact there is no reason why this approach canít be used for something as small as a sheltered housing scheme. You might call it something different, like a Scheme Agreement, and naturally it would involve different types of organisations, but you would still go through the same process.

Setting up an agreement is great because for the first time service providers and residents are forced to really look at exactly what services are meant to be provided and what is actually being provided.

In the case of Kendray and New Lodge and Oldham several departments of the council, Berneslai Homes (a housing association), local councillors and residents signed up to the agreement.

You can probably guess what commitments the agreement cover but here is a list:

You can have a look at the agreements by clicking here and here. They really are worth a careful read.
While your there, why not take a look at our monitoring forms. They cover services provided by Neighbourhood Services, Highway Services, Waste Management  and the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

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Comment by laura  herefordshire housing ó 18 Aug 09 at 11:37:49

We are developing good neighbour agreements in hotspot areas . i like the glossiness of barnsley but the actual language used for the agreement is negative -
we have focussed on setting standards of behaviour etc which forms from a positive statement . they focus on the environment & personal behaviour . this is the beauty of these agreements as one can tailor them to the local residents concerns .
we purposely use positive language in estate standards & agreements as this helps residents to focus on whats ok & not what is not . so if i am told i can not eat chocolate - i end up really wanting chocolate !!


Comment by Zbyszek Nottingham City Council ó 18 Aug 09 at 13:06:55

Very useful, we are working within a Nottingham citywide Neighbourhood Management Team with one Area Mangers for 2 or 3 electoral Wards. Neighbourhood Action Officer work closely with Ward Councillors, usually three Councillors per Ward across the 20 city wards.

We work closely with all officers providing services in the Ward across the City including Beat Managers in the Police, Street Scene team, Community Wardens,and Commmunity and vountary sector organisations.
We are working on Anti Social Behaviour prevnetion :Plans for specific neighbourhoods where this idea of neighbourhood agreements could be the next stage.


Comment by Yvonne Family Mosaic Housing ó 21 Aug 09 at 15:33:10

We started a similar system last year on our Estates, called My Place, the Residents along with housing management and asset management staff toured the Estate and rated it according to an agreed criteria i.e. bronze, silver or gold, and an action plan agreed to take it to the next level. We allocated funds from our asset management budget for community investment and residents prioritised the spend. Although its early days the difference to our estates can already be seen.


Comment by Pam Moat ó 24 Aug 09 at 18:17:36

I found this agreement very useful and will consider using in on Stanhope where we have some issues with litter. I agree that the language needs to be much more positive in order for people to take notice of it.


Comment by Maxine East Ayrshire Council ó 27 Aug 09 at 14:44:15

We have a group in our area who are really frustrated with the management of their neighbourhood. I will definately be recommending the monitoring forms to them to help them to record and report issues.

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