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Welcome to the learning4housing blog. I will be posting my thoughts and opinions on a range of issues facing the social housing sector. You are more than welcome to post your comments, whether you agree or disagree on the points. The aim here is to stimulate some debate on these issues, whether they are about current government policy or about best practice in housing management or strategy.

is an independent training provider for the social housing sector. We cover a wide range of subject areas, including anti-social behaviour, homelessness, resident involvement, void control, choice-based lettings, and complaints management, as well as personal skills development around communication, negotiation, assertiveness, influencing, managing people, etc. Please visit the main website for more information at

Please call David on 07986 246406 to discuss your training needs and how we can help, or email at

Monday, August 15

'Punishing' the rioters?

In the aftermath of the recent disturbances in some major cities, there is clearly a vast opportunity for politicians of all colours to begin their diagnosis and their various recommendations for treating the ills of society. Two of the main ones that have emerged appear to be the removal of benefits from those people who have been convicted of offences relating to the disturbances, and for the eviction from social housing tenancies of perpetrators and their families. 

Now I have never been totally comfortable with the increasing levels of responsibility for social landlords to deal with anti-social behaviour. Whilst there are some clear breaches of tenancy agreements that should be dealt with, the constant blurring of what are police and criminal justice responsibilities and those of social landlords can sometimes cause confusion on the part of tenants and others. I am also uncomfortable about politicians introducing opportunistic and populist  policies in an attempt to look as though they know all the answers, or just to look tough. The trouble is that we have not had a time to reflect on the issue in any depth, and the adoption of knee jerk responses has a real possibility of either having no effect whatsoever, or even to make matters worse. 

The causes of the disturbances are clearly complex. To adopt simple remedies as a response could be a dangerous thing.

I would be very interested to read the views of other people from the social housing world on this issue.

David Wardle
August 15, 2011.

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