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The Use of ASBOs in Scotland. Hal Pawson, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Presentation Outline. Scotland’s ASBO regime Trends in use of ASBOs Types of misconduct prompting ASBO applications ASB perpetrators subject to ASBOs Evidence on impacts and outcomes

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The Use of ASBOs in Scotland


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    1. The Use of ASBOs in Scotland Hal Pawson, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

    2. Presentation Outline • Scotland’s ASBO regime • Trends in use of ASBOs • Types of misconduct prompting ASBO applications • ASB perpetrators subject to ASBOs • Evidence on impacts and outcomes • Draws on Scottish Government research undertaken by DTZ Pieda Research and Heriot-Watt University

    3. Research Methodology • Annual questionnaire surveys of all Scottish LAs and HAs • Focus group discussions with ‘ASBO practitioners’ • Case study work in 4 LAs (Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire) • Interviews with key stakeholder agency staff • Casefile reviews of recent ASBO cases • Analysis of restrictions specified in recent ASBOs

    4. ASBO Regime in Scotland – Key Differences from England & Wales • LAs are the main ‘lead agency’; police role essentially supportive • Until 2004, ASBOs could be sought only for ASB perpetrators aged 16 and over • ASBOs now obtainable for ASB perpetrators aged 12-15 but… • Proposed ASBO application must be endorsed by Children’s Hearing • Breach of ASBO by a person aged 12-15 cannot be punished by custodial sentence

    5. National Trends in ASBO Use • Rising ASBO numbers in Scotland tailing off – estimated 10% increase in 2006/07 • ASBO numbers proportionately greater in England since 2003/04 • No English ASBO statistics published for 2006 • Scottish Government has ceased to collect ASBO statistics since 2005/06 • Estimated 2006/07 figure informed by non-official source (Scottish Housing Best Value Network benchmarking data)

    6. ASBOs vs. Alternative ‘Enforcement’ Measures • Signs of inverse relationship between ASBO applications and LA eviction actions • Appropriate comparison given that most ASBO applications relate to social tenants • Hypothesis that ASBOs increasingly substituted for ‘big stick’ of threat to tenancy • But need to bear in mind that eviction actions also increasingly substituted by conversion of tenancy to SSST status

    7. Variability of ASBO Use • Rates of ASBO use per 100,000 households among larger LAs vary from over 80 to 3 • Major unanswered questions about such variability – e.g. to what extent can ‘low use’ LAs demonstrate more effective alternative approaches? • Scottish LAs generally some way ‘down the rankings’ of ASBO users • Dissatisfaction among ministers in former administration at ‘ASBO inaction’ of Glasgow (lowest ASBO rate in graphic) • SNP manifesto pledged to: • ‘Review and improve’ ASBO regime • Look at giving ASBO powers to community councils Notes: 1. Average annual ‘ASBOs granted’ rate for 2004/05 and 2005/06 2. Scottish LAs shown in red

    8. Types of Misconduct Triggering ASBOs • 80% of ASBOs issued in response to misconduct in or near perpetrator’s home • Small but rising % of ASBOs triggered by offences in commercial or public areas – up from 3% in 2003/04 to 12% in 2005/06. These tend to involve: • Prolific shoplifters • Individuals acting antisocially in offices of local services • Rowdy behaviour in parks • Commonest trigger for ASBO action: disturbance of neighbours by ‘excess noise’ in the home • Around two thirds of ASBOs triggered by ‘criminal’ activities – in some instances ASBO action clearly initiated instead of criminal proceedings

    9. Profile of ‘ASBO Perpetrators’ (1) • Some 80% of individuals subject to ASBOs live in social housing • Reinforces impression of ASBOs as largely a ‘housing management tool’ • Only a minority of ‘ASBO subjects’ are young people – sharp contrast with England • Virtually no ASBOs granted in respect of school-age children • Women accounted for 38% of ‘ASBO subjects’ in 2005/06

    10. Profile of ‘ASBO Perpetrators’ (2) • Mitigating factors/underlying problems clearly evident in more than half of cases examined in casefile review • In all identified cases involving mental ill-health or learning difficulties support of some kind was provided prior to or alongside ASBO application

    11. ASBO Prohibitions and Terms • Reflecting the predominance of noise as an ASBO trigger, most ASBOs specify noise constraint • ASBO duration reflects differing LA policies

    12. ASBO Effectiveness (1) • Measuring incidence of ‘ASBO breaches’ proved difficult; several factors here: • LAs considered monitoring breaches ‘not our job’ • Police records of breach cases not linked to LA records of ASBOs granted • Criminal proceedings frequently taking place alongside ASBO action – ASBO breach not infrequently a criminal act in itself • Opportunities for ASBO breach limited in cases where subject subsequently arrested for unconnected offence • Casefile review found that: • in 60% of ASBO cases further complaints about subject’s conduct were made following imposition of Order • 49% of ASBOs allegedly breached • In only 10% of breach cases where information was available had this led to imprisonment • Scotttish Courts data shows 192 ASBO breach convictions in 2005/06. Given the 482 ASBOs reportedly in place on 31 March 2006 this suggests a ‘breach conviction rate’ of about 40%.

    13. ASBO Effectiveness (2) • LA staff responsible for cases reviewed identified 28% where post-ASBO behaviour had noticeably improved • In 31% of cases no improvement had been seen • By implication, this will also have been true of the 5% of subjects evicted • Improving on this very simplistic assessment of ‘ASBO effectiveness’ would require more substantial research

    14. Messages on ‘ASBO effectiveness’ from York University study of street homeless people • JRF study led by Suzanne Fitzpatrick – report July 2007 • Fieldwork in 5 localities in England found that strategies to suppress street homelessness considered successful by LAs • Use of ASBOs a key element within LA strategies, though no. of Orders issued much lower than implied by media • Risk of lengthy imprisonment for ASBO breach clearly understood by most ‘ASBO subjects’ and consequently an effective deterrent • For some of those involved, ASBOs prompted positive reflection and change in behaviour – e.g. engagement with drug rehabilitation services • Effectiveness of enforcement-style approaches dependent on graduated actions and integration with support services – not always evident • Even if integrated with support provision, enforcement-style approaches inappropriate and ineffective for the most vulnerable street homeless

    15. Messages from Systematic Review of Approaches to Tackling ASB • Rand researchers commissioned by NAO to review effectiveness of ASB interventions internationally • Weakness of evaluation culture in UK reflected by insufficient data to judge effectiveness of tools such as ASBOs or Youth Justice support measures • Limited international evidence (mainly US) suggests effective interventions include parenting training and early childhood programmes • Programme evaluations meta-analysis showed ‘deterrent’ or coercive sanctions tended to have negative effects on recidivism among young people • While Home Office commissioned ASBO effectiveness evaluation, this was only relatively small scale and remains unpublished long after completion • Meanwhile, policy push arguably continues to be driven by enforcement-style model

    16. Summary/Conclusions • Use of ASBOs continues to expand, though apparently tailing off • Wide variations in use of ASBOs from area to area • In the Scottish context, ASBOs still largely a social landlord ‘housing management tool’ • Marked Scotland/England contrast on profile of persons subject to Orders • Somewhat ambiguous evidence as regards ASBO effectiveness in Scotland • Change of government May 2007 brings possibility of new thinking on ASBO regime – though no definite evidence as yet

    17. References • DTZ Pieda Research & Heriot-Watt University (2007) Monitoring the Use of ASBOs in Scotland; http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/198276/0053019.pdf • Johnsen, S. & Fitzpatrick, S. (2007) The Impact of Enforcement on Street Users in England; Bristol: Policy Press http://www.jrf.org.uk/bookshop/details.asp?pubID=904 • Rubin, J., Rabinovich, L., Hallsworth, M. and Nason, E. (2006) Interventions to Reduce Anti-social Behaviour and Crime: A review of effectiveness and costs; London: National Audit Office; http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/nao_reports/06-07/060799_rand_europe.pdf