The Community Trigger is the name generally applied to the Response to Complaints section of the 2014 Act and enables victims to require agencies to carry out a review of their response to the anti-social behaviour they reported where they feel they did not get a satisfactory response. It is also known as the ASB Case Review. The two names are used interchangeably.
If a person has made a complaint about anti-social behaviour in a particular local government area the relevant bodies in that area must carry out an ASB case review if
a) that person, or any other person, makes an application for such a review (activates the Community Trigger); and
b) the relevant bodies decide that the threshold for a review is met.
Each Local Authority area sets its own threshold but the most common threshold is likely to be if someone has complained 3 times in a 6 month period and feels nothing has been done. The review will focus either on the ongoing anti-social behaviour about which the original complaint was made or on the adequacy of the response to that behaviour. Either way, victims should see a full, independent review of their complaint.
The relevant bodies who carry out an ASB case review must inform the applicant of the outcome of the review and any recommendations made. They must also publish each year how many triggers have been activated and how many case reviews have been carried out.
Each Local Authority must specify the point of contact for activating the Community Trigger and ensure that applications made to that point of contact are passed on to all the relevant bodies in the local government area. The statutory guidelines advise that this information is made clear and that there be a number of ways of activating the trigger.
We are compiling a list of the contact information for each local Community Trigger here.
Our Original Analysis when it became Law
We are very positive about this new tool as it is a real opportunity for victims to be heard. It sounds great on paper but we hope that this will translate into results. We will be watching it carefully – to see how well it is publicised, how easy organisations make it to activate, and whether they will be as transparent as suggested in the legislation and statutory guidelines.
We suspect some areas may go on the defensive and see it as another complaints process but we hope that it will have a positive impact on problem situations, bringing together all relevant parties to discuss issues and get results. We hope victims feel heard, understand more about what is being done to help them, and as a result gain greater confidence in the agencies involved.
We are concerned that the most vulnerable will not be reached and hope that publicity will focus on getting the word out to those who most need it, who may have been suffering from the effects of anti-social behaviour for years and yet feel ignored as nothing seems to change in spite of them reporting the problems.