HC Deb 24 July 2000 vol 354 cc457-8W
Mr. Coaker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what support is available to local authorities which wish to set up neighbourhood warden schemes; and if he will make a statement; [131578]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the police about neighbourhood warden schemes; [131598]

(3) what discussions he has had with local authorities about neighbourhood warden schemes; [131577]

(4) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of neighbourhood warden schemes run by local authorities. [131576]

Mr. Charles Clarke

In 1999, the Home Office conducted a study with the aim of collecting information on the types of neighbourhood warden schemes operating in Britain and where possible to examine the effectiveness of such schemes. Fifty existing and recent neighbourhood wardens projects were examined, a good proportion of which were funded at least in part by local authorities. Partnership proved to be a crucial aspect of a large number of the initiatives. It was concluded that further research was needed to establish the impact of neighbourhood wardens schemes on levels of crime and disorder and quality of life in local areas and to identify elements of good practice. The Home Office subsequently commissioned further research which is examining eight neighbourhood warden schemes in detail. The report of this research will be available later this year.

The Home Office study of neighbourhood warden schemes was conducted in support of Policy Action Team (PAT) 6 on Neighbourhood Wardens set up by the Social Exclusion Unit. Following the report of PAT 6, a Neighbourhood Wardens Unit was established jointly funded by the Home Office and the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). An Advisory Committee was set up to advise the Unit on a broad range of issues on neighbourhood wardens. The Advisory Committee meet quarterly and consist of representatives who have a key interest in neighbourhood wardens, including the police and local authorities. More specifically, the advisory committee includes members from: Association of Police Authorities National Black Police Association Association of Chief Police Officers Association of Town Centre Managers.

There is also a Practitioners Group consisting of existing neighbourhood warden scheme managers which includes members from local authorities.

Some £13.5 million of Government funding has been made available over three years until March 2003 for the funding of new or expanded neighbourhood warden schemes and for evaluation of those schemes. The Neighbourhood Wardens Fund is being administered by the Neighbourhood Wardens Unit in the DETR. Local authorities and others have been eligible to apply for this funding.