A new resolution service has been launched by East and Midlothian Councils. The service is a partnership between our Community Safety Teams and Antisocial Behaviour Officers, together with schools, housing agencies and community organisations.

Our aim is to help residents in dispute find a solution to their issues, avoiding the need for enforcement actions which could worsen relationships. We promote tolerance and the right of every resident to enjoy peace and quiet in their own home, with respect for and from their neighbour.

We can help with a number of issues that can cause stress and the breakdown of relationships within communities, including:

  • Loud music
  • Inconsiderate parking in streets
  • Noisy/messy pets
  • Boundary disputes, shared access
  • Communal repairs
  • Minor verbal harassment

Such issues can exacerbate mental health problems, while some people may be more vulnerable because of age, disability or if they live on their own.

How does the resolution service work?

From the outset, we will highlight to all parties that our councils and their partners want people to resolve their issues and that the service is designed to help them get there using the following steps:

  • Our resolution officers will receive a referral from our partners where they believe there is an opportunity for us to help.
  • We meet with each person separately to establish what is happening, how you feel and how you think things can be resolved.
  • We will not take sides or be judgmental - we will help you find common ground and encourage practical solutions.
  • We will bring people together with our team and help find a solution and agreement. If it is difficult for people to be together the resolution officers can act as a go-between to reach agreement.
  • Once agreement is reached and a resolution is found, we will monitor and support each party until they are satisfied that the dispute is in the past.

At the end of the process, we will report back to our referrers and partners. We will either advise that the service has brought an end to the dispute or, in some cases, that alternative action may require consideration.

As a last resort, this could result in tenancy warnings, antisocial behaviour warnings or, possibly, legal action.