Could you help rowing neighbours smooth the waters in Norwich?
PUBLISHED: 16:25 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 12 July 2019
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The search is on for new mediators to settle neighbourhood squabbles in the city, with the council on the lookout for a private company to act as a middle man in household rows.
Norwich City Council has started hunting for an organisation to help settle rows between neighbours living in its area of responsibility.
These could be disputes over noise, boundaries, pets, parking, children or mess, as the council looks to help keep the peace between neighbouring families.
Previously the city council has dealt with neighbourhood disputes through its housing department, however, this limited the number of people that could benefit from the mediation service.
On average, the council receives between 70 and 100 cases of neighbourly spats a year, but when dealt with by the housing team this meant only those living in council-owned properties could benefit.
Since the responsibility was passed to the community safety team - around three years ago - it began the use of independent mediators to help smooth the waters.
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However, with the current contract now expiring, City Hall is now on the lookout for somebody to provide the service, which it hopes to pay between £5,000 and £15,000 per year for.
A key change to the service, though, will be that people will need to refer themselves directly to the mediator, rather than through the council itself.
A city council spokesman said: "The council has offered an independent mediation service for some time now and has recently introduced a self-referral process.
"This has been a positive tool in providing conflict resolutions and is used mainly in neighbour disputes - which are often reported as anti-social behaviour.
"The current contract has come to an end and organisations and companies can apply now to provide the service for mediation, conflict resolution and building resilience."
Currently the council's mediation service is provided by an organisation called Catch22 and is provided free of charge to anybody in the Norwich area.
Once people have referred themselves, it will be up to the mediator to decide whether the case warrants their help.
The new contract would begin at the start of October, lasting until March 31, 2021, with an option to extend it an additional four years.