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Jo Sylvester,

Tenancy Enforcement Officer

How did you start working for Ongo?

I started as a Housing Officer for six years. I then

moved across to the Tenancy Enforcement team

as I wanted to increase my knowledge and

experience, and I've always had a passion for law.

What does your job involve?

Mainly trying to resolve anti-social behaviour (ASB)

without having to resort to legal resolutions such as

court action - this is always a last resort. I am also the

lead on the team's cuckooing project which began in

April 2019.

What is your favourite part of the role?

What gives me the greatest satisfaction is when I have

worked with tenants to prevent further ASB or breaches

of tenancy, and where we've not had to take court action

to resolve the issues. I love engaging with tenants and

trying to help them the best I can.

What is cuckooing, and what is the project that you're

involved with?

Cuckooing is the taking over of a vulnerable person's

property by drug gangs to enable them to deal drugs

from that home. Cases of cuckooing by sex workers are

also frequent - this is where a relationship is built with

a vulnerable male to gain their trust and co-operation.

Requests for sums of money then begin to be made, and

drugs start to be used at and dealt from the property too.

As part of this project, I give presentations to organisations

and other internal teams about the work I'm doing and to

help raise awareness. I also work closely in partnership

with other organisations such as Humberside Police, Safer

Neighbourhoods and Adult Social Services to work together

to protect vulnerable people in the local area.

How can readers report any suspected cuckooing?

If something doesn't feel right, then please report it to the

police by calling 101. If the property/tenant is covered by

us, then I can look into the case. You can contact me at

jo.sylvester@ongo.co.uk or tenancyenquiries@ongo.co.uk

You have been shortlisted in the 'Best Project' category at

the National Resolve ASB awards later this year. How did it

feel to be recognised?

I was over the moon and incredibly excited, but my main

purpose is to highlight the good work that the whole team is

doing on cuckooing and to educate other housing providers

on what has worked for us in tackling the problem.

I am a great believer in sharing information and experiences.

If I can help others, then I've won in my eyes.

A day in the life of...

What is something you've learnt so far this year?

I've embraced the use of digital technology in these

difficult times - for example, my partner and I

recently did a virtual pub quiz and it was great fun.

I've also learnt how to cook macaroni cheese from

scratch!

If you could be a member of a fictional family, who

would it be? I love the works of Jane Austen so I

would choose to be a part of the Bennett family (from

Pride and Prejudice).

If you wished to paint one scene of where you've

been before, what would you paint? One of the most

touching scenes was standing on the beaches at

Normandy and seeing some World War II platforms

still there. It was a very humbling and emotional

experience.

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