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The latest network queries circulated for this service are listed below. 

If you would like more information about any of these queries or want to submit a response, please email Alistair Holcroft.

Network queries from previous years are available on the links at the bottom of the page, you can also view queries for:

G0336 - Mileage Rates and Car User Criteria – 20.11.17

This APSE member authority is seeking to benchmark against other
local authorities in relation to car user status. The information
requested is as follows:

  • What car mileage rates do you use? (e.g. HMRC, NJC rates for casual/essential, all engine sizes used)
  • Do you have essential and casual car users?
  • If so, what criteria do you use to establish car user status?
  • Do you have guidance on how the criteria is applied? (If so, please provide copy)


G0335 - Accident Packs / Management - 03.11.17

This local authority would be grateful if other local authorities could
provide information on the following questions about managing
accidents :-

  1. Do drivers use accident packs?
  2. If so what does the pack contain?
  3. If it contains a disposable camera how do they develop the pictures?
  4. Is there any other ways of accident management that does not use telematics ?


G0332 - School Crossing Patrols - 11.10.17

A member authority is reviewing their approach to School Crossing
Patrols services to see how the service can be effectively delivered,
at a reduced cost.

They are seeking examples of how other local authorities have
reduced the cost of the service either through service reductions or
through alternative funding or engineered solutions, where a change
to the road infrastructure has enabled children to safely cross
without assistance of a School Patroller to help inspire their search
for new ideas.

If, in your authority you have recently reduced the costs of this
service, we would be very grateful if you could please let us know
how you have approached this, what key factors affected your
decision-making and what measures achieved the most significant
budget reductions. Any further information you can supply that may
assist this authority such as any discussion/research papers would
also be gratefully received.


G0331 - Financial assessment of projects regarding social and environmental benefits - 20.09.17

A member authority is starting to do some work on putting a
financial value against human, social and environmental benefits of their projects.

They have found examples in the private sector but it would be
helpful to know if other members have already gone through this
process or are currently doing something similar.

One of the member authorities biggest issues at the moment is how
we scope the work to ensure they hit their corporate aims and
objectives as a priority, but equally don’t miss out on any additional


G0330 - Place Based Structures - 20.09.17

This authority would like to ask others to:

  1. provide details of their managerial and operational Place Based Structures.
  2. include what services are included in their Place Based Structures.


G0329 - Public Toilets - 11.09.17

This local authority would be grateful if other local authorities could
provide information on the following Questions regarding public
toilets :-

  1. Has any Local Authority explored the option of transferring their Public Toilets to local community groups to operate. If so could you please share these details.
  2. Has any Local Authority explored the option of selling or leasing their Public Toilets to private company to operate. If so could you please share these details.


G0328 - Agile and flexible working – 25.08.17

This local authority are looking to implement agile and flexible
working as part of their WorkSmart programme and would like to
hear from other authorities who have undertaken this recently.

They are particularly interested in hearing about:

  • the approaches they have taken,
  • any tools or techniques they have used,
  • issues they encountered and how they addressed these
  • and any lessons learned that would influence their approach if they were starting the process again


G0327 - Contract Compliance Audits - 25.08.17

A member authority is seeking to undertake a Contract Compliance Audit.
They wish to verify that the Council has not been charged/paid for
anything that the contractor should not have charged for and that
the amounts charged/paid are correct in accordance with the
contract and goods, services or works delivered and subsequent
Contract Negotiation processes.

Have you carried out contract compliance audits?

  • What were the key findings and learning gained from undertaking an audit?
  • Did the process realise any windfall savings through the recovery of overpayments?
  • Were there any major obstacles to recovering overpayments?

Did you engage a third party to carry out the audit?

  • How was that structured and priced (e.g. fixed price, percentage of overpayments recovered etc.)


G0325 - Comparing local authority approaches to allocating and processing Community Grants - 11.08.17

A member authority is seeking to benchmark their approach to
Community Grants and to help with this, would be very grateful for
short replies to the below questions, which will then be shared with
all who respond.

  • Grant Applications: What amount and type of information do other local authorities require from applicants and how do they manage the intake process?
  • Grant Decisions: Who makes grant decisions, how are they made, and how long does it take to make them?
  • Grantee Reporting: What information is asked for, how are reports used and what happens when reports aren’t received?
  • Grant Monitoring: How often do they monitor funded groups and if necessary how are changes handled once a grant is made?
  • Paperless Grantmaking: Are any other local authoritiesmaking the entire grantmaking process paperless from the initial proposal intake through the decision-making process and even agreements, payments, and reporting?



G0324 - Lone working Alarms - 01.08.17

A member authority is seeking information on the technology you
use to protect lone workers and service users operating remotely (
e.g. GPS trackers / Alarms/ Phone Apps etc)

  • Do you presently use a similar lone-working/personal alarm devices?
  • What features and benefits do these devices offer you, as a Council?
  • What features and benefits do they offer your service users as the customers?


G0323 - Random Drug & Alcohol Testing - 07.08.17

A member authority is looking at the issue of random Drug &
Alcohol testing of Drivers
Please can you confirm the following:

  • Does your authority currently conduct random tests?
  • Is your authority actively working towards implementing it?
  • Are you considering it for the future?

If you have decided not to pursue random testing, what alternative
action do you take if any?



G0323 - Freedom of Information Requests , Processes and Procedures - 27.07.17

A member authority is looking to make improvements to how they
deliver responses to Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) and
are seeking examples of procedures and processes in place within
other authorities that enable a good response rate and ensure
queries are handled efficiently, logged centrally and processed in a
way that other team members can quickly pick up if key staff are

To help with this, they would be very grateful if you could please
share any documentation available, which outlines your internal
approach to handling an FOI and if possible, include a sentence
about what works well in your approach and in particular, what helps
ensure an efficient and effective response rate.

They would also be grateful to hear from any local authority within
APSE’s Southern region that might be interested in delivering a joint
approach to FOI requests.


G0322 - Volunteering Opportunities - 26.07.17

A member authority, along with APSE, is interested in exploring
where other local authorities utilise volunteers
Please can you provide information on the following:

  1. In which areas do you utilize volunteers?
  2. Any best practice documents in relation to volunteering opportunities
  3. Do you have a council policy on volunteering ( if so please share)
  4. How and what do they record to report on volunteering take up
  5. How do you advertise volunteering opportunities


G0321 - Reviewing Events Support - 28.06.17

An APSE member authority is currently reviewing their Events
Support[1] processes and methodology and would welcome details
of other local authority members approaches, in particular:-

  • Do you support events internally? If so is support a centralised or distributed function?
  • Do you outsource events support?
  • Do you use a hybrid model? If so what criteria are used to determine the support model?
  • What policies, processes or procedures do you have in place and are you able to share any examples?
  • How many events are supported annually?

[1] The Council delivers and/or supports a wide range of events
across a number of its functions including Tourism, Regeneration,
Arts, Leisure and Democratic Services. These events require
support from other Council Services including, but not limited to,
Waste and Cleansing, Assets and Property, Corporate
Communications and Administration.


G0320 - Digital Readiness - 07.06.17

This local authority would like to know if any other member
authorities are doing any work on Digital Readiness Assessment


G0319 - Parking for Council employees in the field -260517

APSE has received reports that social care staff are spending
significant periods of time accessing parking close to service users’
In residents only parking areas, what provision is made to enable
the following employees to park? (e.g. permits, designated spaces

  • social workers?
  • carers?
  • education welfare officers?


G0318 - Use of Self Service Kiosks in Customer Contact Centres -100517

This APSE member authority is looking for information on the use of
self-service kiosks and in particular they would welcome details on
the following areas:-

  1. Do you have Self Service Kiosks in Customer Service Centres?
  2. What type of kiosk is it?
  3. What are the associated costs?
  4. Can you provide feedback on how useful/ utilised they are?
  5. What is the functionality of the kiosks?


G0317 - Naming Rights for Bridges -100517

Do any local authorities have experience in selling naming rights?
This local authority is considering selling the naming rights to a
bridge they are building and are reaching out for advice to any local
authorities who have experience in this area.


G0315 - Lettings for Local Authority Schools - 110517

A member authority is seeking information in relation to school
lettings. The authority would like details relating to the following:-

  1. Are schools within your LA made available for lets?
  2. Who has overall responsibility for managing the lets?
  3. Who manages the bookings?
  4. How are bookings processed within your LA?
  5. Are online payments available?
  6. Is payment required in advance of the booking?
  7. Do you have examples of pricing structures that you would be willing to share?


G0314 - Strategic approach to community grants - 270417

A member authority is reviewing their approach to Community
Grants and would very much value comments from colleagues
across the membership with regards to the following questions, to
enable them to benchmark their current approach:

  • Within your authority, do you provide a Community Grants programme?
  • Do you allocate the grants annually or over a multi-year cycle?
  • Briefly, how do Community groups apply for funding?
  • On what principles are the allocations decided?
  • What is the overall budget available for Community Grants?


G0313 - Management of technical skills training programmes - 120417

Following the restructuring of their Council and centralisation of the
Training budget this member authority would like to ask how other
authorities manage their Technical Skills training programme. E.g.
Drivers CPC, Sector 12, Signing Lighting & Guarding, Abrasive
Wheels, First Aid, Needlestick & Sharps, COTs (Cemetery
Operatives Training) etc. In particular they would be grateful if you
could answer the following questions:-

  • Do you have dedicated inhouse trainers?
  • Do your managers/foremen train their own staff?
  • Do you use external providers?
  • What systems do you use to record and manage accredited training?
  • Is your authority training budget centralised or managed by departments?
  • If centralised, how do ensure that you receive training requirements to meet service needs?
  • Would you mind if we contacted you direct to discuss these areas further?


G0312 - Public Sector Taxation and Investment Advisors - 100417

This APSE member authority is currently exploring their future
investment strategy and as such they will be seeking to procure
specialist advisors on taxation, including VAT and Investment (
including risk assessment and management ) as part of the process
and to ensure due diligence in any reports to elected members.
Accordingly they would be interest to find out the experience of
other APSE member authorities and specifically as follows:-

  • Which advisors did you select and on what basis?
  • How was your experience of the advisors?
  • Did you consider you received bespoke advice to your circumstances rather than ‘off the shelf’ solutions?
  • What costs did you incur? Were these costs recoverable from any returns or efficient tax / investment models put forward by the advisors?


G0311 - Business planning software - 290317

This APSE member authority is reviewing its business planning
software. They would be interested to learn what business planning
software or KPI software systems you use across your business
planning processes. They would be interested in your experiences;
successful or otherwise, including costs if known.


G0310 - Review of communications, print and design functions - 290317

This APSE member authority is currently reviewing their
communications, print and design functions and they would be
interested to learn how other councils
deliver media and communications. In particular they would be
pleased to receive the following information.

  1. How is your service currently structured; what jobs and roles are within the service? What are the reporting structures?
  2. What services offered? For example Print, Print Buying, PR, Internal Communications etc.
  3. What is produced within the service?


G0309 - Use of seasonal workers - 160317

This council would like to ask other members about their approach
to the use of seasonal workers to deal with the peaks and troughs
of the demands of different service areas. In particular:

  • Which service areas employ seasonal workers?
  • For each service area, what would be the normal start and end dates for seasonal workers?
  • For each service area, what type of work activities are carried out by seasonal workers?
  • For each service area, what proportion of the workforce is made up of seasonal workers and has this increased or decreased over time?
  • Do you see any changes in your approach to the use of seasonal workers in the future?



Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit local government body working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.




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