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Payments for single turbine planning applications - G0141/181213
This member authority would like to hear from other APSE members in relation to whether:

  • they are taking up front payments for single turbine planning applications in lieu of Section 96 of the Roads Scotland Act (S59 in England) agreement?
  • if so, are they covered by conditions on planning permissions that are issued or by any other methods?

Funfairs - G0141/171213
A member authority is considering undertaking a procurement process for the holding of Funfairs. They are considering various options including:

  • Funfair operator for the provision of all fairs throughout the borough, or
  • Separate tenders for each location

Have you recently gone out to tender or considered the procurement of Funfairs?

  • If so how this was handled in relation to the Showmens Guild conditions i.e. did they take account of this or go out to tender in spite of their requirements?

Fly tipping on housing HRA land - G0143/241213
This local authority is interested in hearing from colleagues about how they deal with the issue of fly tipping on housing HRA land and the expectation from customers that the council will always collect.


  • Do you have a set process on dealing with fly tipping on housing HRA land and could you provide details?
  • Do you focus on education and cultural change and if so how?
  • Do you focus on enforcement and if so how?

Trading Accounts and Job Costing Systems and move to monthly pay roll - G0140
This member authority as part of its Trading Account operations currently uses the Ramesys ‘Mentor’ system for job costing and is looking to move its fortnightly paid staff onto monthly pay. They would like to know:

  • If you have already moved staff from fortnightly or weekly pay onto monthly pay systems and
  • What job costing system you use and
  • How you have overcome the problem of reconciling hourly costing with monthly payroll

Delivering combined street scene / highways / waste / transport services - G0138/121213
This authority is considering having ONE contract in place (either with the DLO, one contractor or through a consortium approach) to deliver the following suite of services:

  • Highways Maintenance (planned and reactive)
  • Street Lighting
  • Winter Maintenance
  • Recycling and Waste Collection
  • Street Cleansing
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Fleet Maintenance and management

They would like to hear if others have considered or established such an approach for all, or some, of the above list and what operational arrangements they have put in place.

Frequency of maintaining highway verges – G0139/171213
As part of the budget setting process this member authority is currently reviewing how frequently it maintains Council highway verges (grass cutting and litter clearance) and as part of this process they are looking to understand how frequently other councils maintain their verges.

Any information that APSE members could feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Impact and outcome measures in Sport, Leisure, Parks and Community Services - G0137/021213
This local authority is interested in developing a performance management framework around impacts and outcomes within the sport, leisure, parks and communities service. Have you done something similar and can you provide any guidance and advice around the following questions:

  • How do you measure the impact of what your sport, leisure, parks or/and communities services do?
  • What impacts have you identified in your sport, leisure, parks or/and communities context? (e.g. reduced anti-social behaviour, public health improvement etc.)
  • What impacts do you measure and how? (e.g. PI definitions, measurement methodology, primary and secondary indicators, quantitative, qualitative)

Council Manager instead of a Chief Executive? G0136/281113
This local authority is currently exploring options to replace the Chief Executive role with a Council manager.

  • Do you have any reports about such a change?
  • Have you done this or are you considering doing this?
  • What was the outcome ?

Understanding Service Costs for Quoting and Tendering- Schedule of Rates - G0134/21113
This local authorities is interested in better understanding their service costs for the purpose of quoting and tendering within ground maintenance operations. They would be interested in hearing from colleagues operating an in-house operation on the following questions:

  • What are your current schedule of rates?
  • How have you done about formulating those schedule of rates?
  • Would you be happy to talk further about this on the phone/by email?

Restructuring Waste and Cleansing - Waste collection, Cleansing, HWRC’s and Waste Transfer under one operational manager - G0133/151113
This local authority is looking to restructure their waste and cleansing operations, bringing waste, cleansing, House Waste & Recycling Centre and waste transfer operations under one operational manager. All of these operations are in-house. They would be interested in hearing from colleagues on the following questions:

  • Do you run the same set of services (waste collection, cleansing, HWRC’s and waste transfer) under one operational manager?
  • What is your operational structure?
  • Do you have specific supervisors for each functional area, or do you have general supervision covering all areas?
  • How many staff (approximately) do you employ on these operations?
  • How’s it working out? Any lessons learnt you would be willing to share?
  • Would you be willing for a visit/phone call to discuss further?

Model Service Level Agreements and client / commissioner roles in environmental / highways services - G0119/131113
This member authority is currently reviewing service delivery options. They would welcome details and any copy documentation on the following:

Any external contract or internal SLAs setting out approaches to service specifications in respect of:

  • Waste Management
  • Street Cleansing
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Parks
  • Highways

They would also be interested to know how you structure your client / commissioning roles in respect of any contracts / SLAs.

Procuring Gas and Electricity- maximising value for money - G0135/211113
A member authority wishes to ensure that it maximises the value for money it receives from procuring its corporate utilities (gas and electric).

In recent years it has been using a broker to run its OJEU procurement tender for the supply of these corporate utilities and this has delivered some savings

  • Do any other authorities use a broker to procure its corporate utilities?
  • If so what are the business benefits of this?
  • How long is the contract with the broker for and does the broker charge a fee?
  • What percentage level of savings have the broker been able to deliver / say they expect to deliver on an annual basis ,year by year  i.e. year 1, year 2, year 3
  • What is the company name of the broker that is used?
  • Are there any other considerations from your authorities experience?
  • If this is possible what is the most realistic and shortest timescale for this please?

Street Scene / Highway inspector job descriptions - G0130/011113
This authority is looking at establishing a street scene service and would appreciate examples of job descriptions for highways inspector covering regular issues such as carriageway/footway safety inspections as well as issues concerning lighting, street cleansing and grounds maintenance.

WWI - Commemorations and planting poppy seeds in Council parks - G0132/061113
This Local Authority is interested in hearing from other local authorities on the following:

  • Are you considering or do you have plans in place to plant poppy seeds / create poppy fields in your parks and open spaces?
  • If so how are you going about it?
  • If you have already done so, any top tips?

?Any information and advise you are able to offer would be very much appreciated. All those who contribute to this network query will receive the collated feedback report.

Benefit derived by those using council vehicles as home to work transport - G0131/041113
This authority is currently looking at a possible charge for the benefit derived by employees having use of a council vehicle as home to work transport.

They are interested to have sight of information produced by other authorities who have also looked at this issue and which may help them to decide the viability of such an option contributing to the savings they are required to achieve. Any information would be gratefully received.

Vehicle livery - costs and savings - G0129/311013
This authority is looking at vehicle disposal arrangements and changing the method of applying livery and procuring vehicles in either white or a solid colour in order to improve the upfront price and potentially the price obtained on disposal.   Livery would then be applied in-house through the use of adhesive vinyl decals, which can be removed prior to disposal, enabling the vehicle to be sold in its original factory colour paint, proving more attractive to bidders and as such achieving stronger bids at auction.

They would like to hear from other APSE members with experience of the following:

  • Have local authorities experienced that the choice of livery financially impacts on the purchase and or leasing price and arrangement, and if so what is the cost of this?
  • Have local authorities experienced that the choice of livery impacts on the re-sale price, and if so what level of savings/ increase in sale price were realised?
  • Have any local authorities moved from full livery to 1 factory colour for cost reasons and if so what levels of savings were achieved?
  • What percentage of local authorities has full livery (i.e. 2 colours or more)?

Communications with local communities through social media G0128
This member authority would like to hear from any councils that have introduced innovative or different ways of disseminating information to local communities. They would be specifically interested in examples of councils using Twitter and Facebook as new modes of communication and if so whether this through service specific or through corporate use only.

Multi-tasking for civil enforcement officers - G0127/251013
This member authority would be interested to hear from other local authorities who have adopted a multi-tasking role for civil enforcement officers.

For example:

  • Do your enforcement officers also issue Fix Penalty Notices for environmental crimes such as littering and dog fouling etc?
  • Do you operate the service in-house or via third party?
  • Are you able to share any pro's and con's associated with the multi-tasking role?
  • Are you able to share any benefits achieved?
  • Do you also operate a separate Neighbourhood Warden type role?

Residential Car Parking on HRA Land – G0126/151013
This local authority is currently looking into the installation of additional car parking bays for residential parking on HRA land it owns. They can see complications due to the fact that they own the land but the highways responsibilities lie with the county council. The authority is a district council and is interested in hearing from colleagues from other two tier councils who have done this work or are also currently looking into it.

Namely on the following:

  • How have you gone about installing parking bays on HRA land?
  • How did you manage the consultation with the various parties and departments involved?
  • Did you issue residents parking permits? What different categories did you use?
  • How do you manage the bays now? Who does your traffic management/enforcement?
  • Which teams are involved in its management (e.g. landlord services, car parks team etc)?

Any information and advice you are able to offer would be very much appreciated. All those who contribute to this network query will receive the collated feedback report.

Room Bookings - G0122/011113
A member authority is seeking a better way to book internal meeting rooms within their buildings:

  • How do you currently log room bookings?
  • Have you used Microsoft Outlook for this?
  • Do you use other software and if so what?

Procurement of large scale mechanical bulb planting – G0124/220813
This Local Authority is interested in hearing from colleagues around the issue of procuring for large scale mechanical bulb planting works. This LA wishes to undertake large-scale mechanical bulb planting on long and steep embankments as well as on level ground. Their understanding is that this is a highly specialist operation, and that there is no contractor in the UK able to undertake this sort of work. This has implications for procurement processes.

With this in mind, this LA is would be interested in hearing back from colleagues on the following:

  • Are you able to let us know if you are aware of a British or other European contractors who carry out large-scale mechanical planting?
  • Do you have a current long-term contract with a supplier for such services which you would be willing to discuss with us?

Use of council vehicles by employees at and to and from home - G0115
This APSE member authority is interested in finding out from other APSE members what their policy is on Council vehicles that are taken home by employees at the end of their shift. They are particularly interested in the following information:

  • What types of vehicles are taken home?
  • What are the limitations on use for these vehicles once taken home?
  • Would you be willing to provide a copy of your current policy in respect of employees taking vehicles home?

Recovery of Supermarket Trolleys for Income Generation – G0113/280613
This member authority has been approached by a company with an income generation proposal which involves the recovery of supermarket trolleys within the authority boundaries.

On face value this seems a reasonable model but they would like to hear from any authority who has taken up this proposal or similar activities and if possible the name(s) of the companies in this type of market.

Shift payments – G0112/140613
This APSE member is looking at revising shift payments and they would like information from other authorities as follows:

  • Do you pay shift payments?
  • What criteria do you use to determine the level of shift payments? For example night working, working outside of standard working hours?
  • What do you pay? For example a flat rate or a percentage and if so how much?
  • Would you be willing to share your scheme details or HR policy on shift payments? If so please provide a copy.

Vehicles fitted with wash basins – G0110/030613
This local authority would be interested in hearing from other authorities in terms of whether they give toolbox talks for cleaning & maintaining teal wash basins fitted to vehicles (e.g. RCV’s). Any procedural or training information would be greatly appreciated.

Dog fouling stencils / signs and enforcement issues G0111/060613

This member authority reports that although ‘No Dog Fouling’ signs or stencils are extremely popular with elected members, the feedback from the street cleansing workforce is that they do not have any impact on the amount of dog fouling they experience on the ground.

Therefore they would welcome information from other local authorities as follows:

  • Have you conducted any analysis or studies into the impact or otherwise of stencils and notices on the number of dog fouling incidents?
  • Have you operated any accompanying enforcement measures with the stencils and signs and has this had an impact on the number of dog fouling incidences?

Any other campaigns or activities that have had a positive impact on the number of dog fouling incidences.

Car Wash Service within Council Car Parks G0109/030613
This Council is interested in hearing from local authorities who offer a car washing service within car parks that are owned by the Council, namely:

  • Do you run an in house car washing service or commission external operators? If external, under what terms (e.g. Rent out spaces etc)?
  • Is the service offered for commercial outcomes or/and to delivery social aims (e.g. Return to work schemes, community safety etc)?
  • How did you go about setting you car wash scheme up? How is it now managed?

Tell me about your successes and challenges and do you have any top tips?

Local Authorities and the Living Wage G0106/070513
This local authority would be interested in hearing from Council’s who have a corporate approach to supporting the Living Wage in their localities.


  • How did you go about bringing in and enforcing the living wage?
  • How have you gone about incorporating living wage requirements into your contracts?
  • Where do you see the risks in this agenda and how are you managing these? E.g. The disconnection with UK legislation and the EU directive.

Sickness Absence Mentoring and Support – G0105/300413
This member authority is interested to know if any other authority has:

  • Employed the services of an external company or agency in terms of either receiving information on or following up sickness absence matters with employees.
  • If so was this work carried out by medically qualified staff such as Doctors or occupational nurses or was it carried out by non-qualified staff?
  • Did such work include any “challenge” role or mentoring and support of individuals to return to work and
  • Did such an approach have a positive impact on sickness absence levels?

Overtime Payments - G0104/250313

A member organisation is reviewing its overtime policy, its arrangements for managing and reporting on overtime and examining alternative options to reduce overtime levels. They would appreciate responses from other members answering the following questions:

  • Does your organisation have an overtime policy? If so, what steps did your organisation take regarding employee / TU consultation?
  • Are there any restrictions in place regarding the payment of overtime, such as payment up to a certain pay grade?
  • Are there any local agreements in place regarding overtime?

Contact Centre staffing resources – G0103/270213
This member authority is exploring its customer service function.

They currently have 10.5 full time equivalent staff, one supervisor and one manager and the service includes a contact centre (inc. switchboard), reception area and face-to-face support for visitors with various services such as licencing, council tax and benefits.

They would now like to know what other authorities have in place for the management of small customer services functions and would be particularly interested to find out:

  • What work patterns do you operate?
  • Do you work on fixed, flexi, job share, or any other arrangements to cover the service hours?
  • What measures of performance do you use? 
  • Do you have any specific quantitative or qualitative performance indicators that you would be willing to share?

When new services are taken into the contact centre, how do you work out whether to increase resources and by how much? e.g. is it driven by call volume or what other factors do you use?

Schedule of Full Council Meetings – G0101/100113
This member authority is considering reducing Full Council Meetings to four per year from the current cycle of six per year. They wish to know if any other authorities have considered such a change and would be grateful to receive responses to the following questions:

  • How many Full Council Meetings do you hold?
  • Have you reduced the numbers or are you minded to consider reducing the numbers of meetings per year?
  • In the event of reducing Full Council meetings do you have a provision for calling a meeting if urgent business were to arise?

Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association 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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