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G0259 - Vehicle Trackers - Council Policy - 091215

A member authority is installing tracking devices on their vehicle fleet.
They are interested to find examples of Council Policy documents including such areas as:

  • Use of the data by management and admin
  • Use of data for disciplinary matters
  • Expectation of those driving the vehicle

If you have a policy document that you can share, this would be appreciated

G0258 - Compensation for distress - 071215

A member authority is interested to know if any other local authorities have made a payment / payments as compensation for distress caused / injury to feelings.
Compensation is often paid to cover financial loss, and therefore can be quantified or accurately estimated. Compensation for distress caused is not easy to quantify and the authority is therefore keen to know if:
1. If anyone has paid out for this purpose 
2. What the value was
3. What was the cause of the distress.

G0257 - Contract pricing for grounds maintenance and arboriculture - 021215

APSE Solutions has been working with a London Council to help them review the information that they provide to bidders for their grounds maintenance and arboriculture contracts.  They considering awarding a five year contract with a possible three year extension, and are looking at potential price increases over the contract duration.  Examples include:

A fixed annual price for the whole of the contract period and any extension
A fixed price for the initial period but an inflation-linked increase for any extension
Increases based on local government pay increases
They are interested in hearing from authorities as to:
Which method(s) you use
How/why you chose them
Any pros/cons identified (e.g. front loading contracts or service standards dropping towards the end of the contract period)
How the introduction of the Living Wage has impacted on these issues.

G0256 - Pavement cafe licences - 111115
A member authority is enquiring what other authorities charge for pavement café licences (not exclusive to cafes it could be example the outside drinking/smoking area outside a bar/pub)?  The enquiring authority charges an intial £200 fee to get a licence, plus a £100 administrational fee. Thereafter, the annual fee is £200.
If the licence is rejected the administrational fee is non-refundable
They would be interested in discovering how other local authorities deal with this issue and the level of charges they make.

G0255 - "One Stop Shop" Service Area Review - 101115
A member authority is planning a review of their “One Stop Shop” Service Areas which are jointly run by a District and their County Council
The sites serve as a front face of the Council’s giving access to the public that have questions about Council Tax/Benefits, Bus Passes etc. 
The Council  would welcome any feedback from others who have undertaken a similar review including:
  • the review results
  • difficulties in conducting the review
  • any changes as a result of the review

G0254 - Travel time for mobile workers to and from work: The Working Time Directive and recent 'Tyco' case law - 051115

This authority is a Direct Labour Organisation employing trade operatives using mobile working solutions. They would like to hear how other similar organisations are responding to the recent ruling on travel time in relation to going direct from home to their first job and returning back home after their last job. (The query comes from a building maintenance service but the principle is relevant to other services). 
They have always given trade staff permission to take their work vehicles home and expect them to complete their daily van check before they set off each day.  They have a fixed depot and a store close by that operatives are expected to use to gather materials/fuel from, attend meetings etc. which is their base, and until very recently they would have to come in to get their jobs before going out on site.  However, in recent times, to aid flexibility they have allowed staff to go straight to their first job which has helped improved productivity and performance.  
On this basis, their initial view is that their home is not their normal place of work, and therefore the ruling does not apply. The ruling states that ‘for mobile workers – who have no fixed place of work – the time they spend travelling between home and their first and last place of work each day counts as "working time" under the Working Time Directive.’  
They are interested to hear from others regarding the following:-
•         Do you consider that your mobile workers have a fixed place of work? If so is that their home or your works depot?
•         What views do you have on the case law?
•         What changes have you made/do you intend to make?

G0253 - Support for Events - 061115

A member authority is reviewing its support for Events within the Borough (particularly major events)
Do you use an Events Matrix to determine what events to support, either:

  • financially or 
  • because it is an economic benefit to the area

If so, please can you share a copy along with any associated weighting and how this was agreed, i.e. strategic objectives, Member approval, etc.

G0252 - Property related Health and Safety advice - 221015

Q1: Within your organisation, who provides you with competent advice on property related health and safety management and legislation (pertaining to policy development, planning, employee engagement, performance management, monitoring, communications and training in areas such as fire, asbestos, legionella)? 
 a)    in-house Property Service / Facilities Management Team
b)    in-house Health and Safety Team
c)    External Consultant / Company
d)    A combination of the above 
Please provide a brief description of this service.              
Q2: Is the same service provided to maintained / controlled schools where budgets have been delegated? Yes / No
If your answer to this question is no, please identify who provides this service:
 a)    in-house Property Service / Facilities Management Team
b)    in-house Health and Safety Team
c)    External Consultant / Company – and if so how is this monitored by the authority
d)    A combination of the above 
Please provide a brief description of this service if you’ve answered no to this question:

G0251 - Use of Social Media as a Community Engagement Tool - 141015

APSE Solutions is carrying out consultation work for a member authority to help review its community engagement work, and look at ways that it can do this more effectively in future.
The authority is particularly interested in looking at use of social media as a community engagement tool and would like to know:
•         Which forms of social media you use, e.g. twitter, Facebook, etc
•         The sorts of information you share, and with whom
•         The sorts of actions you would like people to take as a result
•         How effective you find social media for informing and engaging people
•         What policies and procedures you have in place around social media use, e.g. who can publish info, how you moderate it
•         How you evaluate your social media work
•         Whether you would be willing to take part in a telephone discussion with a view to APSE Solutions preparing a case study for inclusion in the consultation report.

G0250 - Bereavement Services Health and Safety Handbook - 131015

A member authority is interested from hearing from any other members who have a Health and Safety Bereavement Services handbook which is issued to staff to assist them with their day to day duties.

If any local authority does have such a document would they mind sharing a copy to assist  with developing one for the enquiring authority to allow them to replace guidance cards previously used.

G0249 - Models for delivering admin support centrally or through service specific teams

This APSE member authority is exploring options for their central administration team which is currently run as one central team and they would like to hear from other APSE members are to whether they:-

  • Operate a central admin team and if this works well?
  • Operate service specific admin teams ?

The admin functions that would fall under this team are tasks such as data entry, filing, post management, reception work, mail shots and minute taking.

G0248 - Business Intelligence and Performance Management Functions

This member authority is reviewing its business intelligence and performance functions and is interested to know how other local authorities structure these functions and the mechanisms that they use to collect, disseminate and utilise business intelligence and performance.  
1.     How are your business intelligence and performance teams structured?  (A structure chart would be useful if available.)
2.     Does your service operate from a centralised or directorate base or do you share services with other local authorities or partners?  
3.     What functions are delivered from your team(s)?  (Job descriptions would be useful if available.) 
4.     How do you manage relationships between Business Intelligence, Performance Staff and Customers e.g. operational teams, commissioners, partnerships etc?
5.     How do your Business Intelligence and Performance Staff support organisational change?
6.     What system(s) or mechanisms do you use to collect and disseminate business intelligence and performance information ( eg APSE Performance Networks)?

G0247 - Staff Driving Policy - 150915

This authority are developing a driving policy and would like to see examples of the policies other authorities use.  It will need to address: 
•         Managers/supervisors/driver responsibilities; Driver records; Vehicle loading; Driving hours; Accident/ incidents; Health and safety; Health surveillance; Drug and alcohol testing
They are also interested in whether anyone operates a points system wherein any offence whether caught by Police or other traffic authority camera or tracker is allocated points which are linked to steps within the disciplinary procedure.
An example of the steps might be: 3 points; Recorded on drivers record; No investigation; Extra monitoring

G0246 - Commissioning - 250815

This APSE member authority is currently exploring options for service delivery in its Support Services as part of a commissioning review.

They would be interested to hear from other APSE member authorities on the following questions:

  1. Have you recently reviewed your support services as part of a commissioning review? If so to what extent did you determine that Support Services should be procured from an external provider? What matters helped you determine which elements would be included within that - for example HR, ICT?
  2. To what extent has market opportunities to generate income within support services influenced the outcome of your commissioning review?
  3. Has your organisation jointly commissioned support services, for example through a shared services model? If yes, what issues did you encounter with partners as part of that joint commissioning approach?
  4. Do you have any evidence of examples from the private sector about cost savings, resilience and customer experience in Support Services? Or any contrary evidence that would be helpful to our review?

G0245 - Roadside advertising hoardings - 190815

This authority is looking into developing roadside advertising hoardings as a potential income stream, we would therefore be obliged if anyone who has any experience in this area could provide us with answers to the following: 

1.  Do you currently sell advertising space (e.g. billboards) at roadside locations?  If so how many and what types of location are these situated at (e.g. rural, urban etc)? 

2.  How much income do you generate per billboard per annum? 

3.  Do you sell this advertising space directly or via a third party?  If so can you provide us with details on how you do this? 

4.  Do you have any indicative costs of how much it cost to install this advertising space? 

5.  On average what percentage of your advertising space is sold per annum? 

6.  Who undertakes the production and placement of the advertisements and how much does this cost? 

7.  Have you had any issues with these spaces e.g. road safety, vandalism, neighbour complaints etc.? 

8.  Are there are any other issues or information that you think would be useful for our consideration of advertising hoardings?

G0244 - Corporate support for service review and supporting continuous service improvement - 100815

This member authority is considering how to structure a corporate team, tasked with supporting service areas to review and continuously improve service delivery.
They would like to know how other local authorities have approached the structuring, training and resourcing of such a team. 
It is appreciated that  whilst almost every local authority will have this resource, the team may function under many different banners, which might include Policy and Performance, Business Development or Transformation.    
If you are in a position to, we would be very grateful if you could write a few sentences to tell us about how this team functions within your authority and the expressed purpose of the team. Organisational structure charts would also be helpful.

G0243 - Dog kennels - Responsibilities for stray dogs - 040815

A member authority would be interested to know: 
•         if other councils have reviewed their responsibility for stray dogs, and
•         would like to know how other local authorities respond to the requirement to place dogs in a shelter/kennels

G0242 - Promoting Credit Union membership - 030815

This authority is looking to increase the take up of credit union membership by residents and tenants. 
They are interested to know how others have approached increasing such membership, what they have done to raise the issue of credit unions and specifically how they have marketed individual unions.
Examples of marketing strategies, publicity materials as well as any other advice would be very welcome.

G0241 - Plant/Machinery costs - 270715

A member is making enquiries in relation to  how other member authorities maintain their plant machinery, and have the following questions:

  • Is the service in house or external?
  • How and what are you charged? (If cost could be broken down by equipment type it would be most useful)
  • Number and type of plant maintained and how often?

G0240 - Bonfires - 240715

Annually  a member authority hold a communal bonfire, with the safety, construction, clear-up & grounds reinstatement etc, normally handled by the Street Scene Third-Party Contractors; who this year are informing us that they are unable to assist in the building of the bonfire due to health & safety rules (have cited working at height restrictions). They have stated that the bonfire cannot be built any higher than can be safely reached from ground level (around four feet high) yet could build a lower/larger circumference one. The initial contract specification required an 'inverted cone of 7 - 8 metres in diameter at the base and at least 9 metres in height'
Can any other members please advise if/how they have successfully approached this issue of not being able to build bonfires due to this reason?

G0239 - Sickness Levels - 200715

A member is interested in receiving information regarding sickness statistics, trends and averages for waste and recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance duties. Over the last few months the member has experienced an increase in sickness levels and we were just wondering is this happening elsewhere.

G0238 - Recruitment of Emissions Accountant - 170715

This local authority is in the process of drafting a business case to seek approval for recruiting an Emissions Accountant.  This authority acknowledges they have limited capacity in this area aside from basic reporting for their Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), Carbon Management Plan (CMP) and Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration (SCCD).  They are looking to build capacity by having in house skills and competencies in this area which go beyond these reporting programmes.
To assist in this process, this local authority is keen to hear from other member authorities who have any information that would be of use.  Specifically:-
•         Do you have any job profiles/ descriptions which you would be willing to share?
•         Information on whom and where such a role sits within your organisation?
•         Have you developed these skills on top of existing day jobs?  If so do you see such knowledge as being sufficient to ensure compliance with baseline inventories and scenario modelling?

G0237 - Affordable Warmth / Fuel Poverty schemes - 170715

A member authority is evaluating one of its affordable warmth / fuel poverty programmes aimed at tackling cold homes and the associated health issues
It delivers a range of measures with partners including heating repairs, advice on fuel switching, emergency heating provision, fuel debt advice, slips /trips and falls assessments
They are keen to hear from authorities who are delivering similar schemes specifically around eligibility and evidencing need.
How does your authority target their affordable resources to address those most in need? 
1.       What kind of eligibility criteria do authorities use?
•         Customer’s Age (75+) ?
•         Priority LSOA’s related to DECC estimates of Fuel Poverty?
•         The customer being in receipt of qualifying benefits?
•         The customer’s diagnosis with a specific health condition that is exacerbated by the cold?
•         The customer having a child under 5 in the home with a specific health condition that is exacerbated by the cold?
•         Other criteria?
2.       How do you evidence that a client is meeting the eligibility criteria? 
(e.g.) how is evidence such as benefits, disability etc acquired? What evidence has to be provided to confirm a diagnosis? Do you apply a light touch to a less costly intervention?

G0236 - Community cohesion - gypsies and travellers - 130715

This authority is currently reviewing their approach to improving community cohesion with gypsy and traveller communities, including the approach to the range of enforcement options. The council wants to work with both the settled and gypsy and traveller community to manage expectations and improve relations, covering areas such as planning, community safety, road safety etc.. They are keen to hear from other councils that have undertaken similar work with their local communities to learn what works and is most effective.

G0235 - Library service review - 130715

This APSE member authority is reviewing its’ Library services and they would welcome details to assist in their review and in particular details as follows:- 
1.    Population -  please supply details of your population size
2.    Please supply details of the numbers of libraries that you provide
3.    Please supply the figure for your overall Libraries budget 
4.    Please supply details of any deprivation considerations / indicators that you use to  assess Library needs within your local area. 
5.    Delivery models - they would like to know if you have adopted any alternative delivery models such as coops, mutuals, social enterprises or reducing opening hours, or providing other services from library sites such as benefits advice, payment services.

G0234 - Parking on council land, verges, pavements - 100715

This authority is having problems with vehicles parked and left for periods of time on council grassed land, highway verges, pavements, etc.  

They are keen to hear about the methods used by others to counteract this issue and of any policies they have in place.  This might include educational campaigns or enforcement.

G0233 - Reverting back to individual services from Integrated Street Scene Model - 010715

One of our members is enquiring as to whether any local authority has reverted back, or is considering reverting back from an integrated street scene approach to once again providing services as separate service functions e.g. street cleansing, refuse collection, grounds maintenance, as in the past.
They would be particularly interested in discovering whether this change was based on financial, operational or any other reason.

G0232 - Insourcing transport as part of building maintenance - 190615

This authority is considering insourcing their housing and maintenance service.
They would be grateful to hear from others who have been through a similar process with reference to their transport infrastructure. In their case, an estimated 350 vehicles will be procured along with plant and small tools.
Information and experience in similar exercises would be very helpful.

G0231 - Advertising on council buildings, car parks and land

This authority would like to hear from others who have used their buildings and land (strategic external locations under council control) to sell advertising space.
They would like to know how it was arranged, whether they facilitated it themselves or via an advertising agency. 
Example locations might include multi-storey car parks, open car parks, public buildings and land adjacent to busy thoroughfares (traffic and footfall) and some internal locations such as leisure centres.
They would be interested to learn from the experience of others and in particular about balancing potential income generation from advertising against corporate priorities e.g. taking adverts from fast food providers whilst having a corporate priority around public health.

G0230 - Secondments and TUPE - 040615

This APSE member is exploring the use of secondments as opposed to TUPE in service redesign situations such as shared services, trading companies and in traditional outsourcing or joint ventures.
If you have any experiences of using secondments in these type of situations please provide details
In particular they would be interested to see any sample memorandum of understanding or 'letters of comfort' issued to staff or agreed with the trade unions.

G0229 - S106 contributions and the planning process - 040615

This APSE member authority is looking at their planning processes in relation to S.106 matters. They would be interested to learn about the following two matters. 
1.    What mechanisms does your Local Authority have in place for dealing with Section 106 contributions, in respect of planning applications under consideration
2.    Do you have supplementary planning guidance with set formulas?

G0228 - Vehicle Checks on LGV's - 010615

A member authority would like to know from other members whether:
1.       LGV drivers do their own vehicle preparation (pre-start checks).  How long is allocated and is this part of normal hours e.g. 37 hour week or paid as contractual overtime?
2.       LGV drivers do end of day maintenance checks and defect reporting.  How long is allocated and is this part of normal hours e.g. 37 hour week or paid as contractual overtime?
3.       Does any authority appoint specific staff / posts to undertake vehicle checks as opposed to drivers?  If so, how is this managed and co-ordinated?  (job descriptions for this role would prove useful)

G0227 - Centralised procurement arrangements - 290515

This authority is interested in hearing from others who have altered their procurement arrangements recently especially if they have been centralised. 
They are keen to hear about the approach taken, actual changes made, benefits including financial savings as well as problems encountered and how they were overcome.  
Any information on this topic would be gratefully received.

G0226 - Income generation from advertising and sponsorship on roundabouts and public realm - 280515

This APSE member authority is considering attracting advertising and sponsorship on areas such as roundabouts and public realm to help generate income. They would be interested to learn from other members who have adopted a similar approach: 

  • How much income were you able to achieve?
  • Did the income from the advertising or sponsorship arrangements generate a surplus to make the exercise worthwhile?
  • How did you market the opportunity to potential advertisers?
  • Did you find any negative impact ( such as business rates applying to sites)

G0225 - Agile Working Systems - 280515

This APSE member authority is considering moving to an agile working system based on a 5:10 ratio (5 desks per 10 employees)
They would welcome information from other  public sector organisations and APSE member authorities that have successfully implemented agile working including their experiences on 
•         The timescales needed to implement the changes
•         Impact upon the organisation ( positives and negatives and any lessons learned
•         Policies such as HR and Occupational Health - how were the changes managed and 
•         Is the home working element of your scheme compulsory and how this is achieved
•         What forms of agile working have been considered (e.g. working from home, flexible and mobile working, shift work, extended hours etc).

G0224 - Reviewing local authority partnerships and forums - 260515

This APSE member authority is currently reviewing its partnerships. 
This is with a view to rationalising the number of partnerships and information exchange forums in their  borough and bringing together the members of such groups to debate this and come up with a model moving forward. 
They feel this process would benefit from input from another authority who have truly embraced a digital agenda and carry out similar functions through webinars, e-forums, etc.  

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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