Association for Public Service Excellence
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • apse Blog
Who we are
What we do

Grounds Maintenance

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 Wayne Priestley.

Network queries from previous years are available on the links at the bottom of the page.

GM0558 - Bedding and planter sponsorship - 20.07.17

A member authority is considering bedding and planter sponsorship
and wants to know if other councils have tried it / considered it and
what issues they have encountered.

They are particularly interested in:

  • whether planning permission has to be obtained
  • whether any business rates apply
  • what sort of charges have they applied for sponsoring different types for bedding and planters?
  • have councils received any complaints?


GM0557 - Electronic (digital) advertising boards - 18.07.17

Have any authorities erected electronic (digital) advertising boards
on their land, either managed by themselves or via a concession)

What have they done?

How have they done it?

What were the main obstacles they had to overcome?

Would respondents provide contact details for further discussion?


GM0556 - Playground criteria - 18.07.17

A member authority is having to make decisions on the future
provision of children’s play areas in their area, which may involve
removing or closing some current play areas.

Has any other authority encountered a similar issue, and if so, what
criteria did they adopt to identify those sites which were to be closed
and those sites which would remain open.


GM0555 - Replacing grounds maintenance and Cleansing software programmes - 03.07.17

A member authority is looking to procure a replacement software
programme in relation to Grounds and Cleansing. They currently
use Northgate M3.
The system needs to link with the LLPG GIS layer, Microsoft
Dynamics CRM system and aggresso etc.
The system needs to be able to:

  • undertake workflow management,
  • issue job instructions to the external contractor and allow the external contractor to mark the jobs as complete,
  • manage the bill of quantities and schedule of rates and price additional works.
  • be capable of storing photos and documents.
  • have live or daily reporting of when grass, hedges and bins etc. have had their maintenance visit
  • have a publicly accessible area in order for residents to be able to check when their next maintenance visit is.

The system must be able to automatically update the CRM system
in relation to enquiries etc. as the enquiring authority’s main source
of enquiries for ground is now digital.

Enquiries should be able to be linked to LLPG asset as well as the
caller name and address.

In light of these requirements the member authority would like to know;

  • Which authorities use Confirm to manage their grounds and cleansing service and the pros and cons of this.
  • What systems other authorities utilise to manage the grounds maintenance contract and the pros and cons of the system.
  • What systems authorities use to manage their tree stock, works and enquiries.


GM0554 - Charging For Use Of Parks to third parties making commercial gain - 03.07.17

A member authority is considering the introduction of a policy and
charging arrangement for business use of a park and / or green
space where there is commercial gain associated with sale of a
service (distinct from the sale of products requiring a licence or
permission / fees for an event).

Examples of such business use includes professional dog walking,
fitness training, training / education, balloon launching / landing.

They are keen to understand what policy and charging
arrangements have been adopted by other local authority for such
commercial activity taking place in parks and / or green space.


  • Do you have a policy to regulate third party commercial use of
  • parks and /or green space
  • Do you have a charging policy for third party commercial use of
  • parks and / or green space
  • How do you enforce non-compliance


GM0553 - Eradication Of Japanese Knotweed - 27.06.17

A member authority is very interested to hear of any methods of
treatment for the control / eradication of Japanese Knotweed, and
if/how the sites are protected/secured to prevent public access.

Please advise if you maintain records of the treated sites, together
with any examples of the guarantees contractors provide for works
carried out.


GM0552 - Public drinking water provision - 27.06.17

A member authority is enquiring whether any Local Authorities
provide outdoor accessible drinking water provision to the general
public in terms of outside corporate buildings/public open spaces


GM0551 - Ash Die-Back Strategies - 19.06.17

A member authority is having a major problem with Ash Die back
where the disease is spreading “frighteningly fast”. It has been
predicted that by this time next year the authority will have several
hundreds if not thousands of ashes that have died or are dying.
They are therefore enquiring if any other local authorities have any
long term strategy to tackle this problem and they would be grateful
for any information/advice.


GM0549 - Friends Groups Constitutions - 15.06.17

A member authority is interested to discover whether any member
authority has formal documentation regarding a constitutional
agreement with Friends Groups, in particular what is expected of
Friends Groups i.e. their roles and responsibilities.
Equally they wish to know what local authorities offer Friend Groups
in return for their assistance and co-operation, for example do they
allow Friends Groups the ability to give on-site staff work
Any information or documentation would be gratefully received and


GM0548 - Mowing and strimming as one operation - 15.06.17

A member authority would like to be able to strim directly after
mowing in areas that have signposts, seating etc. in one visit with
one operative.
To do this they would need to carry a strimmer on a ride on mower,
however since the mower engine gets hot and strimmer’s are petrol
driven it presents a safety problem, which they have discussed it
with some mower manufactures but no solutions have been
The member authority does not think that battery powered
strimmer’s are practical in the non-domestic situation.
Do any other authorities carry out mowing and strimming in one visit
with one member of staff? If so:

  • How do they do it?
  • Does anyone carry strimmer’s on ride on mowers if so how?


GM0547 - Grazing on cemetery land and the use of grass retardants - 010617

A member authority is enquiring whether any other local authorities
have been approached to allow sheep to graze in older parts of the
cemetery as a grounds maintenance measure?
The member authority is also interested to discover if any
colleagues have experience of using a growth retardant on
cemetery grass, as they historically do not allow weed killing around
memorials. and since the introduction of new legislation around
vibration, the current use of strimmers, is becoming less viable.
As such they would welcome any ideas from other authorities on
how to deal with this issue.


GM0544 - Seasonal grounds maintenance service -160517

A member local authority is looking for information on authorities
who are operating a seasonal service for grounds maintenance and
what structure processes are in place to operate it.
What positive and negative comments do authorities have on this


GM0543 - Enforcing allotment rules and regulations - 080517

A member authority is having problems regarding enforcing council
rules and regulations pertaining to the running of allotments sites
where these sites are run by a local allotments association who selfmanage
the allotment plots.
They are wishing to know if other local authorities have had a
similar problem and how they have dealt with it.
They are particularly interested in any examples where the local
authority has disbanded the allotments association because of the
actions of the allotment association’s leading members, e.g. using
the site for business purposes or illegal burning of materials.
If any allotment associations have been disbanded what powers or
actions were used/taken to achieve this?


GM0542 - Community involvement in grass verge maintenance - 080517

A member authority is looking at increasing community involvement
in grass verge maintenance roles, in particular they are enquiring
about the following:

  • Have local authorities had much success in encouraging the public to cut grass verges outside their houses?
  • How did they approach this ambition without exposing themselves to liabilities i.e. personal injury/property damage?
  • What wording did they use to avoid this issue?
  • What success or failure did they have with this process or similar?


GM0540 - Concerns on mower performance - 280417

A member authority is interested in hearing from any authorities
which have taken delivery of triple ride on mowers fitted with fail
heads (within the last three years) and whether they are they
suffering with machine vibration, premature component failure or a
general lack of cutting performance over what was envisaged. If so,
would they be prepared to be contacted to gather more information.


GM0539 - Roundabout Sponsorship - 070417

A member authority is considering roundabout advertising /
sponsorship and wanted to see how this has affected councils that
have already instigated advertising / sponsorship schemes, on
roundabouts, in their areas.
In particular they are interested in the following areas:

  • How long have you been advertising on roundabouts?
  • Have you had any accidents attributed to erection of signs – if so how many?
  • What action has been taken as a result to reduce the incident of accidents?
  • If you needed planning permission for your signs what were the reasons given.
  • If you did not need planning permission for your signs, why not?
  • When the sponsorship for the roundabout changes, do you have to apply for new planning permission?
  • How many complaints have you received from the public about signs on roundabouts and what were the complaints about?


GM0539 - Horticultural therapy - 280417

A member authority is enquiring whether any local authorities
provide bespoke growing spaces solely for the purpose of delivery of horticultural therapy
If so, are these areas stand-alone sites solely used for therapeutic horticulture or are they incorporated into other existing growing spaces/ gardens or allotments.


GM0538 - Grass cutting schedules - 070417

A member authority urgently needs information on other local
authority current schedule of grass cutting.
The members current grass cutting schedules are shown below and
they are enquiring if other member authorities would provide the
equivalent data?

  1. Priority routes (Defined as major routes) - every 10 working days
  2. All other Highway Verges – every 15 working days.
  3. Inter-town (between Villages) – Every 12 weeks April to October
  4. High Risk visibility splays – Every six weeks.


GM0535 - Volunteering and community engagement strategies in parks - 130317

A member authority is currently developing a Volunteering &
Community Engagement Strategy for our Parks and Green
Spaces. They would welcome information from other authorities
about whether they have, or are developing, similar strategies.
They would also be interested to know:

  • What types of volunteering or community engagement take place in
  • other authorities parks;
  • How other authorities manage and resource volunteering or community engagement in parks
  • How they promote/encourage volunteering in parks.


GM0534 - Drone Useage in public parks and open spaces -policy and practices - 080217

This small authority has recently taken on responsibility for 36 Ha of
Parks and Open Spaces, including 2 active cemeteries, 2 allotment
gardens, 10 equipped play areas, 5 grass football pitches and a 3G
pitch and will shortly assume responsibility for a further 32 Ha of
Open Space. At this time they expect to have 7 grounds
maintenance operatives on their establishment and are keen to
prepare a schedule of work that is efficient and effective to
accommodate this additional workload. To help with preparing for
the change, they would be very grateful if colleagues from other
authorities could share their approach to scheduling operatives and
their process for monitoring how well the schedule is working.
To help with this, if you have some documentation that will help to
illustrate how you schedule work and review your approach, I would
be very grateful if you could please pass these documents on to
Alistair Holcroft on aholcroft@apse.og.uk.


GM0533 - Provision of Muslim graves – 080217

A member authority is looking for advice from any other Local
Authority which is operating a Muslim cemetery or Muslim section
within a Cemetery in a heavy clay soil and the associated problems
of ground water runoff, poor drainage and a high water table. We
are looking to open a new Muslim section in heavy clay soil and
would appreciate advice and guidance on:

  1. How do authorities deal with this problem
  2. Are graves lined in any way and if so does it work?
  3. How are the graves sealed?
  4. Advice on any other problems and solutions identified.


GM0531 - Volunteers and machine usage - 300117

A member authority wishes to know if any members permit machine
usage by Volunteer groups working in parks? If machine use is
permitted can you provide detail of what is permitted, how this is
managed and monitored?


GM0530 - Tree emergency calls - 250117

A member authority is trying to set up a system for their contact
centre and out of hours department with regards to emergency tree
They are wanting to cut out calls which are not urgent but still need
investigating, from real emergency calls which are threatening to
persons or property and need an immediate response.
To achieve this staff would need to be well-versed in tree issues.
At present they use the following questions:-

  • Is there a broken branch which is either loose or freely hanging and unattached which overhangs a significant location?
  • Is there a hazardous obstruction blocking a road or maintained footway?

For Trees:-

  • Is the tree is taller than a double decker bus or articulated lorry?
  • Is the tree is swaying or rocking at the base or the ground isvisibly lifting or heaving near the base of the tree?

A problem has arisen whereby their staff take calls for all
departments and the call centre also has a high staff turnover, so
constant training in tree issues is proving difficult.

The authority is finding that by asking these questions they are
regularly getting a ‘yes’ response to most calls, resulting in most
calls being classed as an emergency which means a large
amount of resource time is having to be allocated to investigate
these calls which turn out to be non-emergencies.
Therefore the member authority is enquiring what systems or
questions do other members use to make calls more precise.


GM0529 - Garden Maintenance Scheme - 250117

This member authority is currently looking to review their garden
assistance maintenance service (grass and hedge cuts). They
would be grateful for information from other local authorities on the

  1. Does your authority currently charge for your garden maintenance service and if so is it full cost recovery or partially subsidised?
  2. What does this include (e.g. number of grass cuts)?
  3. Is your scheme open only to eligible Council tenants or is it available to private owner occupiers?


GM0528 - Car parking charges at parks - 100117

A member authority is looking for information on parking charges at
parks , in particular they wish to discover other local authorities
policies/approaches to the following:

  • What are the Fees and charges prices per car
  • Which of you sites currently charge for parking
  • The total income achieved (per site if possible) indicating if vat inclusive for 2015/16
  • The total number of cars charged - 2015/16
  • What is your policy regards disabled parking/ blue badge holders


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.




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • apse Blog