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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:

G0363 - Electronic Signature - 29.05.18

A member authority is enquiring as to whether anyone is using
electronic signatures within their authority? Particularly within their
Legal and Procurement departments as well as any internal
processes / procedures.

If so, would you be happy to discuss your service delivery model in
more detail? Can you recommend any particular software?


G0362 - Adoption of Chatbox ( Virtual Assistant ) and Amazon Alexa Technologies in Customer Service Centres - 29.05.18

This APSE member authority is currently considering augmenting
their customer service centre by developing a Chatbot ( or Virtual
Assistant ) technology to deal with volume / predictable requests.

They would welcome responses to the following questions:

  • Are you currently using Chatbox technology in your customer service centre (or any other contact points)
  • Are you currently developing Amazon Alexa Skills for customer selfservice (or other interactive voice response systems)?
  • Would you be happy to discuss your service delivery model in more detail by sharing your findings?


G0361 - GDPR - Photography and Videography - 210518

A member authority is reviewing their procedures around
photography and video consent in view of the forthcoming GDPR

Please can you provide information on the following:

  • How do you capture consent when commissioning photography and videos?
  • Do you have any special procedures depending on the person photographed (i.e children and vulnerable adults)
  • Do you get blanket consent for all uses or do you limit the use of the image/video by category
  • What procedures do you have in place to manage any data captured - for example storing contact details?
  • Do you gain consent at public events?


G0359 - Human Resources & Payroll: Calculation of Rate for Deductions - 19.04.18

This APSE member authority is looking to develop a consistent
HR/Payroll/Time and Attendance system and they are currently
reviewing all their payroll elements. One area which is under
discussion is whether to pay staff on a 1/260 basis or 1/365 basis
(or 1/5th or 1/7th ) for the purposes of deductions and others
calculations. They would be grateful to receive feedback on how
other local authorities pay their staff and the logic that they applied
in arriving at the calculation, particularly for the purposes of


G0358 - Staff recruitment - 12.04.18

A member authority has found itself struggling to find new staff for a
number of their operational posts.
They would therefore be very interested to find out from other local
authorities if they are having similar difficulties recruiting to any of
the following posts:

  • Seasonal gardening staff – do other authorities still have these workers and any difficulties attracting?
  • Seasonal games in parks staff – as above
  • Seasonal loaders
  • Mechanics
  • HGV drives

The member authority would also be interested to know salaries for
these posts as the service feels attraction is linked to the pay rates?

Finally, if anyone has any tips/best practice they would be willing to
share regarding how they have successfully recruited to these posts
that would be really helpful.


G0357 - Comparing injury rates by type and service area - 09.04.18

A local authority has been in touch to advise that they would like to
compare their annual injury rates within operational services.
In particular, they would like to be able to compare incidences of the
following injury types:

  • SB = Striking, struck or contact with objects
  • MH = Manual Handling
  • ST = Slip or Trip incident
  • OTH = Other type of injury or incident
  • FFH = Falls From Height
  • VA = Injuries from Violence or Aggression

If you hold this data for one (or more) of service areas 1- 9 (below)
and would be interested in comparing this with other local authorities
and local authority owned trading companies, we would be very
grateful if you could share these figures by completing the online
questionnaire, below.

Click to complete questionnaire (scroll to find relevant service area).
1. Refuse collection
2. Street Cleansing
3. Parks and Open spaces
4. Highways and Engineering light civil works
5. Domestic/commercial building maintenance and refurbishment/repair
6. Larger construction projects
7. Car parking enforcement
8. Motor vehicle repair and fleet maintenance
9. Office and business support services


G0356 - Market Rate Supplement - 06.04.18

A member authority is exploring the option of paying market
supplements in order to retain and attract staff to specific roles
within the organisation. The authority would like to know:

  • Do you pay market supplements?
  • Which type of roles are subject to market supplement payments?
  • On what basis are the payment amounts derived or calculated?
  • How did you safeguard against any possible equal pay conflicts?


G0355 - Hot -desking and health impacts - 06.04.18

A member authority is enquiring whether those authorities which
have introduced hot-desking have noticed an increase in sickness
levels as a result.

If there have been increases, has this been apparent in any
particular service areas or has it been a general increase across the
council’s workforce.

Finally, where increases have occurred what actions have been
taken to reduce these increases?


G0354 - Community Partnerships/ Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) - 23.03.18

A member authority is reviewing their approach to coordinating
Community Partnerships/ Local Strategic Partnerships and would
value contact with colleagues within other local authorities
responsible for coordinating Community Partnerships/ Local
Strategic Partnerships to share good practise and information
around governance arrangement. I.e. role of sub-groups, whether
agency or community led etc.

If you would be happy to share your experiences coordinating
strategic community oversight whether through a Community
Partnership, Local Strategic Partnership or similar, we would be
very grateful if you could send an email with the contact details of
the best person to speak to.


G0352A - Community Facility Development - 12.03.18

This local authority would be grateful if other local authorities could
provide information regarding a local community group developing a
Community Facility.

This facility will offer a truly multi-functional community facility
having a range of facilities available for the use of the local and
wider community. The building will also be utilised to provide
accommodation of office space for potential anchor tenants in order
to make the maximum use of the building seven days per week.
Further uses will include an educational HUB help to attract Health
and Social Care professionals, Third sector and Independent

Has any Local Authority recently worked with the community to
undertake a project similar to the above? Any information, including
options appraisal and feasibility study, consultation, communication,
design, costs etc. would be welcomed.


G0352 - Management of call-out and out of hours service (Regulatory services / Buildings & facilities / Assets / Parks and Open Spaces / Enforcement) - 28.02.18

A member authority is requesting information on the following:

1.  How does your organisation provide and manage standby, call-out and out of hours service in the following areas: (by out of hours we mean outside of normal office hours, forinstance between 6.30pm and 7.30am Monday to Friday and Saturdays/Sundays/public and extra statutory holidays)

  • Regulatory services (eg Food Safety, Noise Pollution, Air Pollution, Dog Wardens)
  • Buildings and facilities (eg community centres, sports pavilions, security)
  • Assets (eg fleet)
  • Parks and Open Spaces
  • Enforcement (eg littering, illegal dumping, anti-social Behaviour)

2. How are employees compensated for working outside of normal office hours?

  • Overtime
  • Set payment
  • % of salary
  • TOIL
  • Other

3.  Does your organisation have an overall corporate approach to out
of hours service provision / management or is it on a departmental

4.  In terms of supervision / management how are issues /
emergencies dealt with and prioritised? When working out of hours
does the employee have access to a supervisor/manager? If so is
this access on site / via a mobile / based at HQ etc?

5. If there is out of hours supervision / management is this a
separate designation eg Duty Manager/Supervisor? If there is a
Duty Manager/Supervisor or equivalent does he/she have a specific
role relevant to one area or is it a generic role providing
supervision/management across all out of hours functions?


G0351 - Commercial Manager Role - 28.02.18

This local authority is looking to recruit a Commercial Manager, as
is looking for information from other authorities on:

  1. Job Profiles for Commercial Managers
  2. Job Evaluations for Commercial Managers


G0350 - Policies on dealing with vandalism to council property - 20.02.18

A member authority is enquiring whether any other Authorities have
specific policies on how they deal with vandalism to their property.

In particular they are interested to discover:

  • Do you always refer to the police when you have CCTV evidence?
  • Do you have a policy of always pursing the reimbursement of all costs from the perpetrators (regardless of what the police decide to do?
  • Do you have a policy on whether they pursue depending on age of
  • the offenders?


G0349 - Assessing workforce digital skills - 23.02.18

A member authority currently looking to assess the digital skills of
their workforce and aim to use an online assessment to understand
current digital literacy levels.

They are eager to hear from any other organisation who may
have/are currently working on a similar project to understand:

  • What questionnaire was used to undertaken the skills assessment? (supply link if possible)
  • How many people were assessed?
  • Was the assessment mandatory?
  • If not, what % undertook the assessment?
  • Were any incentives used to undertake the assessment?
  • Was an external organisation used to undertake the assessment or carry out any identified training? If so, please supply details?
  • If the questionnaire was undertaken in-house, what tool was used to collect results?
  • What benefits have been realised by a) the employees and b) the organisation since undertaking this?


G0348 - Out of Hours working - 23.02.18

A member authority is currently looking at the issues around out of
hours cover.

They would be interested in receiving the following information from

  • Do you have ‘Out of hours’ cover?
  • Do you have in place ‘Emergency response’ work teams?
  • Do you have operational and Management staff employed for this cover?
  • If so, for what type of work, hours and days covered?
  • What remuneration is offered to staff for this work?


G0347 - Case study examples of bringing a contract for services back in-house ( Insourcing ) - 02.02.18

APSE is currently exploring further cases of Insourcing (bringing a
local authority service back in-house). We would like to hear from
local authorities that are willing to share information on their own
experiences of this. Although the information is needed across all
different service areas we would especially welcome case studies in
respect of social care including domiciliary care, residential care
homes and reablement teams.


G0346 - Use of live animals at events - 29.01.18

A member authority would like to understand how other local
authorities have addressed concerns over animal welfare when they
hold public events to showcase certain animals for viewing or

Is such an event considered to be appropriate any longer or have
animal welfare concerns resulted in no longer delivering this type of


G0345 - Use of management companies by developers to maintain public open spaces - 23.01.18

A member authority is looking at the growth in the number of
management companies being used by developers to maintain
public open space.

They are concerned that this is leading to a decline in the amount
of public space adopted by local authorities with the loss of the
associated commuted sum payments.

In some cases developers are no longer delivering highways to an
adoptable standard, which is leading to other issues in relation to
street cleansing, street lighting, general maintenance, and refuse

This practice is leading to residents being asked to pay
management charges for the maintenance of open spaces as well
as council tax.

It has been found that these charges often increase markedly
following the initial development.

With regards to social rented or affordable homes, budgeting for
this cost can be extremely challenging in fact it has been found that
the charges levied are sometimes not properly accounted for.
In recent case the enquiring member authority have found that the
‘admin’ fee charged was as high as 60% of the overall charge.
The member authority would therefore be interested to learn
whether other local authorities are finding similar problems and how
they have dealt with them.

Responses will be used to form a view as to whether further action
is necessary to highlight this as an issue nationally form of a further
more detailed report which could be used to lobbying Government .


G0344 - Sponsorship - 23.01.18

A member authority is keen to know the different approaches and
income levels being taken/achieved by other local authorities
regarding sponsorship.

The areas they are interested in include:

  • Free Standing Unit
  • Lamp post Column
  • Banners
  • Roundabout
  • Gateways
  • Floral Display
  • Play
  • Trees
  • Advertising


G0343 - Employer contribution to professional memberships - 19.01.18

A member authority is seeking to review their policy for employer
contributions to professional memberships such as those that entitle
employees to Chartered status in Engineering and Accounting,

To assist with their review, they would be very grateful to understand the following in relation to the policies in place within your authority:

  • Are employees able to access contributions towards professional memberships?
  • If yes, do you have a set of criteria to determine eligibility that you could share?
  • Further, how do you administer the payment? If a beneficiary leaves before the end of their term of membership and you seek to re-coup the funds, how is this administered?

If you have a policy document that outlines your approach, which
you are able to share, this would be greatly appreciated too.


G0342 - New-Build Community Centres - 08.01.18

A local authority is at the outset of supporting a local group to
design and build a S106 and CIL funded community facility, which is
envisaged to include community activity rooms, outdoor sports
pitches, a community café and office space for the Parish Council.

They would be very glad to connect with colleagues in other
member authorities with experience of building a new Community
Centre and to gather a brief overview of the work undertaken. If
you have been or are involved in building a new Community Centre
and would be happy to share and discuss best practise with regards
to delivering a facility that meets Community needs, we’d be very
grateful if you could please contact us to outline the following:

  • When did you complete your Community Centre (or when is it due for completion)?
  • Facilities at the Community Centre
  • Key aspects of your approach to delivery and securing funding


G0341 - Developing a community support hub - 08.01.18

This APSE member authority is considering setting up Community
Support hubs and would welcome additional information from other
APSE members who have set up similar schemes. They would be
particularly interested in finding out about your approach to setting
up and running the hub, the Terms of Reference you have adopted
and how you have considered any Data protection implications.

They would also welcome information on:

  • Funding issues/solutions (are there specific models that you have used or best practice that is followed?)
  • What systems do you use to record and manage client personal data?
  • Any other information that would be useful to know before setting up a Community Support Hub.


G0340a - Event Strategies - 04.01.18

This local authority would be grateful if other local authorities could
provide information on the following questions about Event

  1. Does your Council have an events strategy?
  2. If so, are you able to provide details of:

a. Categorisation of Event Types

b. Charging Strategy

c. Assistance offered to event organisers

d. Booking System

e. Any Other Information

   3. Do you have management rules for events, and if so, how do you enforce them?



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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