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Developing a shared depot – G0100/241212
Two councils are currently considering the benefits of developing a shared depot. The shared depot would provide suitable accommodation and facilities for the following services: waste collection, parks and landscape maintenance, housing maintenance and workshops. They are looking for any advice / lessons learnt with regards to other councils that may have developed a combined depot facility or have recently built a depot.

Friends of parks groups – GM0304/111212
This local authority would like to know how many established ‘Friends of Parks Groups’ other local authorities operate within their areas; and, if possible:

The level of external grants / funding these Friends of Parks Groups may have generated to support projects within their specific park / location

How many officer posts support these Friends of Parks Groups relative to the total number of parks operated by the local authority

Hand Arm Vibration for pedestrian mowing operations – GM0295/130912
This local authority carries out a regular programme of vibration monitoring of all grounds maintenance operations. The monitoring is carried out using a device that accurately records trigger time of each machine and calculates the vibration exposure using the HSE point system. It has become apparent that during normal pedestrian mowing operations, staff exceed the exposure action value (EAV – 100 points). Although the machinery is low to medium vibration, the problem is the length of time that operatives use the mowers during a working day. Job rotation is an impractical solution as the majority of the work during the summer period is grass mowing.

Franchising Opportunities in Parks – GM0293/130912
The APSE Scotland Parks, Grounds and Street Services Advisory Group at its meeting in August 2012 considered the issue of franchises in parks from an income generated perspective.

There was a recognition within the Advisory Group that the Parks service is particularly vulnerable in terms of the forthcoming budget reductions. Given this Councils or parks managers are keen to explore the role and value of franchising within parks. It would be appreciated if Councils could provide information on franchising opportunities in terms of what they do specifically with regard to:

The nature/type of franchise they operate:

  • The income generated
  • Management arrangements

Educational centres in country park facilities – GM0292/SL0149/280812
This local authority would like to hear from other authorities that have Country Park Facilities that include educational centres who are willing to share their revenue costs for the education centre/function? Can they also state the nature of adults, children and group that they cater for, and what sort of activities they deliver?

Specification for the maintenance of dog waste bins – GM0291/170812
This local authority would appreciate receiving examples of an operational specification for the maintenance of dog waste bins (emptying, cleansing, repair, replacement, etc.) from other local authorities.

Programme for restoring a bandstand – GM0290/070812
This authority is currently restoring a bandstand and wondered if any other local authority can help with a cost for annual maintenance and typical programme for budget preparation. The bandstand will be standard Victorian style with metal work umbrella style cover and stone base. The diameter will be about 6 metres. It stands on a grass surface which is mowed frequently.

Dog Free Zones – GM0289/270712
A member authority has been tasked with looking at the possibility of introducing "Dog free zones" within public parks and would like to hear from anyone who already operates these types of areas.

They would specifically be interested in the methods used to monitor their effectiveness and also how enforcement of the rules are applied.

Use of strimmers – GM0283/220612
This local authority grounds maintenance service would like to hear about measures other councils put in place to control the safety risks from the use of strimmers. They would also welcome copies of manuals, procedures or risk assessment forms relating to this.

Alternative Working Patterns for Street Cleansing & Grounds Maintenance Services– RSC0492/280612
A member authority is currently operating the traditional 5 day working week from Monday to Friday for its Street Cleansing & Grounds Maintenance services. Are any Councils operating an alternative work pattern within these services? If so, could the Council please provide information on the type of alternative pattern being used and any feedback on the pattern since implementation?

Waste Analysis – RSC0493/280612
A member of APSE is interested to know the following:

Have any member authorities conducted a Waste Analysis exercise in the last few years (based upon household waste arisings), in order to establish exactly what type and scale of waste is being produced/handled.

If your authority have conducted this type of exercise or similar, would you be willing to share the results.

Size and weight of trade waste containers – RSC0494/280612
This local authority would like to find out if any other councils have carried out recent checks on the various sizes of trade waste containers to establish the weight per container.

The impact of higher levels of rain on grass cutting – GM0287/050712
This local authority would like to ask other local authorities about how they have handled the grass cutting over the last few months due to the higher levels of rain.

In particular:

  • What impact has the recent wet weather had on your grass cutting schedule?
  • Have you had to hire in extra machinery?
  • Have you had to extend working hours/ offer overtime?

Procurement of plant for grounds maintenance and highways – G0083/270612
This local authority would like to find out from other councils how they procure plant for grounds maintenance (e.g. mowers) and highways (e.g. compressors and compaction equipment). They would like to know:

  • Do you hire or procure this equipment (or have a mixed approach)?
  • Where you hire, how long is the contract usually for?
  • If you procure, do you do this in collaboration with other local authorities or other organisations?
  • Is grounds maintenance and highway plant machinery procured together or separately?

Managing allotments – GM0281/150512
This local authority would like to know:

  • How do other local authorities manage the administration of allotments?
  • Do you have any procedures/policies you are willing to share on inspections and issuing non-compliances and evictions?
  • How do you log phone calls and requests (e.g. through the contact centre)?
  • What is the response time for requests?

What maintenance obligations do you have? Does this include the following:

  • Clearing, spraying and rotavating plots before they are handed to new tenants
  • Maintaining all paths/boundary structures
  • Clean up events
  • Deliver compost
  • Anything else not covered above

Use of quad bikes for spraying kerb lines and around obstacles – GM0280/020512
This council would like feedback from other authorities who have carried out a risk assessment for the use of quad bikes for spraying kerb lines and around obstacles. Please provide copies of risk assessments where applicable.

Small dog walking businesses – GM0279/020512
This local authority would like to find out from other authorities if they have introduced any charges, enforcement measures, policies or risk assessments specific to small walking dog businesses.

Recently this council have experienced an increase in these businesses using their parks, open spaces and sports pitches and would like to know if other authorities are encountering similar increases and how they have managed this.

Risk Assessments and voluntary groups operating on council owned land GM0276/190412
This authority is working with a number of clubs/groups who carry out their activities on council owned land.

Clearly the council is concerned about the safety of local people using facilities and holds a measure of responsibility as they are taking place on council owned land.

The council is asking them to undertake risk assessments when they make any repairs/improvements to facilities (e.g. when a fishing club is about to repair fishing platforms). Guidance is provided by the council with the forms given to the clubs and it states that the council will look at all risk assessments once they are completed.

There are a number of circumstances where the same issues will arise including upcoming Jubilee celebrations.

They are interested what other councils’ approach is to dealing with the following:

  • Whether any training or support is provided to clubs/groups to help them carry out risk assessments?
  • Who carries out the work if a risk assessment identifies a significant issue?
  • Whether works carried out by clubs/groups is checked by council staff? (e.g. in the above case, whether all fishing platforms are checked)

Types of Coffins - GM0275
The numbers of cardboard, wicker and wool coffins being received at this local authority’s two Crematoria are increasing. The structural integrity of these coffins varies enormously and have caused problems when charging the coffins and during the initial stages of cremation. Are any other Local Authorities experiencing problems with these types of coffins? If so, this authority would be grateful to hear of what types of problems and what action you have taken.

Keeping allotment sites animal-free GM0274
This authority would welcome feedback from other authorities in relation to keeping allotment sites ‘animal free’.  Due to the Allotment Act 1950 which states that a plot holder can have chickens and/or rabbits on allotment plots, they would like to know if other local authorities have:

  • Managed to prevent plot holders from bringing chickens and/or rabbits onto sites;
  • How this has been done and what mechanisms/powers have been used.

Memorials spanning two or more graves - GM0273
This authority would like to know whether any burial authorities allow memorials to span two (or more) graves. If not, what justification do you use when refusing applications? And if you do, do you simply charge the equivalent of two rights to erect or do you have a different charge?

Application for Interment and Transfer of Right of Burial Queries - GM0272
This authority have recently received applications for interments and for the transfer of right of burial where it has been difficult to establish who the actual legal lair holder is.

They have undertaken some work in this area and are looking to amend their current practices and prior to doing this, felt it may be beneficial to establish what other councils practices are in this area.

It would therefore be extremely beneficial to them if you could provide them with some information on how you currently deal with applications for interment and transfer of right of burial applications.

When an application for an interment is made, if the lair certificate is produced by the funeral director or person arranging the interment, do you establish who the actual lair holder is or simply accept the lair certificate, even though the person in possession of the lair certificate may not be the legal lair holder?

When an application for interment is made and no lair certificate is available, what is your procedure?

If the application is made by a person other than the recorded lair holder, will you accept the application or do you insist on the lair being transferred prior to the interment taking place?

If you allow the interment to proceed, do you insist after the interment has taken place on a transfer being carried out, and if so is there a specific time period this must be done within?

This council’s Rules and Regulations for Burial Grounds booklet states unless the holder of the right of burial dies and leaves a will regulating who will succeed to the right of burial then the order of succession is as follows:

  • Surviving Spouse
  • Child (starting with the eldest)
  • Grandchild
  • Other direct issue

Is this different in other local authorities, and if so what is it?

What measures are taken to establish that the person applying for the transfer is actually the legal lair holder, i.e. Do you require some sort of written proof?

Is your procedure for Application for Erecting Memorial the same as Application for Interments? If not, how does this differ?

It would also be very beneficial if you were able to provide copies of any forms which you use for Form of Indemnity, Transfer of Right of Burial and Application for Erection of Memorial. Copies of this council’s current forms are available on request.

Allotment inspections - GM0271
This authority would like to hear from other authorities who engage in allotment inspections. They would appreciate copies of any guidance on dealing with asbestos, COSHH etc and copies of risk assessments covering these areas.

Seasonal working arrangements - GM0270/RSC0469
This council would like to ask other members about their approach to seasonal workers over the spring/summer period. In particular:

  • When do other Local Authorities commence their seasonal workers?
  • For what length of time?
  • What proportion of your workforce is made up of seasonals?
  • How are you managing the longer seasons (as the environment continues to change) - are you beginning to cut grass earlier and continue on in to Autumn?

Street weed-killing - vehicles and hand lance use - GM0269
This authority would welcome feedback from other authorities on the following:

How are Local Authorities or their weed control contractors who use ATV’s planning to treat street weeds this year (includes mini tractors and Quad bikes). This authority would welcome information specifically around the use of hand lances attached to the vehicle whilst it is moving to treat road channels and around obstacles.

There are set to be further labelling controls on products (reinforcing previous guidance about blanket spraying being unacceptable). What are the alternative methods and implications being considered for those who have contracts for street weed control by ATVs etc. For example, are contractors parking up vehicles and pedestrian spraying only or continuing to “target” spray from vehicles and treating around edges and obstacles on foot with a separate resource, are you re-advertising contracts or doing something else?

Annualised hours for schools grounds maintenance - GM0268
This authority would welcome further information or advice on how other authorities have implemented an annualised hours scheme. They would also appreciate:

  • Copies of relevant policies on annualised hours that other authorities are happy to share
  • Any advice on the pitfalls of such a scheme
  • Any issues you have had with implementation and operation of such a scheme

Tree inspections- GM0267
In light of recent gale force winds this authority are revising their policy on the inspection of trees. 

How often do other authorities inspect trees and do they have different inspection regimes for Highways, Parks and Schools?

Grave digging equipment – GM0265/040112
As part of an internal review, this council are seeking information on what grave digging equipment other members are using.

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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