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GM361 - Public Health funding for parks maintenance – 230614

This Authority would like to know if any Local Authority has secured funding from any  public health funding stream to undertake aspects of park maintenance.

GM360 - Volunteer Country Park Ranger service – 230614

This local authority are considering setting up a Volunteer Country Park Ranger service for a Country Park with over 200 acres they are currently developing which is due to open to the public during Winter 2014/15.  They are also supporting a community friends group of which many members have expressed an interest in becoming a volunteer ranger.  They would like some advice from member authorities who currently operate this service, in particular:

·         Do you train the volunteers? If so what courses do you provide?

·         What tasks do the volunteers carry out and how are they supervised?  If not supervised what are the consequences for volunteer injuries?

·         Are there any specific Health & Safety considerations and Insurances?

·         Do you work with commercial groups of volunteers?

·         Do you operate an application process if the service is oversubscribed, if so, how?

GM0359 - Proposals by developers to use Local Management Organisations to deliver grounds maintenance – 180614

A member authority is considering whether to support developer’s applications to set-up Local Management Organisations to deliver grounds maintenance services on new developments.  We would be very grateful if you could help by answering the following questions:

  •          What are your experiences of maintenance carried out on new developments by Local Management Organisations? Including: standards achieved, customer satisfaction and addition costs passed on to residents.
  • What policies do you have in place surrounding the response to applications from developers looking to use LMOs to deliver grounds maintenance?
  •          Do you have a policy in place that gives you first refusal on maintenance of land on new developments?
  •          Do you have a policy in place that means land comes under local authority management after a period of time?

GM0358 - Use of peat in compost for seasonal bedding plants - 160614

A member authority would like to know whether other member authorities use compost containing peat or reduced peat and how successful the outcomes are.  Please could you let us know answers to the following?

1) Do you specify peat free compost or peat reduced compost for your seasonal bedding plants?

2) If reduced, in what percentages?

3) Is there a marked difference in cost and quality of the finished plants

GM0357 - Managing small bridges in countryside services - 130614

This authority’s Countryside Service has a number of small bridges within its assets.  These may be woodland structure bridges (couple of sleepers over a 3ft ditch), a small stone structure over a pathway or it may be a significant large bridge and possibly a road with vehicle access over.

The would appreciate feedback on the following:

•         What are other authorities doing to manage and audit such structures?

•         Are any software systems available to assist with the management/audit of such structures?

•         If inspections are in place then what frequencies are applied?

GM0356 - Grounds Maintenance Contract Inspection Forms - 130614

This authority manages an external contractor for its grounds maintenance operation and is in the process of redesigning its inspection form for ongoing monitoring of the contract.  The new form will encompass inspections carried out on randomly selected sites to monitor the effectiveness of the contract, as well as in-process monitoring of the contractor’s activities and post-inspection of the work that they have carried out. The inspection will determine whether the specification is being adhered to, both in the manner in which the work is being carried out and the standard being achieved, with non-conformances being noted for further action.

They are looking for examples from other authorities of inspection forms that have been similarly designed and effectively used for performance management of contract and contractor, which they can use as a basis for their own redesign.  Although this is specifically for a grounds maintenance contract, examples are welcome for any front-line service that has a similar inspection criteria.

GM0355 - Public Open Space - Community Asset Transfers - 110614

This member authority is interested to learn about the experiences of other APSE member authorities who have or are in the process of transferring Public Open Space to organisations under Community Asset Transfer arrangements.

GM0354 - Parks and Grounds Maintenance Service Integration Strategies - 300514

This member authority is considering better integration between their Parks Service and Grounds Maintenance Service.

They would be interested to here from other APSE member authorities as to their own experiences of this model of delivery and also:

  • Any cost, quality, or other  benefits realised through this approach
  • Any savings on fleet, maintenance or other operational elements
  • Any added benefits such as income generation from events or sponsorship


GM0353A - Cafe lettings in Parks - 290514

A member authority is in the process of letting new and re-letting café concessions in their Parks and Play areas. 

They wish to explore opportunities to maximise the benefits to the parks as an attraction as well as maximise income

They would be grateful if others could share the following:

·        Specifications, property particulars sheets, application forms, evaluation matrices etc. 

·        Profit share agreements

·        Details of innovation in the tender methodology that increase overall benefits to park and tenderer

GM0353 - Use of Plant Growth Regulators – 150514

This local authority are currently undertaking trials in the use of Plant Growth Regulators (PGR’s) across a range of functional grassland areas, including sports turf, highway and amenity grassland and would like to be put in contact with any other local authority parks departments who have / are using PGR's in order to gain a greater understanding of operational impacts and savings delivered.

GM0352 - Conditions of let for public parks and open spaces

This local authority are reviewing and updating their conditions of let for public parks and open spaces and would appreciate any information from other Councils who may have undertaken a similar exercise. Please provide a copy of your terms and conditions if applicable.

GM0351 - Maintaining bowling greens and other fine turf areas - 140414
A member Authority is looking at the efficiency of cutting their bowling greens and other fine turf areas. They are considering the type of machinery they use.

They would like information from those (or their contractors) who currently use / have used a ride on mower to cut their bowling green’s / fine turf areas.

They would like to know the following:

  • The type of ride on mower you have chosen
  • Whether you perform any other operations with the same machine using different cassettes.
  • What problems (if any) you have come up against when using such machines.

GM0350 - Management of open spaces outside of council area
Do you manage any open spaces outside of your council area?

Please give brief details of the profile of these spaces ie. Number of such spaces and their hectarage and please state whether you additionally own these spaces.

GM0349 - Local Authority responses to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill Draft Consultation: Allotments - 090414
This local authority would welcome feedback from other APSE members in relation to responses to the above consultation, specifically relating to allotments. They would also welcome feedback regarding a potential group discussion with Scottish local authority allotment officers and equivalent.

GM0348 - Grounds maintenance ICT systems
This authority is looking at alternatives to their current grounds maintenance ICT package and would be grateful to receive the following information:

  • Which ICT package do you use to manage grounds maintenance contracts
  • Whether you have had problems with you ICT and details of such
  • Whether you would recommend your supplier to others

GM0347 - Pay rate information for parks and grounds maintenance services

This member authority is currently reviewing staff costs. The authority is therefore seeking information on salary payments for:

  • Gardeners
  • Charge Hand / Team Leader
  • Arborist
  • Gravediggers
  • Landscape Operatives
  • Parks Officer / Warden
  • Parks Manager

Recognising that not all jobs are the same across different authorities the following information is given:

  • Gardeners: These carry out the full range of grounds maintenance activities across a range of amenity landscapes, i.e. grass cutting,; shrub pruning; litter collection.
  • Charge Hand / Team Leader: The first line of management / supervision, organising day-to-day works in accordance with a programme. Is responsible for staff discipline / timekeeping.
  • Arborist: Carries out the full range of tree works across parks, housing areas, highways. Duties include climbing.
  • Gravediggers: Undertakes grave digging duties, both mechanical and manual.
  • Landscape Operatives: Carries out a range of hard and soft landscaping work, e.g. installation of play equipment, construction of roads and paths, turfing / seeding, planting.
  • Parks Officer / Warden: Undertakes a range of outreach work, developing links with the community (schools, users, friends of groups); also carries out some patrolling duties.
  • Parks Manager: Responsible for the management of gardeners and parks officers / wardens, which includes the allocation of resources and full disciplinary matters.

GM0346 - Local Authority waste and water charges in relation to allotment provision
This local authority would welcome feedback from other local authorities in relation to provision of skips to allotment sites within their boundaries, specifically:

  • Do you provide a skip delivery and uplift service to allotment sites?
  • What costs are associated with this service?
  • Does the local authority absorb this cost?

This local authority also would welcome feedback from other local authorities in relation to the provision of mains water to allotment sites within their boundaries, specifically:

  • Do you provide a mains water connection to allotment sites?
  • What costs are associated with this service?
  • Does the local authority absorb this cost?

GM0345 - Adverse weather conditions & effects on grass sports pitches - 270214
This local authority would like to hear from other Scottish member authorities to find out in the period Nov 1 2013 to date, how many times have grass sports pitches (football / rugby) in your authority area been unable for use due to waterlogging / snow etc?

GM0344 - Grounds maintenance images - 260214
As part of cutting back their services to meet reducing budgets, this local authority are putting together a series of presentations to demonstrate what the changes in staffing and resources will looklike on the ground. The changes include removing seasonal flower beds, removing shrubberies and hedges to reduce maintenance requirements. These are fairly easy things to present as a picture.

However, they also would like to show how areas will look when the grass cutting frequencies are changed - most of their sites currently get a fortnightly cut, but they are proposing reducing this to every 6, 8 or 10 weeks. They don’t have any images for this and would like to know if any other local authorities have images which they could share to display how areas look when grass cutting.

Standard minute values for Burials Service - GM0343/260214
This authority would like to see how their timings compare with other Authorities in relation to their Burials Service. They would be grateful if other member authorities would provide their standard Minute Values for the following activities:

Excavation of Graves

  • NEW GRAVE       
  • For 3 persons
  • For 2 persons      
  • For 1 person


  • For 3 persons         
  • For 2 persons
  • For 1 person

The backfill times for the above. Dressing of grave before burial.

Charges for fishing - GM0341/180214
This authority is reviewing its charges for fishing and would like to find out from other authorities the following:

  • How much do you charge fishing clubs to lease fishing ponds?
  • And how long are the leases for?
  • How much do you charge per peg if there is not a club?
  • How and what criteria do you use to assess and value waters? Size? Number of pegs? Volume of water?

Open spaces asset plan - GM0342/240214
This local authority are currently drafting up their Open Space Asset Plan to register all of their assets in parks, play areas, cemeteries, monuments etc. They would like to find out if other councils have completed their asset plan already and would be willing to send a copy through to assist them.

Chemical usage for parks services - GM0337
This member authority would like to find out which other local authorities are running a database of all chemical usage in their areas. If you do, what system do you have in place?

Risk assessments for grounds maintenance/landscape operational services - GM0338
This local authority would like to find out from grounds maintenance/landscape operational services in other councils, what processes you use for the following:

  • To distribute all operational risk assessments to the front line (operational) workforce
  • Record their receipt of such risk assessments

They would also like to know what process is used when risk assessments are reviewed and/or updated, due to periodic review or incidental review. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Crematorium - Facultative Technology Mercury abatement - GM0336/111213
Does any local Authority use the heat exchanger installed with the Facultatieve Technology Mercury abatement unit to heat any buildings/greenhouses etc. using the heated water generated from the abatement process.

If so:

  • How many, if any Crematoriums are capturing this energy?
  • How are you using the energy?
  • What companies can or have carried out the installation?
  • What was the cost of installation?
  • What savings were made after installation?


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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