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GM0450 - Inspection/repair regimes for footpaths/roads in parks and cemeteries - 111215

This authority is reviewing its arrangements for looking at inspection regimes for footpaths and roads in parks and cemeteries. They would like to hear from other local authorities who have adopted an inspection/repair regime for footpaths/roads within parks and cemeteries. They are particularly interested to know whether the regime been used successfully in defending 3rd party claims in court. They would be grateful for any other related information.

GM0449 - Assisted Garden Maintenance Scheme - 041215

A member authority is enquiring whether any other local authority has an Assisted Garden Maintenance Scheme for the elderly and disabled and if so, is there a charge for it?  
In those authorities where this service was previously free, was there a reduction in the number of clients receiving or applying for the service after charging was introduced?

GM0448 - Tree Felling / Tree Stump removal policy - 241115

This member authority is seeking information on how other councils deal with tree felling and tree stumps, on both highway verges and in parks / country parks. They would be interested to share any policy, whether these are written or part of normal operating practice, covering:

  • tree felling and whether stumps are removed as a matter of course - is stump removal of a felled tree done at the same time, or at a later date in batches (e.g. by a different team or contractor).
  • routine highways tree inspections of existing tree stumps and the removal of any stumps that may have been left from previous years. 

They would also be interested in authorities' experience with insurance claims related to tree stumps as tripping hazards.

GM0447 - Electronic recording of trees - 201115

A member authority’s tree service is interested in the systems that other authorities use in delivering interactive electronic data recording in the field (street trees, trees in parks, on open spaces etc). Our aim is to put in place a system that deals with all enquiries / inspections from the initial stage, recording all intermediate stages, raising orders to external contractors, budget monitoring, analysing the data and providing alerts to future dates for inspection. 
They are very interested to learn what works for your service and what does not. All experience will be very gratefully received.

GM0446 - Dog Control Notices in Parks - 201115

A member authority is enquiring if other LA's have been able to use the Control Of Dogs Act to enforce dog control in parks , as opposed to how a Housing Department having more data on who dog owners are within their properties.
If a local authority has issued dog control notices, how did they gather the necessary data – via patrols, responses to owner data provided by third parties, CCTV or any other means?

GM0445 - Use of DNA IN identifying dog fouling culprits - 191115

A member authority has established a street scene Scrutiny task and finish group looking at Dog DNA in the identification and prosecution of dog owners allowing their dogs to foul public highway.

They are interested in discovering whether any other authorities are looking at this initiative or are looking at implementing any such system.

GM0444 - Weed Control - 161115

A member authority is enquiring  as to what other local authorities are using to control weed growth, specifically is anyone is using non Glyphosate based herbicides,  and if so, what is/are the product(s)?

GM0443 - Dealing with redundant highways plant and equipment - 281015

We are interested to find out how member authorities deal with redundant highways plant and equipment such as cut off saws, wacker plates, breakers, CAT’s (cable avoidance tools) , chain saws, leaf blowers, small mowers.
 Do you:

  • Sell it for re-use?

If you do what medium do you use (Ebay, council website , APSE Marketplace, other)?  Please provide detail

  • Sell it for scrap value?
  • Give it to charity?
  • Destroy it?

Please provide any relevant information.

GM0442 - Flexible working in integrated street scene services - 281015

A member Authority has integrated routine highway maintenance, grounds maintenance and street cleansing into a single team operating out of three main depots.

As a consequence they are seeking thoughts/ideas from other Authorities  on the best option to introduce flexible working into the new Streetscene team.

GM0441 - Parks and Play Areas Strategy - 221015

An APSE member is enquiring whether any authority has a  Parks and Play Areas Strategy in place and if so how was the strategy agreed. Also, would any local authority  be willing to share a copy of their agreed strategy.

GM0440 - Improving allotments - 151015

A member authority is interested in discovering how other councils are managing/improving their allotments. In particular, they are keen to discover:

  • Have any councils had particular success in reducing the costs associated with allotments and what worked well for them?
  • What methods have councils used to improve the quality of plots (weeding and cultivation) and which were the most successful methods?
  • How have councils used allotments to  improve/support wider council outcomes linked to Health and Wellbeing?

GM0439 - Angling rights - 151015

A member authority has an enquiry regards the provision of angling rights. In particular they are interested in:

  •  Have any authorities recently tendered the angling rights to enclosed waters?
  • Are any authorities in possession of a standard angling lease that they can circulate? 
  • How was the tender marketed / advertised?

GM0438 - HSE contamination risk to employees - 061015

A member authority has recently been audited by the Health and Safety Executive as part of the 2015/16 intervention process. 
They would like to know if any member authority have information and procedures they could share on the following:

  1. Gross contamination - action plan in relation to an employee being covered by liquids, faeces etc. from the back of an RCV during collections.  What procedures are in place?
  2. Garden waste - bio-aerosols - procedures, guidance on assessing impact on staff in relation to spores and moulds during garden waste wheeled bin collections.  Data including any COSHH data, lung function testing and health surveillance procedures.

GM0437 - Inspection of goal posts - 051015

A member authority is interested to discover how other council’s carry out their maintenance regime for the inspection of goal posts on their play areas, five/seven a side pitches, football pitches, kick-abouts etc. More specifically are these inspections carried out by qualified staff i.e. RoSPA trained?

GM0436 - Hearing loss claims - 011015

An APSE member authority is undertaking research in respect of industrial injury claims for alleged noise induced hearing loss, particularly from persons who have worked in Refuse Collection, Street Cleansing and/or Parks environments and with associated equipment and should be grateful to receive comments from other authorities particularly in relation to the following:

  1. Have any councils/Local Authorities (LAs) received industrial injury claims for alleged noise induced hearing loss particularly from persons who have worked in Refuse Collection, Street Cleansing and/or Parks environments and with associated equipment?
  2. Did your council/LA engage the services of an acoustic engineer and if so, can you advise who you engaged?
  3. Did your council/LA challenge the claim in court and, if so, what was the outcome?
  4. Are there any court judgments in relation to your Council/LA for noise induced hearing loss?

GM0435 - Animal Proof Bins - 011015

A member authority is enquiring how other authorities prevent animals (dogs, foxes, squirrels etc.) from accessing bins, both domestic refuse bins and bins in parks and greenspace areas.
They would also be interested if details of manufacturers of animal proof bins/devices used by local authorities to prevent animal access could be given.

GM0434 - Parks and Open Space Working Models/Working Patterns - 300915

A member authority is looking to revise its current working model/patterns within the Parks and Open Space service.  The authority would be interested in hearing from other authorities who have revised their working model/patterns within the past 5 years.  Please provide details of the changes and if they have been a success or otherwise.

GM0433 - Compost Toilets - 300915

A member authority is keen to hear from any local authority which is using compost toilets and in which services. They are also interested in hearing about interested to hear about the pros and cons of using them.

GM0432 - Enforcement of Waste Receptacle Offences Deregulation Act 2015 - 191015

A member authority is looking at the new requirements in relation to the Enforcement of Waste Receptacle Offences Deregulation Act 2015. They are enquiring whether any LA would be willing to share their procedures / flow charts etc. and any standard documents developed to allow these offences to be continued to be managed.

GM0431 - Aquatics Advice - 240915

A member authority is enquiring whether any other authorities have observed that ponds with hi concentrations of aquatic plants do not have significant algal blooms?

The member is also enquiring if any authority has developed a method of recolonizing significant aquatic plant colonies in ponds which also have a large population of water fowl?

GM0430 - Booking systems - Tennis in Parks - 180915

A member authority is investigating options regarding the introduction of a block booking system for tennis courts in parks.  
It is also considering options for the charges associated with this.

  • Do you have experience of introducing such a booking system or similar?  
  • If so, what have been the advantages and the disadvantages?  
  • What are the fees and charges for tennis including block bookings?

GM0429 - Grounds maintenance review - 150915

A member authority is currently reviewing aspects of their grounds maintenance service, and is enquiring how other authorities provide the service, in particular:

  • Does any authority undertake grounds maintenance work internally or with sub-contractors or a mixture of the two?
  • If it is a mixture can the authority clarify the breakdown of responsibilities between the two.
  • If standards have been set, what are these (e.g. the frequency of weeding/ cutting, height of grass).
  • Do you use specific performance indicators to measure performance in these areas ( internal and KPI)
  • Does your authority undertake a chemical weed control programme to treat highway kerb channels?
  • How many applications/treatments per annum are carried out?
  • Are these works carried out "in-house" or sub contracted?
  • If you do not undertake a chemical weed control programme what else do you use (if anything) to control weed growth?

GM0428 - Garden Sizes - 140915

A member authority has recently carried out a review of their gardens and have found that many of their tenants find their large gardens difficult to manage. In light of this, they are looking into an idea to change the boundaries of these properties to make the gardens more manageable and utilise the spare land for open space / allotments or even to build on.   They would be interested to discover if any other local authorities or developers /landlords within a local authority area have explored this idea?

GM0427 - Estimating visitors to Parks - 040915

A member authority has counters installed in two of their parks to count the number of visitors to their Parks. Based on an annual visitor per hectare figure, they want  to calculate total visitors to all Oxfords Parks and open spaces by using a scaling system. 
They are looking at how they can use the data from these counters to estimate the number of visitors to their other parks and would like to hear from other authorities who have done the same.
If possible, please tell us how you build estimates for Parks visitor numbers and what factors you take into account.

GM0426 - Charges for Bowling Greens - 040915

A member authority is currently undertaking a review of Bowling Green Charges within its Parks and Open Spaces.
At the present time, they charge clubs match fees and there is a requirement to purchase a bowling contract, however despite regular inspections, many bowlers do not purchase them.
As a result they are looking to review different options for charging and would like to hear from other Authority’s about their charging policies relating to bowling greens managed and maintained by the council.
Ideally they would like a breakdown of the various charges that authorities have in place regarding this activity such as: 

  • Is there a requirement to have a seasonal or annual bowling contract? If so what is the cost?
  • Do clubs pay additional group bookings or match fees? If so what is the cost?
  • Do authorities have any other charges relating to the use of greens?
  • How do authorities monitor income levels?

GM0425 - Fly-grazing - 280915

A member authority is interested in finding out how other local authorities are dealing with fly grazing, following the introduction of the Control of Horses Act 2015, which makes changes to the law to deter people from illegally grazing / abandoning horses on public and private land. In particular they would welcome information on any of the following:

  • data on recorded incidents, including numbers progressed to formal action
  • whether you have experienced an increase in fly grazing cases in recent years
  • whether you use a bailiff service or handle cases in-house
  • whether you have a written Council policy / strategy for disposal following seizure
  • whether you are considering any contractual arrangement to deal with placement / disposal of a seized animal
  • financial implications
  • any other issues

GM0424 - Group Fitness Sessions in Parks - 120815

Group fitness sessions in parks are increasingly popular.
Do you have a licensing or authorisation process for any of the following:

  • Verification of qualifications
  • Insurance
  • Customer charges - applied by the fitness organiser to the user
  • Charges applied by the Authority to the fitness organiser
  • Instructors ratios
  • Age limitations
  • Safeguarding 
  • First aid
  • Programming 
  • Use of equipment
  • Restrictions 

Any examples of such systems or best practice principles for managing park fitness would be greatly appreciated.

GM0423 - Managing allotments - 070815

A member authority is currently reviewing their Street Services arrangements for the management of allotments, and would appreciate any feedback in relation to the following questions:
1.    How many sites do you have?
2.    How many plots do you have irrespective of size?
3.    What plot sizes do you offer and what is your current annual rent for these plots?
4.    Is water charged separately to the plot rent or included?
5.    Do you provide a dedicated maintenance person?
6.    Do you charge an annual management fee or any other fees in addition to the rent?
7.    When do you issue invoices?
8.    What is your current % level of service subsidy?
9.    Are you looking to achieve a cost neutral service?  Yes / No and comments.

GM0422 - Green Estate Management - 070815

A member authority wishes to know if any local authorities have external organisations that undertake their green estate management. 
Information in relation to the questions below would be appreciated. Alternatively they would  value the chance to speak to any other authorities that might be interested in exchanging ideas and information in relation to green estate management. The questions they are looking for information on are;
1.    How much land do the external organisations manage?
2.    What was the rationale for the Council transferring land management to them?
3.    What cost savings has the Council made as a result?
4.    What is the external organisations principle source of income?
5.    How have they commercialised their income streams 
6.    How much funding do they receive from the Council and is this planned to be reduced?
7.    What have been some of the challenges in taking on this management?
8.    What have been some of the benefits – expected as well as unanticipated?!
9.    Can we contact you again for more detail/to arrange a visit?


GM0421 - Baby Cremation Trays - 240715

A member is interested in how member authorities use baby trays for the cremation of very young children, stillborn and non-viable foetus.  In particular if they are able to share any risk assessments and working procedures.

  • Specifically if they can share details of what tray they use (e.g. manufacturer and size/weight)?
  • How do they charge it into their cremator (did the cremator need anything fixing to it and what make is the cremator)?
  • How do they retrieve the tray from the cremator and do they leave it to cool first or not?
  • If the tray is cooled elsewhere, where do they do this?
  • What impact is using a tray having on the rest of the cremation service (e.g. do they restrict the number of baby services, only hold them on certain days, do other cremations need to be delayed while tray is cooling, has gas use increased etc.)?

GM0420 - Transferring paper inspections to electronic forms - 220715
A member authority has been carrying out research  into changing from paper inspection forms to electronic forms on tablets or PDA’s. The type of inspections they generally carry out are playground inspections, vehicle checks, lifebuoy inspections, safety audits of public open spaces etc. 
We would like to hear from other members who may have already automated some or all of their inspection processes to find out their experiences and which software packages they may be using.

GM0419 - Mower Replacement Schedules - 220715

A member is enquiring as to information on other local authorities replacement schedule for replacement of Mowers such as Scag and Dane Mowers. They wish to know how often people   generally replace them at 3 years, 5 years, 7 years or 10 years for example

GM0418 - Re-opening graves - 200715

An APSE member is wanting to know what procedures bereavement services have for re-opening graves in their cemeteries, in particular those  graves located in grassed  sections where machinery can gain access to the required grave?

GM0417 - Dog parliaments (dog training courses and social events) in parks/playing fields - 150715

This authority currently would like to know:

  1. Do other local authorities have a standard procedure for dog parliaments (dog training courses and social events) using playing fields? Details on any process maps would be very useful.
  2. What do other local authorities charge for this service?
  3. What documentation do they require? Things such as insurances, qualifications, etc.

GM0416 - Environmental maintenance costs for housing - 140715

This authority is looking to compare costs for environmental works for the housing estate. 
The category of work included is as follows - grass cutting to open plan gardens and enclosed gardens to bungalows, shrub and tree maintenance and added value services to sheltered accommodation such as gritting and removal of grass cuttings.

They would like to know the overall annual cost of the work and the number of properties covered. In their case the figures are £455,563 for 15,600 properties so a cost per unit of £29.20

GM0415 - Arboricultural Service Responsibilities - 070715

A member authority is looking to gather information on the tree assets and responsibilities of other Arboriculture Services. 
Their area of interest area as follows:
a.       The size of geographical area covered
b.      Estimated total number of arboricultural trees and area of woodland (ha) that your Authority is responsible for
c.       Does your Authority have a published Tree Risk Management Framework setting out Duty of Care priorities for Inspections and remedial works 
d.      Number of Tree Officers (or equivalent) inspecting and re-inspecting trees
e.      What is your inspection and re-inspection timescales? 
f.        Number of Arborists/operatives dealing with actions arising from inspections and re-inspections
g.       Percentage of work undertaken by DLO or by contractor on behalf of the authority  
h.      Number of Tree based enquires per annum (political and non-political) 
i.         Is software and/or mobile technology utilised and if so what system?

GM0414 - Private Sports Clubs in Parks - 070715

A member authority is enquiring ads to whether any local authorities have been affected by the issue of fitness clubs operating in town and country parks. They are therefore looking for any experiences of how other local authorities  have dealt with or regulated these activities.
The main issues they have encountered so far are;-

  •  There can be conflicts with other park users and residents over car parking, noise and feelings of intimidation, as often happens with single interest groups, they can sometimes fail to consider other users.
  • Health and safety and insurance responsibility/liability for group members is also an issue. As land owners we have a responsibility but the activity organisers also must take some responsibility.
  • The issue of income, which as a cash strapped authority they need to consider, for  if a club is charging a fee through running a business on the authorities property, should they be asking for a contribution and  if so, how much.

 The member would appreciate any advice and experiences of dealing with these issues whereby their queries could be addressed whilst at the same time avoiding such clubs feeling threatened and ceasing to operate in local authority parks.

GM0413 - Headstone Management Policy - 020715

An APSE member is currently updating their Cemetery Management Policies, and would like to ask if colleagues who manage the Cemetery and Bereavement Services have a recent  Headstone Management Policy, they would be willing  to share with them.

GM0412 - Woodland management - 250615

A member authority is carrying out woodland management using local groups and contractors as a licenced tenant. They are interested in hearing from any local authority who may have examples of agreements that they have used regarding their woodland sites where they are using either local companies or not for profits organisations to manage the woodland and allowing them to utilise the products to cover their costs. 
Also they are interested to find out whether any local authorities have any licencing or tenancy agreements that might cover this?

GM0411 - Hiring of bikes in parks - 250615

An APSE member has been asked by their members about implementing a bike hire scheme in some of our parks and open spaces.
They would be interested to know whether any other local authorities allow the hiring of bikes within their parks and open spaces, and how their schemes are run and maintained (i.e. renting mountain bikes or using a similar idea to the 'Boris Bikes')

GM0410 - Alternatives to chemical weed control - 240615

A member authority is looking at options for alternative weed control other than chemical application and would welcome feedback from  local authorities on:

  1. Types of alternative weed control used( they would be particularly interested in authorities that have trialled salt applications).
  2. Method of application.
  3. Effectiveness of treatment
  4. Cost of the treatment per application

GM0409 - Computer software packages for bedding plants - 240615

A member authority is enquiring as to the types of computer software packages other Council’s use to quantify the varieties, location and numbers / quantity of annual bedding plants they require to purchase or grow.

GM0408 - Parks Strategies - 080615

A member is currently looking to produce a Parks Strategy to guide the future provision of the service. They wish to ensure that the priorities / targets / objectives within the strategy take into account the continued reduction in service budgets and staffing levels. They would be interested to have feedback from other authorities who have undertaken a similar exercise

GM0407 - Motorbikes in open spaces - 080615

A member Authority has a recurring issue with motorbike use on some of its open spaces.  It is interested in hearing from other Authorities on any innovative approaches to dealing with the problem and additionally, whether other Authorities are aware of any consultancies that may be able to provide a strategic solution to the problem of motorbike use.

GM0406 - Volunteer litter-pickers - 030615

A member authority is interested to hear what other councils do about the safety of voluntary litter-picking groups. For a number of years they have encouraged volunteers to carry out work in their localities and supported such events by providing equipment and free disposal. However they are now being advised that volunteers should be treated the same as their own employees and undergo induction and ongoing training. This seems beyond what is reasonably practicable and the authority is keen to hear about other councils experiences.

GM0405 - Maintenance of memorial features in parks and open spaces - 030615

An APSE member is enquiring whether other members have any guidelines or policies on the responsibility for maintaining memorial benches, plaques or notice boards. They have a number of parks and countryside areas with a large number of memorial benches for example, but do not have a policy on what happens once they reach their end of life or become unsafe, other than simply remove them. Therefore they would be interested in receiving any information on maintenance and replacement policies on such items.

GM0404 - Timber Certification Policy - 190515

A member authority is keen to know whether any other local authorities have introduced a Timber First Policy, which puts a presumption in favour of using sustainable timber, and in which service areas has it been applied most frequently.

GM0403 - Arborist safety equipment - 180515

A member authority is interested in finding out what other councils use regarding PPE and chainsaws.
They are particularly interested in finding details on:

  • What type of trouser is used for arborists and forestry teams class, make and have they got front and rear protection.
  • What class of chainsaw boot is used and make of boot.
  • What make of safety helmet.
  • What type / make of earmuff is used.
  • What criteria is used for working out safety clothing rating. i.e. do you consider heat stress as a risk factor against added protection and is the speed rating of the saw-chain taken into account.

GM0402 - Out-sourced grave digging costs - 120515

An APSE member is are currently reviewing their Bereavement Service. As part of this review they are interested in gathering the following information about out-sourced  grave digging service costs:

  • Cost of digging a double Grave
  • Cost of digging Single Grave
  • Cost digging re-opener

They would also be interested in any other relevant grave-digging service costs.

GM0401 - Use of glyphosate in horticultural practices - 050515

A member authority is enquiring that following the recent International Research Agency on Cancer ( IARC) report, which stated that the chemical glyphosate probably" causes cancer in people”, and acknowledging that

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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