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GM0523 - Visitor counting systems 21.11.16

A member authority manages a well-loved major town centre park
with many facilities, which attracts significant numbers of people
every year.
For performance monitoring purposes they monitor visitor numbers
using people counters at the five main entry points to the park.
These are currently proving to be ineffective because the data they
gather is unreliable.
They would therefore be very grateful for information on how other
local authorities monitor visitor numbers in their major parks and
would be interested to hear:
1 What types of people counters they find are effective
(details on make and model would help)
2 Any other technologies used for gathering visitor
3 Other methods for assessing visitor numbers


GM0522 - Smoking in children's play areas 21.11.16

A member authority is currently looking into whether smoking in
children’s play areas should be banned and enforced. They are
currently looking at alternative options and would like to know the
experience of other authorities with similar schemes:
1. Has smoking in children’s play areas been banned by your
2. If so have you used a Public Spaces Protection Order or
other enforcement power? Or have you used a voluntary scheme?
3. What sort of feedback have you received from introducing
such orders? How has any enforcement been received?
4. What other alternatives did you try, or might suggest?


GM0521 - Experiences with commercial pedestrianmowers 15.11.16

This member authority has had some difficulties acquiring reliable
commercial pedestrian mowers. They would be very grateful to
receive any advice you can offer on makes and models for future
In particular, they would be grateful if you could arrange for
someone to note an answer to the following questions:
· What make and model (s) of pedestrian mowers are you
· Are there any problems with your machine? i.e. machine is
heavy or variable speed issues
· Do you find the HAV rating to be high? If so, what steps have
you taken to reduce the impact?


GM0520 - Community managed green spaces 15.11.16

A member authority is receiving more and more requests from
communities who wish to maintain council land, which to some
degree is due to budget cuts, where some land in minimum
maintenance regimes.
They are interested in asking how other local authorities deal with
communities who maintain their land, if they have any agreements
and details on how the land is insured etc.
They therefore wish to know whether other Councils offer
communities the opportunity to maintain land owned by the Council.
And if so, what terms and conditions/formal agreements/insurances
are in place?


GM0519 - Bowling Green Charges 26.10.16

A member authority is looking for information relating to bowling
green charges and any innovative ways councils are managing and
letting their bowling greens.
If you could provide information on this issue they would be grateful.


GM0518 - Closed Churchyards management 21.10.16

Closed Churchyards are subject to Section 215 of the Local
Government Act 1972 but after that they have found that there is
not much more guidance available. There is the view that the Act
is sufficient , but the member authority is looking for further
guidance on the following issues:
•Inspection regimes- does any local authority have policies or
schedules for inspections?
•What should be included in the inspection; boundaries, paths,
memorials etc. There are some that don’t inspect paths but others
•The process for liaising with the Diocese for work required.
•Guidance on if for example, a stone wall falls down which forms
part of the boundary does it have to be replaced by a like for like
stone wall or can the boundary be maintained with a fence of some
description. It is the enquiring authorities understanding that it has
to be like for like but the cost of replacing even a small section of
stone wall can be astronomical.
•Best practice on how much Councils budget is set each year for
inspections/work required.


GM0517 - Cemetery memorial inspections 21.10.16

A member authority is reviewing its Cemeteries Memorial
inspections programme and would be interested in the following
· Do local authorities carry out inspections in-house or do they
appoint a contractor?
· How often are the inspections carried out?
· Would individual local authorities supply an average cost per
Memorial for inspections?


GM0516 - Alternative chemical use for weed control and line marking of sport pitches 20.10.16

A member authority is currently considering alternatives to
glyphosate and is interested in hearing from other local authorities
whether they are or have considered or are using alternative
treatment methods to remove/treat unwanted weed growth.
In addition what chemicals do local authorities use to burn in line
markings on sports pitches ?


GM0514 - Open space policies 141016

A member authority is looking at open space policies and is
particularly interested in the following areas and whether any other
APSE members can help their work.
They wish to know whether any local authorities have adopted a
policy and/or process to manage encroachment by residents or
businesses on to public open space with a view to taking adverse
possession and If so, would they be willing to provide a copy of the
policy to assist in the development of one for the enquiring
Also has any local authority created a policy and/or process to
enable a piece of public open space to be declared as surplus to
requirement and then sold, either proactively or as a result of a
request from a resident?
Again they would be interested to receive copies of any policies
which may help them in their work of developing such a policy for
their area.


GM0513 - Parks and Play Spaces Inspection Frequency 14.10.16

A member authority would like to ask others how frequently they:
1. Inspect play spaces?
2. Inspect parks?


GM0512 - Charging commercial nurseries to use public parks 05.10.16

A member authority is enquiring whether there are any local
authorities who have allowed commercial children’s nurseries to use
their parks and green spaces?
If they have, do they charge for this, and if so, how have the devised
the pricing structure and would they be willing to share it?


GM0510 - Toilet and cafe provision in parks 21.09.16

A member authority is trying to help one of their town councils which
they are working with to develop proposal ideas for a café / public
toilet on a recreation ground/park which would be acceptable to its
They would like information from authorities who have introduced or
have such facilities in a park which has the following or similar
A cricket pitch on site
At least one football pitch
Junior and infant play areas
Outdoor gym and fitness equipment
7-8 acres in size with a local population of around 10,000.
The park should also have public toilets, not be a closed park and
have established some sort of food outlet such as a cafe.
They would be interested to know if the toilets/café are well-used
and have been worth the investment.


GM0509 - Anti-social behaviour and motorbikes 16.09.16

A member authority has a problem with antisocial behaviour and
motorbikes in a particular section of the city and we were wondering
what other authorities experiences are in dealing with this type of
The questions they are interested in finding information are as
1. Do you have a particular problem with unauthorised
motorbikes on and going between parks, cycle paths and on roads?
2. What solutions/campaigns have you tried to prevent
unauthorised motorbikes and how successful have they been?
3. Have you tried ‘K barriers’ on a main cycle route to prevent
access into parks? How successful have they been?
4. If a barrier was successfully used, please tell us the type
of barrier, who supplied it and was it DDA compliant?
5. Which partners have been involved in tackling
unauthorised motorbikes?


GM0507 - Mobile caravan parks in public parks 07.09.16

A member authority is interested in hearing from other authorities
who have a mobile caravan site within a public park?
They are particularly interested to hear if this is managed by the
authority or externally and also can you share what has worked
effectively and what has caused issues for the authority?


GM0506 - Public Parks Enquiry 01.09.16

APSE is intending to send a response which reflects its members
views as well as its own to the Communities and Local Government
Committees inquiry into public park.
The Inquiry, aims to examine the impact of reduced local authority
budgets on parks and other open green spaces and the growing
concerns that their continued existence is under threat.
The enquiry will be looking for written evidence on the following
· Who uses parks and open spaces, how often and for what
· The contribution of parks to the health and well-being of
· The impact of reductions in local authority budgets on parks
· What the administrative status of parks should be in light of
declining local authority resources for non-statutory services
· How new and existing parks can best be supported
· What additional or alternative funding is available and what
scope is there for local authorities to generate revenue from park
· What the advantages and disadvantages are of other
management models, such as privatisation, outsourcing or


GM0503 - Grounds maintenance staff wearing shorts 18.08.16

A member authority is currently reviewing whether to permit
grounds maintenance staff to wear shorts at work.
They are looking for information from any authority which has
already addressed this issue and have specific policies or risk
assessments they are willing to share.


GM0501 - Reviewing Country Park management 28.07.16

A member authority is currently reviewing the Status and
Management of a Country Park.
They are reviewing revenue costs and looking into possibilities for
generating income.
They would welcome information from other local authorities who
own or manage Country Parks regarding the following:
• Size/Location of Parks,
•Park status ie. SSSI, Conservation Area, heritage site etc.
•Facilities provided,
•Management plans
•Resources Staff/ Budgets
•Any Specialised staff/ qualifications/training to enable staff to
deliver and support activities
•Income Streams
•Friend and user groups


GM0497 - Transferring management responsibilities for crown green bowling facilities 12.07.16

A member authority is currently considering the future management
and maintenance of its’ crown green bowling greens, associated
pavilions & infrastructure. They are particularly interested in
exploring options for devolved management and maintenance or
lease/transfer of community assets.
They would be particularly interested in acquiring the following
· Has your Authority devolved the management of bowling
greens, pavilions and associated infrastructure to clubs or other
community organisations?
· If so, how many and what percentage of your total stock?
· Do you have a standard set of documentation for this
purpose and would you be prepared to share a copy?
· How did you consult with users (CGBA, local forum or
individual clubs/greens)?
· Did you provide any incentive (financial or other resources) to
pump-prime the arrangement?
· How long did the process take?
· What issues arose during the process or subsequently?


GM0495 - Management of green waste sites 27.06.16

A member authority is enquiring whether there any authorities who
own, or manage through a joint venture company, their own green
waste sites, windrow composting, gasification etc., and receive any
kind of income from the compost at the end of the process.


GM0494 - Tractors & Vehicles within cemeteries – 15.06.16

A member authority would like to ask:
1. What type of tractors/vehicles do you use within cemeteries (to
dig graves, transport soil, lift shoring boxes, etc)?
2. Would you recommend them? Have you ran into any issues?


GM0493 - Granting of long term leases for Public Open Space in connection with decommissioning 31.05.16

A member Authority is progressing plans to decommission elements
of Outdoor Sport provision to include Pavilion/Changing Rooms and
Playing Pitches. This member Authority would be interested to
learn how other Authorities have dealt with S123 of the Local
Government Act on granting long term leases for Public Open
Space in connection with decommissioning.
They would also be interested to understand the agreements in
place with governing bodies/funders linked to possible


GM0491 - Service Technology 26.05.16

A member is enquiring if any authority who have adopted
technology to support Street Cleansing & Grounds Maintenance
operational management including, performance management,
service delivery & KPI’s has details on the following areas:
· Looking at paperless systems
· Which software programmes do they use to schedule Street Cleansing routes
· Any installation costs and running costs
· Are the system used easy to update, amend, add new streets etc
· What types of In-cab technology do authorities use.


GM0490 - Commercialisation of street cleansing and grounds maintenance services 20.05.16

A member authority is looking to develop and produce vehicle
signage to be used for commercial purposes, both to promote
educational campaigns (such as litter / fly-tipping) and also for
advertising business opportunities related to street cleansing and
grounds maintenance. They would be interested to know if any
other councils have undertaken this exercise and what the success
of the signage was?
They are also looking to develop a marketing brochure to be used
for commercial purposes related to street cleansing and grounds
maintenance, and would be interested to know if any other councils
have undertaken this exercise and if so, what the success of the
such materials was and therefore would they recommended other
authorities to adopt a similar approach?
The reason for the above questions is that commercial venture into
the private sector is being expanded and therefore they would be
interested to know what successes and failures other councils have
had with the above approach , particularly with regards to street
cleansing and ground maintenance service offers.


GM0489 - Use Of Ice Spikes & Overshoes For Winter Conditions 20.05.16

A member authority is enquiring whether any members are using or
have assessed the use of ice spikes or similar overshoes for
employees working outdoors during winter conditions. Following a
litigation case lost by Cordia in relation to a care at home worker we
are facing increased enquiries via FOI requests from solicitors for
slips occurred in winter conditions.


GM0488 - Biodiversity Officers 19.05.16

A member authority would like to know how many LA’s still have
Biodiversity Officers and which department / service area they
currently work for and whether they work full or part time.
Also do these officers share this role with another role, such as
being a planner etc.
A final question is whether the authority has a park ranger service
and the number of staff etc.


GM0487 - Locking And Unlocking Park Gates 19.05.16

A member authority is reviewing the locking and unlocking of gates
in public parks and would like to know how other local authorities
manage this aspect of security .In particular they are interested in
· Does your authority lock and unlock urban public parks?
o If not, what has your experience been of leaving parks unlocked.
E.g. Positive / Negative and also in terms of ASB / Vandalism /
Groups of youths / Noise complaints from local residents?
o Have you carried out any consultation with residents on leaving
parks unlocked that you could share?
· At what times are parks opened in the morning and locked in
the evening?
o When locking up do staff carry out a check of the park to ensure
everybody has left, or is it assumed that people that want to leave
have left?
· Who carries out the locking / unlocking?
· Please provide any relevant further information e.g.
- If carried out by park staff how do shift patterns accommodate
- If carried out by another department are there internal recharges
between budgets for the service?
- If carried out by an external provider how is the contract
- If carried out by volunteers / local community is locking carried
out every day or only when possible?


GM0486 - Refuse collection in flats and HMO's 13.05.16

A member authority is enquiring about the type of refuse collection
provided for flats and HMO’s. In particular they wish to know:
· The capacity (in litres) given for both waste and recycling per
individual flat / apartment for blocks using communal bins:
• For one bedroom flats / apartments
• For two bedroom flats / apartments
• For three bedroom flats / apartments
· The provision of waste services to Houses in Multiple
Occupation (HMOs)
• are they given the same capacity as flats / apartments
• or as HMOs are generally only subject to council tax
payments as a single property irrespective of the number of tenants,
do they receive the same service that would be supplied to a house
which is occupied by an average family group


GM0485 - Tractor taxation affecting ride on mowers & highway spraying quad bikes 10.05.16

A member authority is enquiring whether any local authorities are
aware of tractor taxation changes which may include Ride on
mowers and use of highway spraying quads as under the Vehicle
Excise and Registration Act 1994, every vehicle used on the public
roads must be licensed for the correct rate of vehicle excise duty
(VED). From October 2014 there was no longer the requirement to
show a tax disc on the windscreen but you must have the VED
Many agricultural vehicles, including tractors, do not have a duty
applied to them; however, they still need to be licensed if used on
the road.


GM0484 - Use of mobile devices policy 10.05.16

A member authority would like to know whether:
1. Any council who has introduced a policy for use of mobile
devises for refuse, street cleansing, grounds services (i.e. head
phones, I pods, personal mobile phones, MP3 players etc.)?
2. Are staff permitted to use any such devises whilst
undertaking refuse collections, street cleaning and/or grounds
3. Any health & safety consideration / concerns taken into
consideration in relation to staff concentration / risks whilst
operating on the highway etc.?


GM0483 - Grounds Maintenance contracts 03.05.16

With all local authorities experiencing huge budget savings often the
view is that to save money one can simply take a few grass cuts out
but it is widely recognised that this is not always the case and fewer
grass cuts can actually be more expensive depending on the
machinery used and methods of cutting the grass – and certainly
the unit cut per grass cut will go up in price with less cuts to recover
overheads etc.
A member authority is currently in year 7 of a 10 year Grounds
Maintenance contract and reviewing all elements of their contract
specification but they want to review the grass cutting element of
their specification as a first task, as this is where they incur the most
They are therefore asking APSE colleagues if they would share
their GM contract specs and in particular the element of the
specification which relates to grass maintenance.


GM0482 - Advertising on Street Furniture 12.04.16

As Councils are becoming more innovative regarding income
generation, our member is asking whether any local authorities are
acquiring income from advertising on street furniture such as litter
bins, benches etc. In particular they wish to know:
· the levels of fees charged for advertising on the different
types of street furniture (litter bins, benches, etc.)
· annual income levels for the different types of street furniture
In addition they have been informed by their business rates
department, that any items of street furniture carrying
advertisements ,would be subject to Business Rates at
approximately £250.
They wish to know therefore whether any councils carrying out
street furniture advertising, experience this and if so do they pass
the costs on to the advertiser?


GM0481 - Commercial waste and sweeping contracts 06.04.16

A member authority has undergone a service review and as part of
this review they are re-assessing their commercial activities.
Therefore they are interested in the level of charges made by other
local authorities for both non-recyclable and recyclable commercial
waste for all bin sizes which authorities offer.
They are also keen to identify the cost of sweeping per hour or per
m2 for commercial sweeping contracts.
They appreciate that these figures may be commercially sensitive
but they are only intending to use them as part of a benchmarking


GM0480 - Fly-tipping Prevention measures 06.04.16

A member authority is interested in obtaining information on flytipping
prevention measures which other authorities use.
They are particularly keen to know whether authorities:
· place out CCTV cameras?
· place out CCTV warning signage even if CCTV cameras are not located onsite.
· use media as a prevention measure, if yes what type of media?
· Social media sites?
· Council website?
· Council own newsletter?
· Radio?
· Local newspaper?
· Parish/Town council newsletter?
· Event stall engaging with the public?


GM0479 - Random drug testing of operational staff 23.05.16

This authority is considering the introduction of random drug testing
for operational staff. Have any other authorities introduced a similar
policy and if so:
· What are the pitfalls?
· Does the testing include office based staff or just operational staff?
· Would you be willing to share your policy?


GM0478 - Sweeping Standards and Frequencies 01.04.16

A member authority is enquiring as to the following information from
other local authorities:
1. What are your sweeping service standards
2. What are your sweeping frequencies on local roads,
3. What are your sweeping frequencies on strategic routes,
4. What are your sweeping frequencies on junctions and splitters,
5. How do councils around the country deal with peak times like leaf fall?
6. Do councils across the country have specific risk assessment for sweeping different areas?


GM0477 - Dog fouling bags/bins costs 12.05.16

A member authority is enquiring as to whether any other local
authorities offer provisions for dog fouling, such as free foul bags,
dedicated foul bins, free scoops. If so, they would be interested in
discovering what annual costs are to the authority for this provision?

GM0476 - Standard Minute Values: Grounds Maintenance 29.03.16

A member authority uses standard minutes as the basis to calculate
rates for various parks and open space operations.
They would like to hear from member authorities that use alternative
approaches, or are thinking of using alternatives to standard
minutes, in particular:
· What alternatives are being used/ or are in development?
· What are seen as the advantages/dis-advantages of
changing from standard minutes to the alternative?
· What, if any, savings have been enabled or are anticipated?


GM0475 - Grounds Maintenance Software systems 23.03.16

A member authority is looking to procure a user friendly grounds
maintenance management software system with proven
geographical information capability.
To manage 825Ha of diverse parks and open space sites. In
particular, they require a system that allows:
Accurate recording of locations and tasks carried out in an easy to
read format.
Storage and updating of site details with ease.
• Production of work schedules for grounds maintenance teams (individual rounds).
• Job costing capability.
• Plotting of land uses, i.e. adopted maintenance regimes on
GIS Map either embedded within software or via links with other GIS software.
• Run various what if scenarios, cost models etc. in order to
identify cost implications when considering changes to maintenanceregimes.
• In field hand held devise real-time updating capability regarding completed work and or changes to location details.
• Ease of access to information and reports (user friendly system).
They are enquiring whether any member authorities would be willing to share the following:
· What grounds maintenance management software they have, and whether they would recommend the system to others?
· If not, what system would they recommend is worth investigating?
· What was the budget to establish the system, and running costs thereafter pa including staff time?
· How long did the process take from project scope to completion?
· Any examples of where the system has been used successfully for cost modelling to generate savings options?
· Other – Any information on lessons learnt along the way?


GM0474 - Grounds maintenance service review 23.03.16

A member authority currently operates their grounds maintenance
service on a soft split client/contractor basis. Together with the
client, they are about to undertake a whole service review and
would like to know if anyone can share a recent review
template/report/best practice with them.


GM0473 - APSE network query: Changes To Land Amenity Qualifications 26.04.16

A member authority is enquiring how local authorities are dealing
with recent changes to forestry qualification FISA and NPTC tractor
driving and machinery certificates?
What links have they established with internal, external training and
CPD continual professional development to address these changes?


GM0472 - Alternatives to glyphosate based herbicides 07.03.16

A member authority would like to know if any Councils are using any
alternatives to glyphosate based herbicides?
It would also be helpful to know if any Councils are eradicating
japanese knotweed and other invasives without using glyphosate,
and what products/methods are used to achieve<

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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