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GM0580 - Park inspections and risk assessments – 08.12.17

A member authority is currently reviewing their Parks Inspections
and Risk Assessments.

They are therefore enquiring whether other member authorities
would be willing to share their best practice with regard to these
work areas.

They are paying particular emphasis on making these pieces of
work more user friendly whilst still being thorough.


GM0579 - Renting out parks buildings – 08.12.17

A member authority has properties in some of their parks and
county side sites and are limited in the value they offer because the
authority as a whole has historically made the decision not rent
property directly, but to form a housing association.

They would like to run the properties as assets, financially
supporting the associated parks and open spaces, with the freedom
to reduce rent proportionally if it is staff that are occupying, based
on additional duties they routinely completing.

The member authority is under very tight time frames and would
therefore appreciate any responses members may have asap.
Therefore we are asking that any responses be sent as soon as is


GM0578 - Contract management of play area improvements - 04.12.17

A member authority would be interested to learn how other
authorities undertake the contract management of play area

In particular:

  • Does the authority employ staff to design/maintain play areas and to procure equipment/installation
  • Does the authority procure on a design and build basis?
  • Does the authority procure on a design, build and maintain basis?


GM0577 - Fixing festive lights to street trees - 04.12.17

A member authority has been asked for festive lighting to be
affixed to the branches of street trees.
This authority would be interested to learn how other authorities respond to such requests:

  • Where an authority generally approves these, how do they manage the Electrical/Arboricultural issues which arise and what conditions are imposed to mitigate this?
  • Where an authority generally does not approve these, how do they manage expectations and communication with enquirers.


GM0576 - Developing a sustainable Parks and Countryside Service - 28.11.17

As part of a Parks and Countryside Review a member authority is
considering the following sourcing models to enable them to
develop a sustainable service in light of government funding

  • Contract out more functions to private or third sector organisations (Buy)
  • Share land management and maintenance services with neighbouring authorities (Share)
  • Reduce duties, quality standard level agreements and reduce adding new land management responsibility (Divest)
  • Reduce quantity and quality of provision by disposal of open space, and providing less maintenance and fewer facilities on retained sites (Divest)

They are interested to know whether other local authorities have
explored a similar initiatives, how they approached this and what the
outcomes were and whether they are willing to share business plans
or research material.


GM0575 - Hand Arm Vibration - 16.11.17

A member authority is currently reviewing their grounds
maintenance machinery with regard to Hand Arm Vibration levels.

Therefore they would be interested in methods other members are
using to monitor vibration levels on machinery and steps they are
taking to ensure that they are compliant with current legislation and
health & safety requirements in relation to Hand Arm Vibration.


GM0574 - Policy for war memorials and public art - 16.11.17

A member authority is enquiring whether an local authorities have
specific policies for the maintenance of war memorials and public
art, and if so how are these features funded?

If authorities do not how do not have specific policies/budgets, how
do councils manage requests for maintenance (cleaning / general
upkeep) of war memorials and public art?


GM0573 - Maintenance of cricket grounds by local cricket clubs - 08.11.17

A member authority is looking to work with local cricket clubs
allowing them to maintain the cricket squares they use on parks sites.

The Authority see this very much as a partnership approach and are
aware that other clubs and local authorities already operate in this way.

As such I was enquiring whether any other authorities had model
agreements that we could look at to get the process moving.


GM0572 - Leasing of under developed land for grazing - 02.11.17

A member authority ids looking for information from members who
lease undeveloped Local Authority land for mowing/grazing or crops.

The required information relates to the fees charged.

They wish to know whether members have a scale or charges, or
how they decide on the charge to be applied e.g. by size, location etc.


GM0571 - Schedule of rates for play area maintenance services - 02.11.17

A member authority is seeking to benchmark costs associated with
day to day playground maintenance and would be grateful for
information from other APSE member authorities in relation to the
rates paid for undertaking works such as replacement of swing
seats, chains, climbing frame refurbishment, patching up play
surfaces etc.

If you have a documented schedule of rates for playground
maintenance works or can indicate recent costs for some key
works, we would be very grateful if you could please take five
minutes to briefly capture this information


GM0570 - Charges for charity events - 26.10.17

A member authority is enquiring with regards to the issue of
charging hire fee for charitable events and/or bond or reinstatement
fees in parks and greenspace areas.

They are interested to discover how local authorities deal with this
issue and whether there are policies to support actions taken.


GM0569 - Cut and collect of grass mowings - 26.10.17

A member authority is enquiring as to whether any other local
authorities provide a cut and collect service in relation to grass
cutting, and if so:

  1. what are the additional costs?
  2. how do they dispose of the cuttings?


GM0568 - Appeals process for eviction from allotments – 25.10.17

Do any member authorities have an appeals process for allotment
site tenants who have been issued with Eviction Notices?

Please can member authorities kindly share documents relating to
this process.


GM0567 - Parks and Green Space Strategies - 19.10.17

A member authority is currently reviewing their Parks and Green
Spaces Strategy, and at the same time is considering new planning
designations for parks and green spaces in line with the
recommendations from the NPPF.

They are enquiring whether other authorities will provide advice on
how they have interpreted the criteria for identifying sites as Local
Green Space?


GM0566 - Service Delivery Methodologies - 19.10.17

A member authority is interested in what other local authorities have
in terms of service level agreements, service standards ,
frequencies undertaken , and any examples of best practices in
relation to the following service areas.:

  • Grass cutting/Verges and flail work/Leaf collection
  • Litter picking/ Compact mechanical sweeping/ Litter and Dog waste bin emptying
  • Fly tip removal
  • Mechanical sweeping of highways
  • Shrub bed pruning including hedge cutting including weed and spray/ Weed spraying (streets)
  • Roundabout maintenance
  • Arboricultural work


GM0565 - Grass cutting machinery - 03.10.17

A member authority is seeking feedback from any authority who
operates a Wessex RMX-560 for their grass cutting duties and
would like to gather any information on the,

  • Running costs
  • Performance
  • Downtime for breakdowns
  • Size of area cut during operations and frequency of its use
  • What size tractor used to tow cutter
  • Any other information that would of relevance to make a
  • decision on purchase

If your authority is not using a Wessex RMX-560 but something
similar, they would also be happy to receive any feedback.


GM0564 - Managing Play Equipment - 03.10.17

A member authority is reviewing its play equipment service and is
looking for the following information:

  • Does any local authority charge Parish Councils for the operational inspections of Play Equipment?
  • What amount does the authority charge for future maintenance on new play developments?
  • How is the amount calculated?
  • Does the authority transfer Capital Funds to Revenue Funds to support Play Maintenance?


GM0563 - Horticultural practices- unit cost comparisons - 27.09.17

A member authority is keen to investigate the level of unit costs for
horticultural practices and are enquiring whether other authorities
would be willing to share similar data.

They have provided their own data in good faith.

If local authorities are willing to share data then the following unit
costs are of particular interest:

2017/18 unit costs:

Cost of cutting a square metre of grass - £0.23
Cost of maintaining a square metre of shrub bed - £0.96
Cost of maintaining a square metre of rose bed - £1.98
Cost of cutting a linear metre of hedge - £2.29
Total cost for weedkilling & spraying per square metre £0.05
Cost for the maintenance/pruning of trees (per tree) - £295.92
Cost to empty on litter bin, once per week £5.30


GM0562 - Parking on open space amenity land - 27.0917

A member authority is enquiring whether other authorities know, or
use, any legislation to enforce against owners of cars which are
regularly being parked on open space amenity areas.


GM0561 - Street Trees – 29.08.17

This local authority would be grateful if other local authorities could
provide information on the following question :-

Trees planted within a footway or on a grass verge close and
adjacent to a footway can, over time, cause problems with roots
lifting a footway and creating trip hazards.

Do any authorities have a policy which takes a consistent and
systematic approach to this problem and can they share this. In
addition, if any authority has developed good practice in this area
and/or can share their views on this matter, this would be


GM0560 - Gardening services to elderly members of the public - 21.08.17

A member authority is enquiring whether other authorities carry out
works such as garden maintenance/hedge trimming/strimming/mowing lawns for the general public/elderly, along with providing a handyman service to elderly people who are not able to carry out the works themselves.

If local authorities do this work, then:

  • what obstacles/issues have they had to overcome to be able to do these works.
  • If possible please give examples of works they have carriedout.


GM0559 - Pricing for parks and open space lets - 08.08.17

A member authority is currently reviewing the cost of park and open
space lets.

They would like to know if members would provide them with details
of their pricing for lets in parks and open spaces.

They would be particularly interested in establishing whether there
are different charges depending on the event e.g. Do registered
charities obtain a free let and does the cost charged reflect the size
of the event for example does the price increase by the number in


GM0558 - Bedding and planter sponsorship - 20.07.17

A member authority is considering bedding and planter sponsorship
and wants to know if other councils have tried it / considered it and
what issues they have encountered.

They are particularly interested in:

  • whether planning permission has to be obtained
  • whether any business rates apply
  • what sort of charges have they applied for sponsoring different types for bedding and planters?
  • have councils received any complaints?


GM0557 - Electronic (digital) advertising boards - 18.07.17

Have any authorities erected electronic (digital) advertising boards
on their land, either managed by themselves or via a concession)

What have they done?

How have they done it?

What were the main obstacles they had to overcome?

Would respondents provide contact details for further discussion?


GM0556 - Playground criteria - 18.07.17

A member authority is having to make decisions on the future
provision of children’s play areas in their area, which may involve
removing or closing some current play areas.

Has any other authority encountered a similar issue, and if so, what
criteria did they adopt to identify those sites which were to be closed
and those sites which would remain open.


GM0555 - Replacing grounds maintenance and Cleansing software programmes - 03.07.17

A member authority is looking to procure a replacement software
programme in relation to Grounds and Cleansing. They currently
use Northgate M3.
The system needs to link with the LLPG GIS layer, Microsoft
Dynamics CRM system and aggresso etc.
The system needs to be able to:

  • undertake workflow management,
  • issue job instructions to the external contractor and allow the external contractor to mark the jobs as complete,
  • manage the bill of quantities and schedule of rates and price additional works.
  • be capable of storing photos and documents.
  • have live or daily reporting of when grass, hedges and bins etc. have had their maintenance visit
  • have a publicly accessible area in order for residents to be able to check when their next maintenance visit is.

The system must be able to automatically update the CRM system
in relation to enquiries etc. as the enquiring authority’s main source
of enquiries for ground is now digital.

Enquiries should be able to be linked to LLPG asset as well as the
caller name and address.

In light of these requirements the member authority would like to know;

  • Which authorities use Confirm to manage their grounds and cleansing service and the pros and cons of this.
  • What systems other authorities utilise to manage the grounds maintenance contract and the pros and cons of the system.
  • What systems authorities use to manage their tree stock, works and enquiries.


GM0554 - Charging For Use Of Parks to third parties making commercial gain - 03.07.17

A member authority is considering the introduction of a policy and
charging arrangement for business use of a park and / or green
space where there is commercial gain associated with sale of a
service (distinct from the sale of products requiring a licence or
permission / fees for an event).

Examples of such business use includes professional dog walking,
fitness training, training / education, balloon launching / landing.

They are keen to understand what policy and charging
arrangements have been adopted by other local authority for such
commercial activity taking place in parks and / or green space.


  • Do you have a policy to regulate third party commercial use of
  • parks and /or green space
  • Do you have a charging policy for third party commercial use of
  • parks and / or green space
  • How do you enforce non-compliance


GM0553 - Eradication Of Japanese Knotweed - 27.06.17

A member authority is very interested to hear of any methods of
treatment for the control / eradication of Japanese Knotweed, and
if/how the sites are protected/secured to prevent public access.

Please advise if you maintain records of the treated sites, together
with any examples of the guarantees contractors provide for works
carried out.


GM0552 - Public drinking water provision - 27.06.17

A member authority is enquiring whether any Local Authorities
provide outdoor accessible drinking water provision to the general
public in terms of outside corporate buildings/public open spaces


GM0551 - Ash Die-Back Strategies - 19.06.17

A member authority is having a major problem with Ash Die back
where the disease is spreading “frighteningly fast”. It has been
predicted that by this time next year the authority will have several
hundreds if not thousands of ashes that have died or are dying.
They are therefore enquiring if any other local authorities have any
long term strategy to tackle this problem and they would be grateful
for any information/advice.


GM0549 - Friends Groups Constitutions - 15.06.17

A member authority is interested to discover whether any member
authority has formal documentation regarding a constitutional
agreement with Friends Groups, in particular what is expected of
Friends Groups i.e. their roles and responsibilities.
Equally they wish to know what local authorities offer Friend Groups
in return for their assistance and co-operation, for example do they
allow Friends Groups the ability to give on-site staff work
Any information or documentation would be gratefully received and


GM0548 - Mowing and strimming as one operation - 15.06.17

A member authority would like to be able to strim directly after
mowing in areas that have signposts, seating etc. in one visit with
one operative.
To do this they would need to carry a strimmer on a ride on mower,
however since the mower engine gets hot and strimmer’s are petrol
driven it presents a safety problem, which they have discussed it
with some mower manufactures but no solutions have been
The member authority does not think that battery powered
strimmer’s are practical in the non-domestic situation.
Do any other authorities carry out mowing and strimming in one visit
with one member of staff? If so:

  • How do they do it?
  • Does anyone carry strimmer’s on ride on mowers if so how?


GM0547 - Grazing on cemetery land and the use of grass retardants - 010617

A member authority is enquiring whether any other local authorities
have been approached to allow sheep to graze in older parts of the
cemetery as a grounds maintenance measure?
The member authority is also interested to discover if any
colleagues have experience of using a growth retardant on
cemetery grass, as they historically do not allow weed killing around
memorials. and since the introduction of new legislation around
vibration, the current use of strimmers, is becoming less viable.
As such they would welcome any ideas from other authorities on
how to deal with this issue.


GM0544 - Seasonal grounds maintenance service -160517

A member local authority is looking for information on authorities
who are operating a seasonal service for grounds maintenance and
what structure processes are in place to operate it.
What positive and negative comments do authorities have on this


GM0543 - Enforcing allotment rules and regulations - 080517

A member authority is having problems regarding enforcing council
rules and regulations pertaining to the running of allotments sites
where these sites are run by a local allotments association who selfmanage
the allotment plots.
They are wishing to know if other local authorities have had a
similar problem and how they have dealt with it.
They are particularly interested in any examples where the local
authority has disbanded the allotments association because of the
actions of the allotment association’s leading members, e.g. using
the site for business purposes or illegal burning of materials.
If any allotment associations have been disbanded what powers or
actions were used/taken to achieve this?


GM0542 - Community involvement in grass verge maintenance - 080517

A member authority is looking at increasing community involvement
in grass verge maintenance roles, in particular they are enquiring
about the following:

  • Have local authorities had much success in encouraging the public to cut grass verges outside their houses?
  • How did they approach this ambition without exposing themselves to liabilities i.e. personal injury/property damage?
  • What wording did they use to avoid this issue?
  • What success or failure did they have with this process or similar?


GM0540 - Concerns on mower performance - 280417

A member authority is interested in hearing from any authorities
which have taken delivery of triple ride on mowers fitted with fail
heads (within the last three years) and whether they are they
suffering with machine vibration, premature component failure or a
general lack of cutting performance over what was envisaged. If so,
would they be prepared to be contacted to gather more information.


GM0539 - Roundabout Sponsorship - 070417

A member authority is considering roundabout advertising /
sponsorship and wanted to see how this has affected councils that
have already instigated advertising / sponsorship schemes, on
roundabouts, in their areas.
In particular they are interested in the following areas:

  • How long have you been advertising on roundabouts?
  • Have you had any accidents attributed to erection of signs – if so how many?
  • What action has been taken as a result to reduce the incident of accidents?
  • If you needed planning permission for your signs what were the reasons given.
  • If you did not need planning permission for your signs, why not?
  • When the sponsorship for the roundabout changes, do you have to apply for new planning permission?
  • How many complaints have you received from the public about signs on roundabouts and what were the complaints about?


GM0539 - Horticultural therapy - 280417

A member authority is enquiring whether any local authorities
provide bespoke growing spaces solely for the purpose of delivery of horticultural therapy
If so, are these areas stand-alone sites solely used for therapeutic horticulture or are they incorporated into other existing growing spaces/ gardens or allotments.


GM0538 - Grass cutting schedules - 070417

A member authority urgently needs information on other local
authority current schedule of grass cutting.
The members current grass cutting schedules are shown below and
they are enquiring if other member authorities would provide the
equivalent data?

  1. Priority routes (Defined as major routes) - every 10 working days
  2. All other Highway Verges – every 15 working days.
  3. Inter-town (between Villages) – Every 12 weeks April to October
  4. High Risk visibility splays – Every six weeks.


GM0535 - Volunteering and community engagement strategies in parks - 130317

A member authority is currently developing a Volunteering &
Community Engagement Strategy for our Parks and Green
Spaces. They would welcome information from other authorities
about whether they have, or are developing, similar strategies.
They would also be interested to know:

  • What types of volunteering or community engagement take place in
  • other authorities parks;
  • How other authorities manage and resource volunteering or community engagement in parks
  • How they promote/encourage volunteering in parks.


GM0534 - Drone Useage in public parks and open spaces -policy and practices - 080217

This small authority has recently taken on responsibility for 36 Ha of
Parks and Open Spaces, including 2 active cemeteries, 2 allotment
gardens, 10 equipped play areas, 5 grass football pitches and a 3G
pitch and will shortly assume responsibility for a further 32 Ha of
Open Space. At this time they expect to have 7 grounds
maintenance operatives on their establishment and are keen to
prepare a schedule of work that is efficient and effective to
accommodate this additional workload. To help with preparing for
the change, they would be very grateful if colleagues from other
authorities could share their approach to scheduling operatives and
their process for monitoring how well the schedule is working.
To help with this, if you have some documentation that will help to
illustrate how you schedule work and review your approach, I would
be very grateful if you could please pass these documents on.


GM0533 - Provision of Muslim graves – 080217

A member authority is looking for advice from any other Local
Authority which is operating a Muslim cemetery or Muslim section
within a Cemetery in a heavy clay soil and the associated problems
of ground water runoff, poor drainage and a high water table. We
are looking to open a new Muslim section in heavy clay soil and
would appreciate advice and guidance on:

  1. How do authorities deal with this problem
  2. Are graves lined in any way and if so does it work?
  3. How are the graves sealed?
  4. Advice on any other problems and solutions identified.


GM0531 - Volunteers and machine usage - 300117

A member authority wishes to know if any members permit machine
usage by Volunteer groups working in parks? If machine use is
permitted can you provide detail of what is permitted, how this is
managed and monitored?


GM0530 - Tree emergency calls - 250117

A member authority is trying to set up a system for their contact
centre and out of hours department with regards to emergency tree
They are wanting to cut out calls which are not urgent but still need
investigating, from real emergency calls which are threatening to
persons or property and need an immediate response.
To achieve this staff would need to be well-versed in tree issues.
At present they use the following questions:-

  • Is there a broken branch which is either loose or freely hanging and unattached which overhangs a significant location?
  • Is there a hazardous obstruction blocking a road or maintained footway?

For Trees:-

  • Is the tree is taller than a double decker bus or articulated lorry?
  • Is the tree is swaying or rocking at the base or the ground isvisibly lifting or heaving near the base of the tree?

A problem has arisen whereby their staff take calls for all
departments and the call centre also has a high staff turnover, so
constant training in tree issues is proving difficult.

The authority is finding that by asking these questions they are
regularly getting a ‘yes’ response to most calls, resulting in most
calls being classed as an emergency which means a large
amount of resource time is having to be allocated to investigate
these calls which turn out to be non-emergencies.
Therefore the member authority is enquiring what systems or
questions do other members use to make calls more precise.


GM0529 - Garden Maintenance Scheme - 250117

This member authority is currently looking to review their garden
assistance maintenance service (grass and hedge cuts). They
would be grateful for information from other local authorities on the

  1. Does your authority currently charge for your garde

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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