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GM0630 - Dogs in parks - 221018

A member authority would like to know:

  • How many authorities operate a ‘dogs must be on a lead’ policy as part of their park rules and regulations?
  • How many authorities (may just be England and Wales as a result of legislation) have brought in a no dogs policy in a particular park or greenspace?
  • What experiences can they share in terms of consulting and bringing in a no dogs, and managing/enforcing it thereafter?
  • How many authorities operate dog exercise areas, and if they do, is this combined with a ‘dogs on a lead policy elsewhere, in order to drive use of the dog exercise area?
  • What, if any, issues are noted within the dog exercise area, e.g.
    - positive feedback from owners in terms of socialisation/exercise,
    - any negative feedback in terms of non-socialised dogs or dog fouling,
    - any maintenance issues?

Finally does the authority involve a Friends Group or Local Dog Group in the running of the space to develop/manage any usage guidelines, promote positive use or resolve any management issues?

GM0629 - Tractor management - 121018

A member authority is keen to receive information on how local authorities manage their tractors, in particular:

  • How long does the grounds maintenance team usually keep tractors for before they replace them?
  • What is the average working hours on the clock of a ten year old tractor or average per year?
  • Does anyone have any experience of Iseki zero turn mowers and how they perform?

GM0628 - Response Times / customer service excellence - 221118

A member authority is interested to hear from other local authorities on response times for service delivery and customer service. In particular they are interested to receive information on the following:

  • Does anyone hold Customer Service Excellence accreditation?
  • What are the response time to service requests for Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleansing?
  • What are the results for the last 2 years in relation to meeting the targets on response times?
  • Do they monitor the quality of customer service?
  • What are the results from the monitoring (last 2 year results)?

GM0627 - Monitoring vibration levels of ride on mowers - 051018

A member authority is interested to know whether any Local Authority grounds maintenance sections monitor vibration levels of their ride on mowers and the exposure to their operatives? If so, how do they do it and is it measured at the steering wheel or as whole body vibration?

GM0625 - Alternatives to Glyphosate - 051018

A member authority is enquiring whether any authority has moved away from spraying glyphosate, and if so:

  • what alternatives are authorities using?
  • have authorities changed the methods in which they spray (frequencies/reduction)?

GM0624 - Income from events in parks and greenspaces - 200918

A member authority is looking for information regarding annual income targets for events that take place in public parks and open spaces. They are interested in receiving any information members can provide including:

  • What (if any) income did you make from events on public parks and open spaces in 2017/18?
  • Do you have an examples of events that you as a council manage on council parks which make a reasonable financial return, or do you only hire your spaces out to external commercial operators?

GM0623 - Internal accreditation for greenspace activities - 200918

A member authority is looking into ‘train the trainer’ pros and cons for all green space activity, particularly arboriculture. The authority’s initial research suggests significant savings can be made in time, productivity and money, by having an internal endorsement process. They are keen to hear whether any other authority has adapted this method of accreditation?

GM0622 - Hand Arm Vibration Monitoring systems - 110918

A member authority is evaluating the use of Hand Arm Vibration Monitoring Systems

  • Do you have a HAVS monitoring system?
  • Who is the manufacturer?
  • Any challenges with its usage?

GM0621 - Grounds maintenance review - 100918

An authority is currently conducting a review on their Grounds Maintenance team and would be keen to understand what other Grounds Maintenance teams look like. Their team is a client team who manage external contracts for grass cutting, arboriculture, horticulture and grave digging. Therefore they would be keen to hear from other local authorities as to their structure, in particular:.

  • Do they have a client team where grounds maintenance outsourced to a private contractor, or is this service kept in house?

?They would also very much appreciate if local authorities could provide details on their structure;

  • How many staff are within the team
  • What each of their roles are?

GM0620 - Forest School Policy in public parks and open spaces - 100918

A Member Authority is looking to implement a Forest School Policy and are seeking information from other councils. Specifically the Member Authority would like to know the following:-

1) Does your authority grant permission for Forest Schools to run in public parks & open spaces

If Yes……

2) Do you charge local schools to hold Forest School sessions in parks. If yes what is the charge?

3) Do you charge private forest School practitioners to hold Forest School sessions in parks. If yes what is the charge?

4) Do you require a tree survey / environmental impact surveys to be completed?

5) Do you have a Forest School policy in place?

6) Do you ask Forest schools to re-apply on an annual basis?

7) Do you insist in seeing DBS certificates from Forest School Leaders?

GM0619 - Alternative Methods of weed control - 050918

A member authority would like information from other member authorities on what alternatives methods of weed control authorities are they considering, or using, in place of Glyphosate. This request is in light of the recent Monsanto case in America. They are interested in the following:

  • What methods are authorities currently using to control weeds
  • What alternative methods of weed control have authorities considered/ looked at

GM0618 - Driving road registered zero turn mowers on public roads - 230818

This local authority would like to hear from other member authorities with regards to driving road registered zero turn mowers on public roads, in particular:-

  1. What is the maximum distance you allow your employees to drive on public roads before commencing cutting?
  2. Do you know if there is a legal maximum distance you can drive on a public road and if so is there a verified source for this information?
  3. If you do not drive machinery in excess of two miles how do you transport your zero turns to site i.e. trailers, low loaders, parked in safe stores overnight etc?
  4. What reason do you have for not driving longer distances i.e. Driver safety, Reduce wear on machinery, Council policy etc?

GM0617 - Use Of Peat Free Alternatives - 070818

A member authority is looking for information from those local authorities with plant nurseries. They are particularly interested in information from those authorities using Peat Free medium to grow their plants. They wish to know what are the peat free mediums being used or tried and what have been the results of the different products.

GM0616 - Keeping Or Disposing Of Local Authority Plant Nurseries - 070818

APSE has received a request for information about local authorities and their actions relating to plant nurseries. In particular they are interested in the following:

  • Looking at the future, has your authority decided to dispose of the plant nursery or keep it?
  • What are the reasons behind the decision?
  • If you had a nursery but did dispose of it what were the reasons for disposal?
  • Whether the nursery was disposed of or kept - what have been the benefits or detriment of the decision?

GM0615 - Gate design concerns in playgrounds - 260718

A member authority has had 2 serious incidents relating to a design feature on a gate which is widely used in playgrounds nationally (photograph attached). Two children have allegedly run into the sliding locking bar, in particular the “bobble” which is gripped in order to slide the bar and open the gate. The member authority would like to know if any other authorities use this style of gate in their playgrounds and have they ever had any similar incidents regarding the design feature on the gate. Due to the urgency of this request APSE would appreciate responses as soon as possible.

GM0614 - Protecting statues - 190718

A member Authority is looking at options to prevent seagulls from perching and messing on top of high profile statues in the City centre which is causing a number of complaints. Whilst spikes have been considered it is felt these will make the statues look like the persons have a crown on their heads. Have any other member Authorities had similar issues or have alternative ways to prevent gulls from causing these problems?

GM0613 - Weed control methodologies - 160718

A member authority is looking for information regarding weed control methods used by other councils. They are particularly interested in the following information:

  • What methods are being used to remove dead weeds after Herbicide treatment?
  • Is the removing of weeds carried out by a contractor or in house?
  • Are weeds more prevalent this year?
  • What methods are used for dealing with ‘Mares Tail’

GM0612 - Deep Water signs - 220618 

A member authority has an issue with Signage around Water features in parks Their Corporate Health and Safety team are recommending Deep Water signs at 4 metre intervals around water features in parks and countryside sites They are interested to receive examples of Risk Assessments, Safety Policies and safety signage requirements in relation to Water Features (including number of signs and spacing)

GM0611 - Drone policies - 210618

A member authority is starting to see an increase in requests from individuals and companies to use land maintained by their authority for undertaking drone flight operations.

They are interested to hear if any other members have drafted a suitable policy to address this issue and would be willing to share good practice (particularly with regards charging a fee for commercial operations).

GM0610 - Working with corporate volunteers - 210618

A member authority is reviewing how they work with volunteers and corporate groups of volunteers within Parks and Environmental Services. Please can other members answer the following questions?

  • Do you charge Corporate Volunteers?
  • What do you charge for?
  • How much do you charge? Do you make any profit?
  • How many staff (office based) do you 

GM0609 - The wearing of shorts whilst carryIng out refuse collection/street cleansing - 070618 (GM/RSC)

Do you allow staff in the Grounds Maintenance, Refuse & Recycling and Street cleansing departments to wear shorts at work whilst undertaking their duties? If yes, what particular specification of clothing do you purchase?

GM0608 - Commercial lease arrangements for redundant parks buildings - 070618 (GM/RSC)

A member authority is considering the option of looking at commercial leases for some redundant parks facilities and are looking to test the open commercial market.

This council would particularly welcome any advice or pointers any authorities may be able to share with them in regards as to how they currently ‘advertise’ these opportunities as the enquiring authority is about to have to advertise a number of potential opportunities where they will need to engage the commercial, public and third sector to lease spaces and or buildings and with alternative uses.

GM0607 - Resourcing routine inspections of play equipment - 040618

A member authority is enquiring how other authorities resource the completion of routine play inspections

GM0606 - Parks Sponsorship schemes - 040618

A member authority presently operates a successful sponsorship initiative around their district but this is mainly restricted to roundabouts and high specification sites. They would like to ask if any other member authority operates a ‘park’ sponsorship scheme and, if so, what fees they are accepting and also the methodology used to arrive at the agreed fees.

GM0605a - Withdrawing or reducing maintenance on non- Council land - 12.04.18

This authority is working on a project to rationalise grounds & grass
maintenance. One of the workstreams they are progressing with at
the moment is to withdraw or reduce maintenance on land that
doesn’t belong to the Council. They would appreciate answers to the
following questions:

  1. Does your Local Authority carry out grounds maintenance on land that it does not have Council title?
  2. Has your Local Authority tried to withdraw/reduce maintenance from Non-Council owned land, and if so, has this been successful?
  3. What issues has your Local Authority encountered with identifying Land Owners, and how have they been rectified?
  4. If your Local Authority has ceased/reduced maintenance on Non-Council Land, what timescale was given to withdrawing maintenance?
  5. Was this given Council approval, and if difficulties were encountered in achieving this, how were they dealt with?

GM0605 - Damage to grass verges caused by vehicles - 03.04.18
This APSE member authority is considering innovative ways to deal
with damage to grass verges caused by vehicles driving or parking
across grassed areas. They would be interested to hear from others
about approaches to tackling this issue.

  • Have you actioned any Bylaws to enforce action against offenders?
  • Have you adopted any other approaches to discourage or prevent vehicles damaging grass verges?
  • How successful has your approach been?

GM0604 - Circuses on Parks - Using animals in performances - 03.04.18
A member authority is currently reviewing its’ position with regard to
animals used in circus performances on council land.

We would be therefore most grateful if you could please provide
details on your Authority’s policy or position on allowing circuses to
use animals in performances on council land.

  • Is any use of animals in a circus performance permitted?
  • Are domestic animals (horses, dogs etc) permitted?
  • Do you have a written policy document that you would be willing to share?

GM0603 - Developing an output specification for Design Build of a new street sweeping and grounds maintenance operational depot - 27.03.18
A member authority is currently in the process of developing an
output specification for Design Build for a new street sweeping and
grounds maintenance operational depot. The authority are looking
for any good examples of design for dealing with sediment from
mechanical sweeper washing and also containment and
environmentally friendly treatment of black water on site that results
from both tipping of collected sweepings and washing out of
machines. The authority majors on the use of 20 and 30yd skips for
tipping with some mechanical sweepers able to tip directly into a
skip and others having to tip onto the ground then the material be
placed into a skip. In all cases though accumulation of black water
across the working yard area is problematic.

The authority would be particularly interested to hear of examples
involving the use of soft solutions such as Reed Beds for filtering
and locking up of carboniferous materials as well as how black
water can best be contained within a tolerable surface area within
the yard immediately after tipping and vehicle washing.

GM0602 - Bonfires on allotment sites - 27.03.18

A member authority has been receiving complaints about bonfires
on allotment sites, they are therefore reviewing their Council Policy
regarding the use of bonfires on allotments sites.
They are looking for advise as to whether any Council has changed
their Council Policy on this matter or if this is being considered for
any reason.

Also, if fires at your sites were previously permitted and then
subsequently banned, can you please advise if your decision to ban
bonfirescreated any particular issues regarding disposal of waste
which would have previously been burned and if so how those
issues were dealt with.

GM0601 - Commuted sum figures - 22.03.18

A member authority is reviewing their rates to calculate commuted
sum figures which are provided to developers when land is being
offered for adoption to the Council. The rates cover grounds
maintenance operations, sports facilities and playgrounds. The
member authority would be interested in receiving any schedule of
rates (or related information on how rates are calculated) which are
used by other authorities to calculate commuted sums so the
rates/processes can be compared.

GM0600 - Use of red Diesel in grass mowers - 22.03.18

A member authority is interested to know whether any local
authority grounds maintenance service use red diesel for grass
cutting of parks, highways and housing grass areas, and if so what
level of saving in fuel costs have they achieved?

GM0599 - Tree management software - 16.03.18
A member authority is currently researching software products to
facilitate tree management.

Due to issues with data loss, synchronisation on both Windows and
Android platforms, they are considering changing products and
would be very grateful for advice and feedback from colleagues
within other APSE member authorities.

In particular, they would be very grateful if each could indicate the

  • What tree management software is in place at your authority and what devices/platforms do you use it on?
  • Have you encountered any issues in relation to the mobile functionality of the software? If so, what are they?

GM0598 - Policies on controlling activities in parks -16.03.18
Member authority is looking to find out as to whether other
authorities have policies/protocols in place for controlling the
following activities in parks and open spaces:

  • Metal detecting
  • Drones
  • Sky lanterns

GM0597 - Instillation of water fountains - 14.03.18
A member authority is interested to know whether any local
authorities have introduced water fountains and if so, what were the
costs associated with maintenance and water charges.

They would also be interested to hear about any difficulties
encountered, and how they were overcome.

GM0596 - Viability of municipal golf courses - 16.03.18
A member authority is looking for information on golf (particularly
municipal golf courses).

They are interested in information on how colleagues feel the the
market has changed e.g.

  • Whether the market is declining?
  • Have any authorities had to close courses due to falling demand?
  • Have any authorities opened new courses?
  • Have any authorities found alternative uses for their golf courses?

GM0595 - Policies on metal detecting on public land - 07.03.18

A member authority is enquiring whether any LA’s have a policy in
place for metal detecting on public land?

They would be interested in any policies relating to this issue.

GM0594 - Use of private sector enforcement agencies - 07.03.18

A member authority is considering employing organisations from the
Private Sector to enforce littering/Dog fouling on the Councils behalf.

They would be interested to know whether:

  • Any other authorities employ private sector enforcement for Environmental Crime and if so, whom they employ (if that is allowed).
  • Any experiences with this type of service.
  • What arrangement are in place with regards to legal proceeding i.e. does the private sector organisation hand files to Council legal teams for them to progress or do the private sector do this themselves.
  • Any other advice/concerns would also be gratefully received.

GM0593 - Chargeable dog exercise areas - 21.02.18

A member authority is wanting to hear if any LA has created any
secure fenced off dog exercise areas and apply a fee to access /
use them?

If they have,

  • How have they administered the charging system?
  • What are the fees?
  • Are they making a profit?
  • What are the maintenance arrangements?
  • Have they encountered any difficulties with dogs in a confined area/complaints from immediate neighbours etc
  • Any lessons they could share with us?

GM0592 - Weed Control Policies/Case Studies - 21.02.18

A member authority is enquiring whether council’s would be willing
to share any copies of Weed Policies they have written and adopted
in light of the recent concerns about the reliance on chemical weed
treatments such as glyphosate.

They would also appreciate any case study information from those
authorities who have adopted a more integrated weed control
service methodology and whether it has been effective in reducing
their chemical weed control use.

GM0591 - Charging for removal of privately owned trees off the highway - 16.02.18

A member authority is looking for information on what procedures
other authorities have in place for private trees that have fallen onto
the highway.

In particular:

  • Are costs recovered from the private owner of the tree? If so, what legislation is this carried out under
  • Are the owners only notified of the charge once the tree has been removed?

GM0590 - Skate Parks - 06.02.18
This local authority would be grateful if other local authorities could
provide information on the following Questions about Skate Parks:

  1. Does your Authority have a policy/procedure for the management of community constructed skate parks?
  2. Does your Authority have any community run skate park facilities, if so how are they managed?
  3. Does you authority manage its own skateparks? If so how many and what is the annual budget for maintenance and repair?

GM0589 - Cost of herbaceous planting as compared to annual bedding - 06.02.18
A member authority is looking for information from authorities which
have investigated the level of unit cost for herbaceous planting
compared to annual bedding.

They are looking for the cost of maintenance per metre square for
annual bedding along with the cost of plants (can this be shown
separately) and the cost of maintenance of herbaceous areas
(along with the splitting and dividing every 3-5 years, again could
this be shown separately)

Also could authorities that have planted herbaceous areas how they
have managed public perception with the reduced amount of colour
and form during the winter period and how have they managed to
alleviate this in high profile areas.

GM0588 - Traffic management policies for mobile verge mowing – 01.02.18
A member authority is interested to discover what other local
authorities policies and practices are for using traffic management
for mobile verge mowing operations across the highway network
and various types of road, specifically:

  • When mowing highway verges under what traffic management circumstances do you use the large diagram 7403 (2.5m x 2.5m or 2.3m x 3.0m keep left arrow with flashing amber lights).
  • When mowing highway verges under what circumstances do you use temporary traffic control such as ‘stop & go’.

GM0587 - Provision of play parks - 01.02.18

A member authority is seeking information regarding the
procedures other members use to establish the provision of play
parks in a particular area or following a request.

Therefore information is sought regarding the criteria used for
selection such as:

  • distance from existing play area,
  • minimum no. of children served
  • any other factors.

GM0585 - Letting of Coarse Angling Rights - 30.01.18

A member authority is reviewing the letting of coarse angling rights
for lakes and rivers on its landholding.

The angling rights are currently leased to clubs by way of a licence
with rent set according to the number of ‘fishable’ pegs.

They would be interested in hearing from other authorities with

  • The method used for calculating rent for coarse angling licences/leases and the rental income received.
  • The average term of angling rights licences/leases on Council waters.
  • Whether incumbent angling clubs are given first consideration for renewal of leases/licences or whether angling rights are offered on the open rental market at the end of the term.
  • Whether any authorities let lakes or reservoirs for game fishing and the rental income received for such licences/leases.

GM0584 - Tree inspections - 30.01.18

A member authority is enquiring as to the frequency of tree
inspections in other local authorities.

In particular they are interested in the frequency of tree inspections
for the following:

  • Parks and green spaces ( number of parks and number of trees therein)
  • Street trees/Trees on highways (number of trees)
  • Cemeteries (number of cemeteries and number of trees therein)
  • Woodlands (number of woodlands and trees therein)

They are happy to receive any other details members may be of
help to their query.

GM0583 - Ranger Review - 02.01.18

A member authority is currently reviewing the role of the ranger service.

Since 2010 financial cuts have led to the reduction in the service
and there are now only a few rangers left.

The authority is now looking at new ways of meeting the needs of
the parks in respect to events, biodiversity, community engagement,
grant funding, management plans etc.

Have any member authorities undergone a review of the role of their
Ranger Services and what was the outcome?

1a) Has the ranger service been deleted?
1b) If so how has the gap been filled?
2a) Has the service been retained as it is?
2b) Have the job descriptions of the rangers been modified to meet
the future demand of parks?
3) would any member authorities be willing to share information
such as job descriptions, experiences and new practices?

GM0582 - Charging for private commercial activities in parks and greenspaces - 02.01.18

A member authority would like to know what other Councils charge
commercial fitness groups/ boot camps for the use of their parkland
& open spaces, and how they enforce any charges. If you have any
comments on the barriers faced/overcome when setting up a
charging structure for sessional groups, they would also be

GM0579 - Renting out parks buildings – 16.02.18

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


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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