In response to long-running criticism of ISPAL’s lack of representation of its parks members, the former Badminton England national development director said: “If you look at the word ISPAL, the P for parks is the central letter. Parks are central to us wishing to represent that part of the industry. It’s still a priority for us. We’re looking to build in programmes about learning and development and increase membership. I recognise we have work to do.”
Sutton said she was looking to build partnerships with other groups outside ISPAL, including the Landscape Institute, IoG, GreenSpace and CABE Space.
She said: “If we are all to -represent the industry, all these elements need to work together, -otherwise all that I’m saying is just words. Part of my plan is to make contact with these people and to work in partnership to deliver the message that the policy improvements agenda is key.”
Sutton had a “profitable meeting” with CABE Space last week and met GreenSpace chief executive Paul Bramhill at the Green Flag awards in Leeds in July. “Paul was charming. We plan to meet in the next few weeks to build a partnership with them. I’m hoping they will welcome that approach,” she said.
Sutton met last week with ISPAL’s Parks Places & Open Spaces working group’s Ken McAnespie, Steve Smith and Nick Reeves to “network with experts within this area of the industry to influence policy and access their personal knowledge”.
Smith said: “Dialogue with GreenSpace is essential. We can’t have two bodies claiming to represent the sector. I don’t think the industry is served by that. But there’s a way to go before a tie-up happens. We can’t go anywhere until that’s clarified.” Smith added that with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport backing ISPAL and Communities & Local Government behind CABE and GreenSpace, “the Government is adding to the fragmentation”.
Bramhill said: “It was Sue’s first week in the job when we met and she said she would contact us to set up a meeting. I’ve not heard anything yet but I’m sure that will accelerate.
“It’s up to them what they want to talk about and where they think ISPAL is going to service green space. We’ll see if there are areas where we can work together and what ISPAL’s plans are.”
GreenSpace is set to launch a range of programmes focusing on management skills and training.
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