Parks departments told to focus on duty of care

Parks managers must stress to councils that they have a statutory duty of care towards green space visitors if they are to persuade councillors not to cut funding, says Oldham parks head Steve Smith.

In a briefing note to councillors, Smith said that unlike council buildings, sports centres and libraries, open space cannot be "closed" to improve efficiency, reduce cost or avoid hazard.

He said the council "has a commitment to ensure a safe level of maintenance and management of its green estate". Local authorities are facing 30 per cent budget cuts next month.

Statutory Instruments affecting the parks service

- Statutory Instruments 1977 no. 204 Burial England and Wales.

- Statutory Instruments 2008 no. 2841 Cremation England and Wales regulations 2008.

- Section 215 of the Local Government Act 1972 Closed Churchyards. Parish councils can pass maintenance obligations to local authority.

- Environmental Protection Act 1990/Defra DG5/2/04 Cremation.

- Allotments & Small Holding Act 1908 1922-50.

- Statutory inspections of Play Areas and MUGAS HSAW Act.

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