CSR analysis - Parks

Some optimism as value of green spaces recognised

Parks managers are weighing up the implications of the spending review, which could mean job losses and trust status for some parks but a smoother ride for others.

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council parks manager Steve Smith said: "I'd like parks to stay with councils, but feel authorities will now have to look much more closely at different service delivery options like trusts or social enterprises.

"We are relatively unscathed. We have to lose four staff out of 80 and hope to do so through natural wastage. Councillors of all parties have been supportive and recognise the role of good-quality space, especially in recession.

"Parks departments will have to look at anything to reduce costs - such as utility bills. Every £5,000 to £10,000 saved is a job saved. The good thing is that good-quality parks are more important in recession, especially with more jobless people.

"With changes to the benefits system, green spaces offer a platform for training to get people back into work. Studies show politicians who support parks enjoy more popularity, which is a strong card for us."

Liverpool City Council head of green space development Tom Duckworth said: "We await further guidance from the centre, but we have a contract with Glendale to 2018 and that will follow through.

"We have invested heavily in parks, which takes off some of the pressure. By investing in capital works we have reduced revenue spending on repairs. There's no gloom and doom here - we know how to bob and weave and we are positive."

London Borough of Hillingdon senior green spaces manager Paul Richards said: "It's too early to say how the review will affect us, but we are looking at how we can deliver services more effectively.

"We will focus more on the back room than parks staff. Maybe the way we operate means duplication of effort between ourselves and contractors can be streamlined. But with 16 Green Flag spaces, we don't want to jeopardise quality."

Parks consultant Bob Ivison said: "This will inevitably mean a reduction in jobs and authorities will look at external provision of services. The trouble with some areas, such as trusts, is there are too few to gauge their performance, so it's risky.

"I'm not sure there will be a big north-south divide in parks provision. It comes down to individual authorities, some of which are pro the in-house approach and others not."

GreenSpace chief executive Paul Bramhill said: "Non-statutory services such as parks and green spaces will be most vulnerable. Whatever delivery models are explored, sustainability, quality and easy access must be at the heart."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Mowers special report - Tractor-mounted units

Mowers special report - Tractor-mounted units

Are cylinder or rotary mowers the best bet to maximise efficiency, performance and productivity? Sally Drury reports.

Mowers special report - Ever-improving ride-ons

Mowers special report - Ever-improving ride-ons

Manufacturers are offering grounds professionals better models to tackle the most challenging mowing conditions, writes Sally Drury.

Mowers special report -  Remote-control and walk-behind mowers

Mowers special report - Remote-control and walk-behind mowers

Topography and the environment are key factors for mowing awkward areas but the latest machines are making the job easier, says Sally Drury.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Custodian Awards

Products & Kit Resources