NCF says time right for grounds care contractors to lobby Government over green space

National Contractors Forum says the 'Big Society' agenda has opened up an opportunity for contractors to shape policy.

Contractors are getting involved to help raise social housing standards - image: HW
Contractors are getting involved to help raise social housing standards - image: HW

A gathering of grounds care contractors at last week's IoG Saltex exhibition was told that the time was right for them to get their views on the delivery of green space services across to Government.

Green space consultant Bob Ivison explained that the way the Government was unveiling the "Big Society" agenda had opened an opportunity for contractors "to get in there and ensure the tack they (the Government) take takes account of what we are doing in the sector."

Ivison and consultant Mike Fitt launched the National Contractors Forum three years ago to provide a space for grounds care services providers to debate key issues such as skills.

He told the meeting that the forum was the ideal place for contractors to get their message to Government.

After discussions with founder members this summer, Ivison explained that the forum would now seek a "firmer footing", with the creation of a steering group backed up with financial resources.

Partnerships were under consideration, he said, including a proposal to become a specialist interest group within industry body BALI. It could also join other cross-sector groups such as GreenLINK, which brings together organisations interested in green space.

Neighbourhoods Green - Raising the bar

Head of social housing green space initiative Neighbourhoods Green Nicola Wheeler urged grounds care contractors at the National Contractors Forum meeting to get involved with local Neighbourhoods Green partnerships to help raise standards for social housing.

Speaking at IoG Saltex, Wheeler said the social housing sector was starting to recognise the value of quality green space, but more information was needed by interested organisations on "how to raise the bar".

She suggested the sector may need to re-examine contracts and build in flexibility to allow contractors to help improve the quality of spaces.

Neighbourhoods Green will be launching a good practice guide through the National Housing Federation next month.

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