Agenda item

Environmental Workshop - Future Direction (Nac.14.11.2022/5)


The Area Manager advised that a 1.5-hour workshop had taken place on 8 November 2022 to look at the environment priority and explore the frustrations around the existing service delivering against the priority. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges had been discussed and it was acknowledged that the process was currently viewed as quite clunky and overly bureaucratic. The outcome of this workshop was a recommendation to move away from the existing offer to a schedule of works defined by each ward. One of the recommendations to Members delivered in the report was to explore the aims and objectives of the service the North Area Council wished to deliver and a direction of travel to be agreed. The 2-year contract signed with the current provider was coming to an end with the opportunity to extend for a third year or the deadline to give notice being late 2022. 


During Member discussion it was communicated that there was a clear consensus on the way forward, moving away from a volunteer-dependent approach to a schedule of works. It was suggested this could be an extension to the work of Neighbourhood Services or a new model with an external provider, focussing on: public spaces and parks, clearing pathways, fly tipping and problem litter areas. It was suggested a list of jobs be drawn up to ensure even distribution of level of delivery between wards, given funding was limited. It was stated any future contract should be weighted towards this schedule of works, rather than being too reactive to day-to-day asks from the public or volunteers. The option to request a variation in contract with the current provider was also made as a suggestion to Members. 


Members commented on the importance of continuing to support volunteers, with a distinction made that work would be directed by the Ward Alliances rather than being requested by individual residents.  The model will enable residents to participate where there is a desire to do so. Enabling and engaging communities was deemed a priority to enable residents to love where they live. Consideration was given to the potential loss of educational opportunities with an opinion stated that the current provider worked very well with schools, however a counterargument was made that this work had been inconsistent. It was acknowledged that educational opportunities would be a challenge to incorporate in the contract of any future provider.  


The Area Manager was advised in advance of a scheduled meeting that the current provider was also dissatisfied with the current process for managing service requests.  It was communicated that the Steering Group was hindering some of the community work associated with the current contract and additionally that current delivery left them running at a deficit. Concerns were raised by members that there had been a breach of confidentiality.  Clarity was given that discussions at Steering Group are required to be presented to North Area Council for a decision, and that the agenda and reports were published ahead of the meeting at which point the information entered the public domain. Members of the public were also entitled to attend North Area Council. 


In informing a steer on how to implement discussions from the workshop, Members suggested a scheduled-led specification be developed in order to be put to tender, with an ask that volunteers could work with the provider and encouraged to do so. A proposed split was 80% schedule-based to 20% community participation. It was agreed to draw up a tender of works by the end of November 2022.  In the meant time the tasks allocated to the current provider will be determined at the Steering Group.    



    (i)      that the current position, section 4 be noted;

   (ii)     that the opportunity to reflect on the discussion that took place at the workshop 8th November 2022 be acknowledged;

   (iii)    that contract with Twiggs Grounds Maintenance be ended at the end of term, 31st March 2023. Reference Section 6.

   (iv)    that a task-based schedule of works service and offer the opportunity for tender. Section 5.3 be pursued;

   (v)     that Members work towards a “wish list” for this schedule of works in cooperation with the Area Manager by the end of November 2022.


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