From the presentations. visits and deliberations received made and undertaken by the Scrutiny
Commission, the Commission have gained insight to some of the technicalities in green maintenance
services, an understanding of the complexities in delivering municipal services and the supporting
budget parameters. The Commission have reached a series of conclusions about how service
improvements and alterations might be gained and make the following recommendations on how
those objectives might be achieved. It is hoped that the Council will accept the recommendations, in
order that maintenance of the green spaces for recreation and enjoyment can be continuously
improved for the benefit and needs of residents and visitors to the City.
The recommendations fall into three main categories;
Local Authority Action,
Local Authority Partnerships, and
Education and Promotion.
Recommendation 1
That the issues raised during the course of this Commission are considered in the Best Value review
It is believed that this Scrutiny Commission enquiry will make a positive contribution to the forthcoming
process of formal Best Value review. This scrutiny process has CHALLENGED the way services are
provided. COMPARED the services with private sector alternative and contributed to
CONSULTATION, all key elements of the Best Value process. Findings and recommendations now
need to be fed into the formal Best Value review process.
Recommendation 2
Carry out a review of the arboriculture service to improve current productivity and flexibility and meet
future needs.
Recommendation 3
Carry out an audit of current practices as part of the compilation of a Green Directory.
Improved flexibility in contractor services is necessary to better meet the needs of the community. The
consultation process with Community Committees has highlighted that some improvements and
variations in specifications and service standards are necessary to satisfy local needs and
A particular issue that has been raised is tree pruning that presents problems of maintenance,
ownership and long waiting time for some action. This is partly about funding for Arboriculturalists;
there are 15 in the City whilst the demand for service is greater than capacity, but the service needs to
review public opinion, priorities, charging practices and contractor partnerships.
Recommendation 4
Progress the concept of a Green Budget, encompassing services that contribute to environmental
maintenance and improvement, and encourage economies of scale.
Recommendation 5.
Improve co-ordination between council directorates to ensure that in scheme design sustainability of
future maintenance and funding are considered.
The directorates are involved in consultation on new landscape schemes at the sketch stage. The
dialogue needs to be improved with landscape architects and the public involved more in the design
process consultation.
Pathways should be laid where the public actually walk -a wearing surface should ease maintenance.
Recommendation 6.
Investigate the provision and possible funding for improved lighting and security in parks and a park
warden style service to control vandalism, litter and dog nuisance.
Recommendation 7
Consider the introduction of a citywide bye law to control the nuisance and health hazard from dog
People need to feel safe when they are out and about and enjoying the environment. Night crossing of
parks is a danger, lighting of park pathways for those areas open after dusk will aid security and safety
from tripping hazards. CCTV is a suggestion The consultations highlighted that lack of public toilets
cause problems; toilet provisions have been a casualty of vandalism problems and budget cuts.
The Commission can see merit in bringing back Park Wardens or, more cost effective, perhaps in the
modern parks and playing fields, the concept of Park Rangers who have been successful in the
Blackleach Country Park. This also would identify litter and vandalism and dog fouling problems at an
earlier stage.
Recommendation 8
Investigate ways to provide a green maintenance Support service for the elderly and disabled.
Problems have been highlighted with overgrown hedges on boundaries. Enforcement may be possible
but there are no facilities to help or assist people in need in these circumstances. How can we help
people who are unable to maintain their garden areas? Welfare to Work schemes are a possibility; a
tool-hire scheme is operating in the Irlam area of the City.
The Council may be able to use schemes. such as New Deal to pilot initiatives that could provide help
to special sections of the community in maintaining their gardens and boundaries.
Recommendation 9
Enhance the 'gateways to the city' by environmental improvements plantings and maintenance.
The Commission acknowledge the importance of improvements, to the area in which we live, the
street scene, parks. and open spaces, and of aesthetics in fostering community spirit and confidence.
There is also the importance of economic influence in uplifting areas to stop the drift away from the
City of residents and businesses, and encouraging inward investment to boost the local economy.
First impressions are important -set the City in a proper light and lift resident's spirits. Suggestions
include improved maintenance and plantings along gateway corridors into the City and sustainable
maintenance programmes for new developments.
Recommendation 10.
Improve co-ordination between street cleaning and green maintenance services.
Loose grass cuttings present a hazard problem to some sections of the community -this was identified
in a previous Scrutiny Commission Into a Cleaner Salford. GAP bungalow lawns for example should
be box mown.
There is a need to co-ordinate grass cutting, litter picking and street cleaning to improve visual impact
as well as safety.
Recommendation 11.
Encourage outside partnerships to take full advantage of development opportunities and increased
project funding through New Opportunities Fund, Heritage Lotterv Fund etc.
Recommendation 12.
Ensure that satisfactory links are made with parks and leisure land development and maintenance, to
regeneration initiatives such as Single Regeneration Budget.
Some improvement has been seen through the help of funding such as the Single Regeneration
Budget (SRB) and it is hoped that further improvement can be achieved through similar involvement
across the city.
Recommendation 13.
Encourage more youth and community involvement to increase civic pride and enable more effective
and sustainable activity.
Involve more of the community in initiatives such as Britain in Bloom, Urban in Bloom, Tidy Business
schemes. The Monton Residents action in environmental improvements was a successful model of
community self help.
Investigate the extension of Red Rose Orchard scheme.
Recommendation 14.
Investigate ways to make better use by e.g. composting, of green waste collected or created by
outdoor services activity, reducing the reliance on land filling disposal.
The council actively encourages households to recycle and compost, more can be done however with
the material arising from contract activity.
Recommendation 15.
Extend the concept of 'Friends of the Parks " involving all different factions, to increase community
involvement and ownership.
The Friends of the Cemetery concept has been very successful and benefit might be gained perhaps
by extending the concept into Friends of the Parks.
Recommendation 16.
Continue to work with Community Committees to ensure service flexibility and the best local use of
devolved budgets in meeting local service needs.
The consultation associated with this Commission has been a success and has resulted in some
service developments already being implemented. A mechanism for ongoing consultation needs to be
put in place to ensure continuous improvement, bearing in mind the necessity for advance business
planning and limitations on contract variations.
Recommendation 17.
Improve educational awareness of littet; graffiti and the health hazard from dog dirt, to encourage
responsible dog ownership and supplement enforcement action.
Recommendation 18.
Promote greater and responsible use of parks and green spaces as the vital green lungs for inner city
life and an essential part of a healthy community.
Parks need to be brought back into greater use in the community, to be visually pleasing. The public
need to be caring and considerate for their environment and need to realise that vandalism to trees
and fiowerbeds, and fly tipping, is down to the community. The environment is what people make it.
Some dog owners are irresponsible as regards the dangers to children and sports players from dog
We need to be looking at involving young people -perhaps forming committees to be involved with
each area.
Make increased use of the Salford Pride team who have experience in working with young people
particularly, in promoting environmental awareness and community involvement schemes.
Educational programmes on litter prevention would be helpful -the first Scrutiny Commission into. A
Cleaner Salford' stressed this.