Published 05 May 2020
South Swindon Parish Council is asking its parishioners to be patient with grounds maintenance during the lockdown restrictions.
In recent weeks the Parish Council has had a growing number of complaints about the grounds maintenance services it contracts Swindon Council to deliver- particularly grass cutting.
The Parish Council currently contracts Swindon Council to deliver grounds maintenance and other streetsmart services within the Parish area. You can view a list of the services the Parish Council pay Swindon Council to deliver here- https://www.southswindon-pc.gov.uk/serv…/grounds-maintenance
When the Covid-19 lockdown started Swindon Borough Council took the unilateral decision to stand down all grass cutting services and significantly reduce other services it was contracted to deliver. Three weeks after lockdown started Swindon Council provided a skeleton service with around a third of normal staff delivering the Parish Council’s contract at this time of year.
Later this year the Parish Council will be self-delivering the services currently contracted to Swindon Council. The Parish aims to secure the experienced front line staff in the process and secure a seamless transition on which the Parish can build an improved and resilient service.
South Swindon Parish Council’s Chair, Chris Watts, said:
“The Parish Council want to get the message across to residents that the quality of maintenance of our open spaces is not of a level the Parish Council would expect and this is due to Covid-19.
When lockdown was announced we were disappointed that the Borough Council stood down all grounds maintenance and streetsmart staff without any consultation with us, despite South Swindon parishioners paying them to deliver these services. We were told that some staff were stood down due to a need to self-isolate and the remaining staff were being redeployed to services the Borough Council considered “essential”.
After several weeks of lobbying by the Parish the Borough Council did eventually put on a skeleton grass cutting service. However, the number of staff delivering this is a lot less than is usually the case at this time of year. As a consequence our parish open spaces do look poor and understandably some people have felt that this is not the service they’re paying for.
We recognise the challenges faced by the Borough Council and we do not have a problem paying for staff who need to self-isolate. However, we feel that the Borough Council have made decisions without recognising they are contracted to deliver a service. We are their customers.
Last year we gave notice of our intention to self-deliver the grounds maintenance and streetsmart services we’re responsible for and this should be completed later this year. We look forward to making our own destiny with the community services we’re responsible for and delivering a service our parishioners expect and deserve.”
© Copyright South Swindon Parish Council