ABOUT BROMLEY PARKS
Bromley is undoubtedly London’s greenest borough, encompassing over 160 parks, 52 allotments and 21 outdoor sports facilities.
The Council is rightly proud of its custodianship of 7000 acres of green space on behalf of Bromley’s 300,000 residents. Much of the countryside around Charles Darwin’s former home at Downe is owned by Bromley Council and has unique cultural significance as the ‘open-air laboratory’ in which Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Involving local people in maintaining and developing these green spaces has always been central to the Council’s approach; so for over 25 years the Council has supported and encouraged communities to collaborate in the management of their green space. This has resulted in an enviable track record of delegation and self-management. The support provided by dedicated managers has enabled community groups and individuals to steer their local green space by becoming Friends and Volunteers. However, this level of engagement does not come easily. It requires building the capacity of local people to undertake these roles and continually developing the management of open space in the Borough. The Parks and Greenspace Service is therefore of particular value to the Council and its residents and merits a different approach to other environmental services.
Clearly, the service is committed to making open spaces accessible and conserving the natural environment within a changing climate. It also provides Bromley residents with sustainable travel connections to distinctive visitor destinations; including the promotion of healthy living, food production and green skills all through sustainable design, management and maintenance.
In June 2015 idverde became responsible for the management of the parks, green spaces and countryside service. That relationship was extended in April 2019, for a further 16 years as part of the biggest arrangement of its kind in Bromley.
Council teams delivering the management service were merged with idverde’s grounds maintenance teams. idverde and Bromley Council agreed that the priorities for this integrated service were to:
- Enhance the high level of service achieved in recent years
- Increase the responsiveness of the service to stakeholder groups
- Deploy resources more flexibly to reflect stakeholder preferences or available funding
- Reduce the cost of the service through increasing productivity
To achieve these priorities, and central to the new approach, the integrated service is focused on three geographical Neighbourhoods, with a number of discrete Communities. A General Manager is responsible for all aspects of the service in his or her Neighbourhood; both community-facing services and the delivery of maintenance duties.
Each Community has its own dedicated Community Team Leader (under the oversight of an experienced operational manager at Neighbourhood level) empowered to deliver virtually the whole service to their community. This approach enables communities in any one area to utilise the available resource in different ways within an agreed management framework. The structure is designed to focus on day-to-day delivery but any Neighbourhood can access specialised skills such as biodiversity, countryside management or project management.
Over many years, Bromley Council has successfully drawn on the commitment of community groups and external funding to uphold horticultural and biodiversity standards that would not otherwise be possible. For this reason, idverde believes that the service should remain heavily focused on maintaining productive relationships with these community groups, focusing on building their capacity further and developing the support provided to their fund-raising efforts.
idverde UK is commissioned to deliver Bromley’s Parks and Greenspace Service. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is the introduction of the Action Plan for the service with a number of supporting annual plans that provide focus on a number of service-specific plans and strategies. in line with our Green Space Strategy.