Watford Borough Council and Veolia have won a prestigious national award for their management of the town's parks and open spaces.
The two organisations have been given the Custodian Award Best Parks Partnership – Commercial 2017 by national magazine Horticulture Week. The partnership between Watford Borough Council and Veolia began in 2013 – and since then it has gone from strength to strength. The council and Veolia have increased the number of Green Flag awards for its parks from three to 11.
The aim of the partnership was to help the council reduce costs while maintaining the high quality of the services that were outsourced to Veolia. These included the entire parks service, allotments management, sports pitch management, grounds maintenance, tree management, parks development, cemetery operations and the Park Ranger service. A ‘client’ function consisting of the head of parks, a contract monitoring officer and a cemetery manager were retained in-house at the council to work in collaboration with Veolia.
Horticulture Week praised the partnership for its Green Flag successes, high retention of council employees outsourced to Veolia, increased resident satisfaction rates and investment in training for all parks staff. There are now new strategies in place for parks, sports facilities, cemeteries and allotments – all delivered in partnership.
Weekend burials have been introduced for Watford's growing Muslim community and there has been growing support for community groups working to improve the town’s parks. Watford is now four years into its contract with Veolia. Costs and efficiencies have been achieved, yet at the same time the service has improved.
Councillor Peter Taylor, Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Holder for Client Services, said: "We are delighted to have made such a success of our partnership with Veolia. Having excellent parks, clean streets and a first-rate waste and recycling service is a priority for this council. We will continue to work closely with Veolia to achieve fantastic results for people from all of the diverse communities of Watford."
Senior Contract Manager Matthew Crane at Veolia Watford said: “We are truly proud of the exceptionally good partnership working with our colleagues at Watford Borough Council and are absolutely thrilled that our hard work and team efforts have been recognised by the industry.”