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Towards an excellent service for parks and open spaces (TAES)

Framework enabling you to benchmark your service against a model of excellence and plan improvements.

People in a park

Bornemouth's lower gardens
Photo by Mark Ellis & AshleyBingham, ICD Ltd

Adopting the TAES approach can assist in improved user and staff satisfaction, efficiency, the delivery of parks and open spaces that meet users’ needs and increased recognition for the parks team within the authority.

Here is the TAES framework and full set of guidance notes:

  1. Introduction
  2. TAES framework
  3. Examples of good practice
  4. Self assessment record
  5. Guidance on planning and scoping
  6. Guidance on self assessment
  7. Guidance on improvement planning
  8. Guidance on TAES validation
  9. Template for partner feedback
  10. Template for staff feedback

Improving park performance explains the value of TAES and how it works in practice. It is useful for everyone working in green space services.

Benefits of using TAES for parks

Based on the existing TAES model for cultural services, this version has been developed specifically for the parks and open spaces sector by CABE Space with IDeA, GreenSpace, ISPAL and practitioners. The authorities who contributed found the process very rewarding.

"Those who took part really enjoyed the discussions" Clodagh Peterson, policy and partnership manager at South Staffordshire District Council, said. "Partners were very positive about the quality of the discussions. What seemed very encouraging to the participants was a clear indication that the issues identified were then documented in a specific improvement plan."

Development of a green space strategy

In the case of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, it led directly to the development of the authority's first green space strategy by providing a foundation set of objectives and priorities on which they could build.

John Pritchard, head of recreation, who led one of the trials said: "The TAES process was found to be very illuminating, showing the strengths and weaknesses of the parks and green spaces operation. The findings from the TAES work have enabled the parks and green spaces function to communicate in a more robust way with the council executive. This process was two-way and helped get agreement by the executive for an open space strategy, alongside the parks function understanding their role in delivering on key executive objectives such as diversity."

Improving cultural services

TAES is a forerunner of a generic self-assessment tool, the Culture and Sport Improvement Toolkit launched by IDeA and the Local Government Association as part of the national culture and sport improvement strategy.

The toolkit is intended for use by local authorities to improve the performance of all culture and sport services including sport, the arts, heritage, museums, libraries, parks and tourism in an integrated way. It helps promote a consistent approach across all cultural and sports services and could help a parks service raise its profile within the authority.

TAES for parks and open spaces offers the opportunity for a local authority to develop their approach to improvement at service level. It facilitates a more detailed assessment and improvement plan for organisations managing parks and open spaces and such service specific assessments can contribute to wider assessment where necessary. It will be for local authorities to choose what is most appropriate for them.

For more information about TAES for parks please contact GreenSpace on 0118 946 9060.