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Hastings parks and open spaces to come under new management

Flaxmere Park

Hastings district's much loved parks and open spaces will now be cared for by Recreational Services

The care and management of Hastings district’s parks and other open spaces is to be outsourced to experienced parks specialist maintenance company, Recreational Services.

This change was first initiated through a legally required review of the council’s delivery of the service, conducted in August 2017. These reviews require councils to consider effective and efficient governance, funding and service delivery.

Since that time extensive research and consultation has been undertaken to determine the most efficient and effective way to care for the district’s parks and open spaces, currently carried out by council staff in the Maintenance Group.

In considering the potential outsourcing, the council commissioned a detailed business case and created a project governance group, comprising both internal expertise as well as expert, independent advisors.

The contract with Recreational Services will include an agreement that the company will offer employment to all but four of the 59 permanent staff members, comprising the same or similar terms and conditions of employment.

Of the remaining four staff, three will transfer to another part of council. The future of the one remaining staff member is yet to be determined.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says the Hastings community is passionate about its beautiful parks and reserves.

The council’s decision to outsource this work is to ensure it provides the community with a high level of service for the much-loved open spaces across the district.

“The very important consideration for us was that our hard working people employed within the council’s Maintenance Group would be offered employment with an external contractor on the same or similar terms to the contracts they are currently working under.

“Our council is very satisfied job security is being provided for our staff.”

A specialist in its field, Recreational Services was chosen for its proven track record and relevant skills following a robust tender evaluation process.

Recreational Services contracts to councils, including Gisborne District Council and as of December 1 Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, and other entities around the country offering diverse parks, grounds and facility maintenance services across 3,281 park sites.

Hastings District Council acting chief executive Neil Taylor says the company has a reputation for providing innovation to the clients they work for, which combined with the scale of their organisation and the fact that they specialise in maintaining parks and open spaces, will create efficiencies for the council, improved levels of service and greater opportunities for staff.

Recreational Services chief executive Cameron Parr says it is incredibly humbling to be awarded the contract, especially in a district so passionate about its parks.

“We are excited to work with the current Maintenance Group staff and bring with us our 26 years’ experience in parks management and maintenance, and further enhance the parks experience for the Hastings community.

“Hastings will be one of the 11 local council contracts we have across New Zealand. As a company based on family values, we place a lot of value on having close working relationships with our clients, our staff and the communities we work in.”

28 September 2018

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