Participant Information Sheet

INOPS (a comparative study of innovative models of contracting out in four countries)

You have been invited to take part in a survey about how your local authority structures the management and maintenance of parks and other green spaces, streets and highways. The survey is being sent out to all local authorities in England as part of research project undertaken at the University of Sheffield. Before you decide to take part it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Please contact us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Thank you for reading this.


What is the purpose of the study?

This survey is being undertaken by The Place-keeping Group based at the Department of Landscape in the University of Sheffield. It is part of a collaborative project with academic partners in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The project aims to gather and share current practice in contractual arrangements for green space maintenance.  It is concerned with identifying what is working and what is not and the reasons for this. Within the current context of austerity, where many Local Authorities are exploring alternative approaches to managing green space, it will help to identify issues, drivers, areas of innovation and barriers to change.  Our partners wish to learn from Local Authorities in the UK and we believe there will be useful insights we can gain from their practices. A version of this survey has been sent out to all local authorities in out partner countries.


Why have I been invited to participate?

You have been invited to participate because we understand that the maintenance of parks and green spaces or streetscene is part of your role in the local authority. You may have a client or procurement role, be involved in the supervision or delivery of maintenance, or both. 

Do I have to take part?

Your participation in the survey is entirely voluntary. You may withdraw from the survey at any point and your responses will not be retained. There are no foreseeable risks to you in participating in the research, apart from generously giving some of your time.

What will I do if I take part?

If you agree to take part then you will be asked to answer questions in an online survey. The survey is structured so that you will only need to answer questions about the services and functions that your department has responsibility for.  Depending on whether you are responsible for parks and greens spaces, or streetscene, or both, it will take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete, perhaps longer if you have several different delivery approaches.  You are able to stop and resume the survey at any point using the link we have given you.  You will be asked about your department and the different contractual arrangements it has for green space maintenance.  Most of the questions require tick box answers and you will have the opportunity to leave comments if you wish.  At the end of the survey you will be asked whether you would consider contributing to a case study. This does not commit you to participating and we will contact you to discuss this further if your case is selected.


Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?

All data collected will be made anonymous. Neither you nor your local authority will be able to be identified in any reports or publications. Confidentiality, privacy and anonymity will be ensured through the secure collection, storage and publication of the research material.


What will happen to the results of the research study?

The research findings will be made public in the UK through our website, practitioner publications, relevant media, as well as academic journals. The data collected during the course of the project might be used for additional or subsequent research.  In participating you will also receive a summary report and a complementary invitation to our conference in the UK (spring next year), with the theme of innovation in public space management.


Who is organising and funding the research?

Aalborg University in Denmark are lead partners and responsible for the administration of the survey and data analysis, as well as joint funders along with Dalgas Innovation. The other project partners are, The Institute of Transport Economics, Norway, Roskilde University, Denmark and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and School of Public Administration, Sweden.


Who has reviewed the study?

This project has been ethically approved via the University of Sheffield, Department of Landscape’s Ethics Review Procedure. The University’s Research Ethics Committee monitors the application and delivery of the University’s Ethics Review Procedure across the University.


For further information, please contact:

Mel Burton. Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, Arts Tower, Sheffield S10 2TN. Tel: 0114 22 20600. Email: