In 2016 Xyst Ltd established a working group of parks industry colleagues representing both the client and contractor interests, to explore the need for an industry standard approach to the documentation of service delivery specifications. Based on the endorsement of this group, Xyst then approached New Zealand Recreation Association (now Recreation Aotearoa – RA) to facilitate a shared industry approach to funding this project.
Xyst represented by Alison Rawley, Brian Milne and Chris Rutherford led the development of open space specifications for New Zealand with the support of the industry working group, Sport NZ and RA.
RA formally engaged Xyst to develop a set of specifications for parks and open space operations and maintenance. The specifications cover a range of parks operations including garden, lawn and tree maintenance, litter and refuse, cleaning, parks asset maintenance, cemetery operations, pest management, revegetation and security. The number of service level indicators for each maintenance activity ranges from one to five, with the majority of activities having three. A star rating system is also used, with 5 stars representing the highest service level for each operation.
The specifications are applicable to a range of service delivery models whether outsourced, council-controlled organisations or direct in-house delivery. They address the issue of “reinventing the wheel” each time an organisation chooses to develop a new service specification or contract and provides a standard modifiable solution to developing a service specification. Specifications are complemented by a sensible, measurable and standardised quality assessment system that is based on outcomes.
Irrespective of the contract type or style, the specifications provide a library of standard tasks and actions suitable for all service levels that organisations can select for use in their service specification. Individual organisations will continue to be able to define their specific levels of service using the standard specification to provide a known and accepted standard of maintenance.