1. Overview

When it comes to providing local services like grass cutting, road sign cleaning, weeding and hedge trimming, parish and town councils are in the best place to know what needs doing and when.

Which is why we’re keen on partnering with them, to enable them to carry out these services in a way that’s appropriate for the community, more efficient and more economical. Because we recognise that one size doesn’t fit all.

There are 86 devolved services partnerships throughout Buckinghamshire, all of which are working well. 

Here’s how it’s working: the budget of a shade over £455,000 is devolved to the 86 parishes and towns, who agree to provide a set of highways services – urban grass cutting, hedging, weed killing, removing fly posters, approving charity event advertising, clearing rights of way, and so on.

In addition, six parish and town councils are taking part in a pilot scheme for road repairs – an extension to the raft of devolved services.

We’re also enabling local councils to put up their own highways equipment on quieter roads, at their own cost and where a road safety audit isn’t required.

There have been many benefits since the devolution scheme was introduced in 2015:

  • local people are much happier: complaints about grass cutting reduced by 50% in the first year!
  • local job opportunities have been created through social enterprises and apprenticeships
  • larger and smaller local councils, who are working together providing services, have developed positive collaboration and improved efficiencies

Taking on these devolved services means parish and town councils can set their own standards, manage their own schedules, and carry out the work in a way that best suits their communities.

There’s a Devolved Services Working Group, involving a number of parishes, whose purpose is to develop a devolved services support package for town and parish councils.

To make an expression of interest, please email the project team

The deadline for expressions of interest is Friday 30 November 2018.

2. Operational aspects


Following the success of the first Tranche of devolution, we are continuing to hand responsibility for these services to individual or clusters of local councils. Although we will look to establish alternative local delivery solutions wherever possible should the local council not wish to take on these services.

  • local council and clusters
  • will adhere to a minimum standard of service delivery;
  • beyond this it is up to them how they determine service delivery
  • will have a formal role in quality and quantity of service provision
  • are under no obligation to take on the devolution of services



Local councils or clusters will need to arrange public liability insurance if delivering devolved services.

Each parish or town council should inform its insurers of its involvements in the scheme, and is required to put in place a £10,000,000 public liability indemnity and the appropriate employer's liability insurance.

Where a service contract is used, the operative should also have this level of indemnity.

Please see Insurance guidance for local councils and HSE Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 – A brief guide for employers for more information.


Health and safety

Parishes will follow their own health and safety arrangements, and will be supported to establish these as part of the programme set up. Parish and town councils will be responsible for ensuring that their operatives works in a safe an appropriate manner.



Local councils can use their budget to lease or hire equipment in order to deliver devolved services. The budget per unit, per LC, includes the expected cost of PPE, training and equipment which parishes will be expected to provide.



Local Area Technicians are a point of contact for local councils. They will not be managing the performance of service delivery.

This includes services that are:

  • contracted out
  • delivered in house
  • any other service type

Any local complaints about the quality of service delivered within a cluster will be routed directly to the lead local council.

The county council will monitor services on a sample basis. There will be no systematic monitoring of the network.

Local councils will be trusted to maintain standards and customer feedback will act as the barometer


Technical information

Please download the Technical Clarification V1.1 for further information. This includes the Red Book under the 'Mobile Works' section.



Insurance guidance for local councils
HSE Employer's Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 - a brief guide for employers
Identifying Managing Monitoring Risk v2