With idverde legacy company, Quadron Services, providing grounds maintenance services to Southwark Council since 1996, and subsequently being re-awarded the contract for consecutive terms in 2004, 2009, and 2016, the company has been working in partnership with Southwark Council for over 20 years.

IDVERDE’S ROLE

The Integrated Parks Grounds Maintenance contract sees idverde (created from the merger of Quadron Services with The Landscape Group in 2016) deliver parks maintenance, litter picking, all elements of amenity and ornamental horticulture, including summer and winter sports pitch, and cemeteries maintenance, across the London Borough of Southwark.

The contract is divided into four areas, North, South, Central and Cemetery. In order to provide effective customer and client liaison in each area, idverde has mirrored its client structure and provided a supervisor for each area and head gardener for each of the Borough’s five major parks.

QUALITY AND AWARDS

During the four consecutive contract periods, idverde has formed an excellent working relationship with Southwark Council, and has regularly exceeded performance targets for its high standards of maintenance of the Council’s parks, sports grounds and cemeteries. The company has also received several industry awards for its maintenance of sites within Southwark, including the British Association of Landscape Industries’ (BALI) coveted Principal Awards for Southwark Park (2014) and Burgess Park (2013), as well as BALI National Awards for Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park (2016) and Dulwich Park (2010).

idverde has been delighted to support Southwark in preparing its parks for the annual Keep Britain Tidy Green Flag Awards, which recognise high quality green spaces, and the Borough now boasts 30 Green Flag accredited parks and green spaces. Mint Street, Nelson Square, and Camberwell Green were the three latest additions in 2017, and Southwark Council now boasts the second highest number of Green Flag accredited parks of any London authority, and the third highest of any local authority in England.

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

To further support Southwark Council’s aim of increasing community involvement in its parks, idverde introduced the new post of Corporate Development and Volunteer Manager to the contract in 2016. One of the responsibilities of the post is to organise and manage volunteer activities in the Borough’s parks and green spaces, with groups ranging from corporate volunteers keen to ‘give something back’ to the community, to stakeholder groups such as ‘Friends of Parks’.  This has resulted in over 9,000 hours of activity generated by volunteers between January and June 2017, including contributions from organisations such as Timebank, McDonalds, and Hands on London. All volunteering activities are fully supervised by our team of volunteer managers, who have received a bespoke Work Based Conservation training programme to improve their knowledge of conservation work and how to effectively and safely plan and deliver conservation activities with volunteer groups.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

In order to reduce the negative environmental impact of its operations while delivering grounds maintenance services in Southwark, idverde has invested in a fleet of electric-powered vehicles, with all supervisors’ vans now being electric, and numerous electric vehicles being deployed in the Borough’s parks. These vehicles have the advantage of having zero emissions and being cheap to run, and they are popular with staff and parks users alike.

A further innovation introduced on the contract in recent years has been the use of Weedingtech’s Foamstream system for weed control. Foamstream is a biodegradable foam made from hot water, with natural plant oils and sugars, and is used instead of chemical herbicides, which are not permitted for routine maintenance in Southwark.

TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

idverde is committed to supporting staff training and development, with Contract Manager, Terry Burns, being an excellent example of successful development and progression within the contract. Terry began his career on the Dulwich area mobile team in 1994, aged 18. Since then, he has gained a wealth of experience and training, progressing through the ranks until his well-deserved promotion to Contract Manager in 2010, and he continues to head-up idverde’s contract operations at Southwark today.

We have also developed a successful partnership with the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), with whom we have been working since 2011. The college has delivered training to our Southwark team across areas including horticulture, management, and team leading. Of the 100 staff we employ at Southwark, 90 have completed an NVQ Level 2 qualification, with 30 having completed a Level 3 qualification, and 30 more on the way to achieving Level 3.

idverde runs a successful apprenticeship programme, with the aim of employing five apprentices in Southwark each year, recruited from the local area. Recent successes include Paul Sellars, who joined us as an apprentice in 2015. Paul received the London Gardens Society Award for Showing Pride in London through horticulture in 2015, and was named as one of Pro Landscaper Magazine’s ’30 under 30’ in 2016, in recognition of being one of the industry’s most promising young talents. Paul has now completed his apprenticeship and remains on the Southwark contract as a full-time mobile gardener. Paul’s colleague Natalie Meredith also completed an apprenticeship with us, during which time she received Greentech’s Landscape Apprentice of the Year Award, beating candidates from across the UK’s horticultural and landscaping industry. Natalie is now a valued member of the team as a permanent gardener at Dulwich Park.

idverde continues to strive to deliver excellent standards of maintenance across Southwark and to support the Council in providing high quality open spaces that improve the quality of people’s lives, enhance biodiversity, and provide opportunities for all.