Management and maintenance plan guidance for landscapes, parks and gardens
Good management and maintenance are crucial to the long-term care of landscapes, parks and gardens – which means having the right skills and procedures to ensure that they are looked after.
Poor management and maintenance puts your heritage at risk, and can lead to higher costs in the future.
What is the management and maintenance plan?
The management and maintenance plan tells us how you will look after your heritage once the project is complete. As part of our standard terms of grant, we will also ask you to maintain the benefits of your project in the future. That means we will expect you to make sure that the work we have funded is kept in good condition.
We will expect your organisation to adopt your management and maintenance plan, to integrate it into your existing policies for management and care, and to provide financial resources to implement that plan for 10 years after project completion.
We will also ask you to prepare a conservation plan early in the development phase, then an activity plan and management and maintenance plan as part of your delivery phase application. It’s important that these plans relate to each other.
If your project is to restore a public park, cemetery or garden you will be required to secure and retain the Green Flag Award once your project is completed as part of our contract conditions. You will be required to retain a Green Flag Award, at a high pass level, for each of seven consecutive years following completion of the main capital works.
This guidance will help you to prepare a management and maintenance plan that will satisfy both us and the Green Flag Award.
How management and maintenance achieves outcomes for heritage
We want our investment in your project to have a wider impact by acting as a catalyst for a ‘step change’ in the way your site is managed.
For example, the complete revitalisation of an historic cemetery is an ideal opportunity to critically review not just the current state of its physical condition, but also :
- its current and potential benefits for the local community
- how the space is managed and by whom
- how maintenance is to be funded for the long-term future of the site
The management and maintenance plan needs to be clear how our outcomes will be sustained in the future beyond the end of the project. The most relevant outcome is:
The heritage will be in better condition
With our investment, there will be improvements to the physical state of your site and its cultural and natural heritage. The improvements might be the result of habitat conservation, renovation or work to prevent further deterioration.
Examples might include bringing an historic building back in to community use, replanting an historic avenue, clearing the silt from a lake or replanting field boundaries. They might also result from new work, for example increasing the size of an existing habitat to benefit priority species or re-creating a lost focal feature.
The improvements will be recognised through standards used by professional and heritage specialists, and/or by people more generally, for example in surveys of visitors or local residents.
About management and maintenance planning
Many of the problems facing heritage sites and assets are the result of long-term neglect or lack of maintenance.
Management and maintenance planning is a useful process not only to accurately document the current condition of a site but also to critically evaluate how the space and its management systems are performing. The end product of the process is a document which should help you deliver change in order to improve the site quality and overall visitor experience.
For a restoration project it is vitally important that those involved explore in depth how they will maintain our investment after the project’s completion. This is not just how the capital elements will be maintained but also how activities to engage people with your site will be resourced in the longer term.
Consider in detail what investment is required to raise overall management and maintenance standards to look after our investment for ten years after completion of the capital works. This could include:
- long-term planned maintenance which happens every five to 10 years, such as replacing pumps, painting railings/furniture, coppicing, building repairs, pond or lake de-silting
- maintenance of complex features and facilities such as water bodies including dams, weirs, drainage, fish passes and complex planting schemes
Links to other aspects of your project
Management and maintenance planning should not be done in isolation from other aspects of your project planning, indeed the management and maintenance plan itself is a critical document to ensure that you can look after the capital investment and continue the delivery of revenue funded activities.
Ensuring that you allow enough time to link together plans produced during the development stage to create a cohesive project is vital to achieving a successful outcome. Likewise ensuring that anyone responsible for leading on any one plan is aware of the process of producing other plans, and that there is a dialogue between them, will ensure a better project.
Links to the Conservation Plan (CP)
- How the CP defines zones in the site may help you in organising the management plan site description section.
- Ensure that you summarise any built, landscape or nature designations and other useful historical information from the CP.
- Ensure that the management and maintenance plan includes a summary of the significance of the site.
Links to the project master plan and overall project design
- Look at all capital elements and decide how they will be maintained, who will do it, what skills they will need, when things need to be done, what cost the cost will be.
- Decide whether there are management interventions other than capital projects (e.g. do you need to do other physical works to improve the whole site beyond our investment?).
- Ensure that when you revise the management plan during the delivery phase that you capture key information to maintain the quality of newly restored features (e.g. the origin and specification of materials, the palette of colours used to paint features/furniture, planting plans).
Links to the Activity Plan (AP)
- Understanding the context – include a brief description in the management and maintenance plan of the demographics of your area.
- Set out how current and proposed levels of volunteering and community engagement identified in your activity plan will be managed and maintained in the future.
- Identify how the local community will be actively engaged in managing and caring for the site in the future.
If you have a project which includes commercial income streams, such as from a café or visitor centre, then we will require information on the operation of these businesses to be set out within your management and maintenance plan.
Advice on this is included later in this guidance.
Links to monitoring and evaluation proposals
- If you are required by us to hold a Green Flag Award, your management and maintenance plan should include the develop
- ment of a Green Flag Award base line score.
Links to reducing negative environmental impacts
- As part of your management and maintenance planning you need to consider your overall approaches to environmental management.
Steps to take
First work out:
- who needs to be involved or consulted
- what information is already available or needs to be established
- who will write the plan
- what resources will be needed
1. Before your development phase application
Think about the site and consider if all the right organisations are involved in the current management and maintenance of the site. Consider if the overall standards of maintenance are what is required? Think about how standards might be improved either by capital investment or by changes in working practices.
Budgets and resources
Review the current staffing structure and wider resources. Consider how this might need to change in the future and in response to our investment in the project.
Consider if everything to be delivered through the project can be properly maintained by existing management and maintenance budgets and resources. If the answer is yes, then you will need to provide a clear explanation of how this will be achieved and how standards will be maintained. If the answer is no, then you will need to identify additional funding and resources and explain how these will be maintained in the long term.
Identify the team that will be involved in preparing the management and maintenance plan during the development phase. Decide if you can produce the plan in house or whether you need additional help or expertise. If additional resources are required then include the cost of these in your application. Don’t under estimate the time it will take or the benefits of employing expert advice or a critical friend.
Think about how you will review your environmental management performance and procedures during the development phase and allow for expert advice in your application if specialist help is needed.
2. During development phase
By your development review, we will expect you to have:
- a clear structure to your management and maintenance plan
- written the “where we are now” section
- identified initial aims and objectives
- reviewed and refined your staffing structure including staff resources for project management and delivery of the activity plan
- developed an action plan to engage people, volunteers and especially any site user groups in discussions about their role in the management and maintenance of the site
- reviewed the emerging designs for the capital and conservation works to identify what extra resources or skills may be required in the future
- considered your overall income and expenditure budgets and identified any opportunities to increase site income
- developed your baseline evaluation data and considered draft ideas for monitoring and evaluation targets
After the development review we will expect you to:
- work up your overall income and expenditure forecasts based on the RIBA/LI stage D designs and any potential commercial income
- identify and confirm any proposed uplift in financial or staff resources
- finalise your proposed staffing structure and draft appropriate job descriptions
- confirm all targets for monitoring and evaluation against the programme outcomes
- finalise and adopt the management and maintenance plan
3. During delivery phase
The management and maintenance plan should be a living document which is reviewed and updated as the project develops.
During this phase you should:
- review the plan annually
- check your action plan to achieve the Green Flag Award is on track, if required
- check your plans to reduce your environmental impact of your project are on track
- amend and update the plan to reflect any changes in the nature and scope of the physical works
- amend and update the plan to reflect any new visitor surveys
- ensure that the roles of local people, volunteers and any site user groups are clearly identified and confirmed
- collate design information such as material and product specifications, plans, surveys or drawings so that they are available for future maintenance operations
4. On completion of capital works
You will need to review and update your management and maintenance plan. We expect you to:
- extend the plan to 10 years starting from the date of project completion and re-forecast any financial projections based on the ‘as built’ scheme
- submit your plan to us for approval
- and, if required, apply annually and retain a Green Flag Award to a high level pass for a total of 7 consecutive years
You will need to consider how you resource development of the management and maintenance plan during project delivery and allow for the cost of any specialist advice you may need.
Contents of a management and maintenance plan
A management plan should set out:
- the current situation
- analysis, aims and objectives – developing the desired future situation
- a way of moving towards the desired future situation
- a method of measuring progress
Your plan needs to be written in a way that it is accessible to the intended audience and you might wish to consider an overall summary document if the plan itself becomes too technical in its content.
Cross referencing to other plans and summarising content from other documents will help keep the plan size down and make it easier to read.
A short section pulling together key information:
- who wrote the plan, when and why
- who was consulted
- scope of the plan
- links to other planning work
- any gaps in the plan
- if the plan covers your whole site in your ownership or just the project area
2. Current situation ("where we are now")
Structuring this section is key to making the plan readable. The following headings are suggestions.
- site size and location including connections to other green spaces and habitats
- legal and planning issues including designations, leases, licenses, agreements, covenants, wayleaves, byelaws
- a brief outline of the site’s heritage and how it has changed over time
- a summary of the heritage value and site significance (taken from the conservation plan)
- brief description of any manmade features and site facilities
- brief description of the natural heritage including soils, geology, hydrology and ecology
- site access and transportation links
Your activity plan should provide you with useful information that will help you complete this section which should include:
- an understanding of your current audience including types of use, annual visitor numbers, visitor profile, reasons for use, length of stay, satisfaction levels
- an understanding of your potential audience including non users and identified or perceived barriers to greater use
- current scope and nature of community engagement and volunteering including the range and type of people involved and what do they do
- current events and activities including who runs them, how they are funded, how they are marketed and promoted, who attends and how successful they are
- current role of site user groups or volunteers, their skills, any management responsibilities and how they are involved in decision making
Set out details about any organisations involved in the management and maintenance of the site.
Identify key national, regional and local policy that has a direct impact on the management and maintenance of the site. Think about how this could be summarised by only including those issues that directly affect the site and consider using appendices to include a wider policy context. The relationship of the site to wider green space strategies, habitat networks, green infrastructure plans or green grids should be clearly explained.
Current management and maintenance
- current management structure shown as an organogram (‘family tree’) highlighting the key service areas that have responsibility for the site. List everyone who plays a part in management and maintenance of the site including all staff posts employed directly or indirectly through contracts. Identify those staff that are dedicated fully or partly to the site.
- show as an organogram all other departments and external organisations (stakeholders) who assist or inform the management and maintenance of the site
- a short description of the current standards of maintenance including who delivers them, how they are procured, whether they are delivered by site based staff and what maintenance facilities exist on site
You should also describe operational procedures for inspections, repairs and non-planned maintenance such as dealing with graffiti and anti-social behaviour.
3. Analysis, aims and objectives ("where do we want to be")
Set out how you have critically evaluated:
- the site, its overall condition and current threats to its heritage significance
- the performance of the managing organisation, adequacy of current resources, skill levels, procedures and environmental management
- the views, ideas and aspirations of your current and potential audiences
You can bring in elements of other plans produced as part of your project so that you have a comprehensive assessment that enables you to develop not only an overall vision but also some clear aims and objectives that can be translated into actions with identified timescales and resources.
Things to consider:
Green Flag Award
If your project involves work to a public park, cemetery or garden you are required to secure an individual Green Flag Award.
You must apply once your project is completed and retain Green Flag Award every year for a total of seven consecutive years.
As part of your analysis we expect you to carry out both a desk and field assessment of your site using the Green Flag Award criteria. You might find it useful to use these to structure your analysis section.
You should look at your other project plans and surveys to what evidence they provide to assist you in your assessment. For example the work included in your activity plan will make a significant contribution to the ‘marketing’ and ‘community involvement’ criteria of the Green Flag Award whilst information included in your conservation plan will be helpful in considering the ‘conservation and heritage’ criteria.
An experienced Green Flag Award judge may be able to run a workshop to involve key staff and stakeholders so that everyone is involved in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the site.
Proposed management and maintenance
Consider the overall aims that you have defined for your project. Assess how your management and maintenance procedures, processes and resources may have to change to sustain the capital works and activities proposed.
In order to provide a direct comparison with the information provided under Current management and maintenance above please provide:
- an organogram (‘family tree’) of the proposed management organisation. Highlight key service areas that have responsibility for the site or who play a part in its management and delivery including all staff posts directly or indirectly employed
- an organogram showing how all the other departments and external organisations (stakeholders) will be involved in managing and maintaining the site in future
- a description of the proposed management and maintenance operations, how they will be procured and delivered, their frequency or performance targets. This may be presented either as text or a table of periodic operations.
- a description of how you will respond to any future issues such as graffiti, vandalism, litter, complaints or security concerns setting out clear targets for responses to be delivered
Show that you have thought through how the site needs to be cared for after completion of the capital works. Explain the need for any increased management and maintenance costs that you have allocated to the project/or why you believe there is no need for additional costs.
Activity plan and digital technology
Look at how your future management and maintenance plan will continue to support the proposals identified in your activity plan. There may be new facilities that need to be looked after such as:
- education spaces
- electronic displays and interactive devices
Your plan should indicate what training you will provide to make sure that your staff and volunteers have the skills to maintain and manage your heritage after the project has finished, and when and how you will provide this training.
We require any digital product you have created to continue to function as intended and be kept up-to-date for five years from project completion. In addition, the core digital files will need to be kept securely and in such a way that you can give access to them on request for as long as your terms of grant last.
Find out more in our Digital technology in heritage projects guidance.
An assessment of your current environmental policy, procedures and operations will help you to understand how you can minimise your negative impacts on the environment.
See the Green Flag Award guidance above to help you develop a baseline position and action plan.
The field assessment criteria are:
• environmental sustainability – energy & natural resource conservation and pollution
• peat use
• waste reduction.
You may wish to consider the potential to enhance habitats on site or to target particular species.
You may also wish to undertake an assessment of the likely impacts of our changing climate, to review what mitigation or adaptation works you may need to consider.
If your project has a single commercial income stream, say from an on-site café, we would expect you to explain:
- How you intend to run the business in the future, how it is procured, the basis for the agreement, what is its duration, any particular conditions and the responsibilities of each party
- Your income and expenditure projections for five years post completion of the project, clearly identifying any profit which we would expect to be re-invested in the site
As part of your overall analysis you will need to consider:
- the nature and variety of risks to the heritage of the site after completion of the project
- your proposals to manage the risks
You will be asked for this as part of your delivery phase application.
4. Action Plan ("how we will get there")
This section of the plan captures all that you need to do and when. It is usually represented in a table.
Actions should flow from your objectives.
Your action plan should be clear about:
- Who needs to lead on the action?
- Who needs to support them?
- When it needs to happen?
- What aim or objective the action relates to?
- What resources are needed? (if there is a requirement for funding from the project, please explain where this appears in the project costs)
Income and expenditure table
We expect you to set out an income and expenditure table that covers five years post completion of the practical works. On completion of the practical works we will expect you to update this.
- all of the financial implications of your current and proposed management and maintenance
- management and maintenance implications arising from any other capital works and activities
- a summary of any income and expenditure from any commercial activity
- all items of expenditure
- look at whole life costs and costs of complex facilities such as water play areas, water bodies or complex planting schemes
- allow for work that will be done by volunteers and any in kind contributions
You are strongly encouraged to think of innovative ways of raising income to support your future costs such as grants, local authority funding, tenancies, leases, wayleaves, concessions, rentals, cafes, shops, weddings, parking, entrance charges, filming, events and sponsorship.
Monitoring and evaluation and plan review
Explain how the plan itself will be reviewed and updated.
Once you are in the delivery stage of the project it is important to review the plan at least annually to reflect new information, new research and design changes - and to enable people to understand what has been achieved.
You should also revisit your Green Flag Award assessment to check you are on track.
5. Tips for successful planning
Do it for the right reasons
Planning can be a positive management tool.
Get specialist help
You and your team might need help to prepare the management and maintenance plan or to train staff to implement it. If you need specialist help to prepare your plan, make sure you identify the cost as part of your project development work.
Use the process to bring together the people who will be essential to the success of your project or management strategy. Make sure the document includes a wide range of views. Delays and extra costs can arise if the right people are not involved.
Also, give copies of the completed plan to anyone who is involved in looking after your site including volunteers, staff and contractors.
Make sure that the plan you prepare or commission helps you care for the asset.
Be prepared manage the planning process from the first discussion of the idea through to the commissioning process, to make sure that people use the plan in the long term.
Use the plan to mediate between different ideas about heritage and its conservation. For example, built heritage specialists and ecologists might have diverse aspirations about how to look after your site.
Use the plan to organise information. A plan can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to care for a complicated heritage asset. Keep a secure management and maintenance file for your site and regularly update it. Keep copies of surveys and other information in the file, as well as a copy of your management and maintenance plan in it. You may also want to have a have an up-to-date working copy.
Adopt it and use it
We will expect you to adopt the plan formally, as part of your organisation’s management policies. We will expect to see the plan clearly labelled as adopted with the names of those responsible for its adoption on behalf of your organisation and the date when the plan was adopted.
Make sure that everyone who needs to use the plan has a copy of it. Keep a master copy in a secure archive as we may ask to see it in future. The plan must be made available on your website so that other people can learn from it.