As of 7 November 2022, our existing Direct Services Team took over from contractors idVerde in East Sussex, covering homes up to, and including, Brighton and Hove allowing our Grounds Maintenance Service to come in-house.
The team also aim to extend their service to include West Sussex (currently provided by Groundscapes) in the coming year.
What does this mean for you?
Protecting service charges
This change means protecting service charges for you – we expect to save just under £500,000 over the next five years.
Many of you will be familiar with our current Direct Services Team – much of their work already crosses over with contractors, including:
- Void Property Clearances
- Bulk Waste / Fly-tipping Disposal
- Jet Washing & Graffiti Removal
- Sharps Collection
- Garden Clearances
- Neighbourhood LEAF Projects
- Minor Tree Works
- Weed Control & Hardstanding Maintenance
- Winter Works.
In East Sussex, the team already has a 100 per cent satisfaction score from residents.
This shows Optivo staff have the passion, drive and focus to provide the very best service for you. Resident satisfaction and pride in our estates comes naturally to us – it’s ingrained in our ethos and culture.
We know West Sussex has seen a number of contractors over the past few years, which can be unsettling. Our in-house team will provide a consistent service across the region.
Our offices are based in Hastings and we’ll be re-locating our Ford office, ensuring the region is well covered.
Working with you to ensure continued quality
We’ll work with you to ensure we’re doing what we say we will. Expect to see better communication, and increased flexibility further down the line. We’ll be able to resolve issues far quicker than a contractor.
Our Direct Services Management Team already works closely with Resident Involvement to ensure we’re continually improving, providing the service you want and need. There’ll be many more opportunities for you to have your say in the coming year.
We’ll also work to build more relationships within the local community, with agencies, businesses and local suppliers to ensure further sustainability, efficiencies and savings.
We'll be updating our website regularly, so watch this space!
We've been delighted to hear great feedback regarding the quality of our team's work:
"I really wanted to reach out specifically about a younger guy who was doing some of the work. His workmanship and attention to detail was unreal! I really hope he keeps up the good work/energy."
This change affects residents with communal grounds surrounding their home.
The chemicals we use are compliant with all relevant laws, and the operatives are licensed to complete the work. The chemicals are designed to wilt or supress the growth of weeds only, and are not harmful to wildlife or pets.
We’ve a short, medium and long term plan to get all our estates up to a quality score of at least 3.5 (with 4 being perfect). Over the next year, we’ll be able to see the current challenges of each area and understand how we can improve things. After 24 months, we hope each estate will be scoring at least a 3, then a 3.5 after 36 to 48 months. We’ll then ensure they never fall below this level. And, who knows, we could even hit that perfect 4.
If you live in East Sussex (up to, and including, Brighton and Hove), Direct Services will be taking over from current contractor idVerde on November 7. If you live in West Sussex, we’re looking to take over from Groundscapes after their contract finishes on March 31, 2023.
There may be two reasons for this. Firstly, this may have been put on a reduction programme to be completed within the winter season. Secondly, by law, if birds are nesting within the hedge (typically between March – October) we're unable to complete any hard pruning and will only complete light maintenance within the beds, or if the hedge is causing a health and safety risk.
Leaves are only removed from the paths to prevent slip and trip hazards. However, they'll be left to naturally compost on all other areas.
We took the decision to 'cut and drop' to ensure we're contributing towards reducing land waste and allowing our operatives to be on site a greater percentage of time. It also keeps us in line with neighbouring authority-owned land. Where safe to do so, we'll provide a mulching service. You will see this after the third or fourth cut of the year. This will also provide a natural fertiliser for the ground.
Please be aware of a slight delay in grass being cut on some of our estates in Sussex. This is due to heavy rain fall at the start of the grass cutting season (March/April through until September/October*).
We're working hard to get to all estates as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
We’ve taken the decision to move to a cut and drop service, meaning the grass is left to mulch onsite to provide a natural fertiliser. This decision will help us to reduce waste and allow our operatives more time to spend onsite carrying out the work. It also allows us to cut the cost of disposing grass cuttings meaning service charges are kept as low as possible.
Raised areas and banks will be given a courtesy cut of approximately one metre. The remaining areas will be left to flourish as wildflower areas in line with our approach to green spaces and sustainability. New signage will be put up in these areas shortly.
*Grass isn’t cut during winter months