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					Natural England’s proposal for the hosting of the Cotswold Way
National Trail team

Cotswold Way National Trail

A proposal for hosting of a future Trail management team by the Cotswold
Conservation Board

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the proposal to establish a Cotswold Way
National Trail Team to take forward the development, promotion and
maintenance of the Cotswold Way National Trail from 1st April 2008 - hosted by
the Cotswold Conservation Board.

Background

National Trails
National Trails represent flagship recreational routes, which enable the public to
access the finest landscapes that the nation has to offer. There are fifteen
National Trails in England and Wales, (one of which is currently being
developed). National Trails are largely funded by Natural England and managed
by local authorities and others. Natural England ‘inherited’ National Trails on
vesting, 1st October 2006 and has indicated that it will be undertaking a review of
National Trails, including stakeholder involvement, by the summer of 2008. The
expectation is to implement resulting proposals for the future direction of National
Trails from April 2009.

Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way was designated by the Secretary of State for the Environment
as a National Trail in 1998 and work began to establish the route to published
quality standards in 1999. The 102-mile Trail was officially launched on May 24th
2007.

Cotswold Way National Trail Team
The current implementation team (comprising development officer, legal
alignment officer, works coordinator and administrative assistant) is hosted by
Gloucestershire County Council and has been funded by Natural England (and
formerly the Countryside Agency) to create the Trail. This team’s contracts are
due to expire at 31st March 2008 at which point, the team is due to be replaced
by a smaller ‘management’ team comprising National Trail officer (NTO),
assistant (project) officer and part time administrative support. The purpose of this
new team will be to take forward the development, promotion and ongoing
maintenance of the completed Trail together with associated project work.

The Conservation Board’s executive committee have agreed ‘in principle’ to
hosting this team subject to suitable undertakings regarding the level of funding
and the underwriting of liability for redundancy costs should Natural England
subsequently end the agreement.

Natural England would now like to invite the Conservation Board to formally
consider such an arrangement and enter into an agreement to host the future
team. In essence this would build upon the current partnership working that
exists and develop further the synergy between the Board’s remit for landscape,
conservation and recreation and Natural England’s Objectives. It is also hoped
that the Conservation Board would take an active role in the subsequent review of
National Trails and the future direction for their management.

Hosting proposal

An outline structure for the proposed management team has been previously
drawn up in conjunction with the current Cotswold way Management Group, (with
Conservation Board representation) and has been agreed by all parties. A copy is
included under separate cover. Based upon this and discussions with the
Conservation Board held earlier this year a summary of the proposal is given
below:

Item          Proposal                           Comments
Location        The Team would be based          It would be expected that
                 from the Conservation Board       some distance working will
                 offices at Northleach.            be appropriate / necessary
                Depot facilities to be            requiring access to laptop
                 provided.                         computer(s) and associated
                                                   systems.
Team            Structure as per agreed          Subject to MOA, necessary
structure        proposals i.e. NTO,               job descriptions, role
                 Assistant and part time           evaluation etc
                 administrative assistant          NB: Early consideration
                 (although the latter could        needs to be given to
                 take form of admin fee for        whether TUPE applies to
                 agreed level of service from      the existing Team
                 Conservation Board).
                NTO line managed by              Conservation Board would
                 Conservation Board Director       have a board member
                 and work directed by Natural      sitting on the revised
                 England, steered by revised       management group.
                 management group.                 Though National Trail
                Team Projects officer and         would become part of ‘core’
                 administrative assistant (if      function the Team would sit
                 employed) to be line              ‘independently’ within
                 managed by the NTO.               organisation e.g. separate
                A business plan will be           letterheads, although
                                                   AONB e-mail address.
                 drawn up, and agreed by the
                 Management Group, that
                 will set out the work
                 programme for the Trail and
                 hence for the team.


Support         The Conservation board
services         would take responsibility for
                 the officers’ payroll
                 administration, health and
                 safety, welfare and stress
                 management, grievance and
                 appeal procedures, trades
                 union representation, and
                 disciplinary procedures.
                Professional HR support
                 would be available and
                 annual appraisal system
                 operated.
                Training and further
                 education/development will
                 be agreed between the
                 officers, the Conservation
                 Board and Natural England,
                 and will be funded by
                 Natural England (except for
                 internal training and
                 development).
                Office equipment and
                                                    This will need to include
                 support will be provided by
                                                     laptop computer(s), mobile
                 the Conservation Board
                                                     phones, access to colour
                 funded by Natural England.
                                                     printing etc
                GIS facilities would be
                 provided.
                Transport - Conservation         The existing Team currently
                 Board owns 4wd / trailer          ‘owns’ land rover / trailer.
                 which could be shared.
Resource        Presumption of continued         Natural England currently
implications     NE funding at present levels      funds the Cotswold Way
                Permanent contracts, with         team and associated costs
                 NE responsible for                at 100%.
                 redundancy where NE ends         review of National Trails to
                 the agreement or reduces          commence shortly.
                 funding level.
                Pay structure based upon
                 LA (district council) bands
                Pension provision through
                 LGPS
Resources

The estimated cost of employing the new team (including on costs) is in the
region of £92K per annum. Annual maintenance for the Trail and project funding
will be in addition to this.




Neil Constable

Senior Specialist - Access & National Trails
SW Regional Advocacy & Partnerships Team
Natural England

November 2007

				
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Description: Cotswold Way National Trail