Community Self-Help Scheme

Empowering town and parish councils to deliver minor maintenance works within their communities.

Give Way signGive Way sign cleanJunction signJunction sign clean

Signs cleaned and vegetation cleared by Sudbury Town Council's Community Wardens.

Launched by Suffolk Highways in May 2019, the newly developed scheme aims to empower and support town and parish councils that wish to carry out minor highway maintenance within their communities.

Community Self-Help has been developed in partnership with town and parish councils across the county in response to their demands to be allowed to do more to improve the look and feel of their communities by undertaking minor maintenance activities that Suffolk Highways are no longer able to deliver.

The limitations on local authority budgets means that Suffolk County Council must prioritise its funding and focus on maintaining a safe network for all users. As a results, we are not able to carry out the extra work which town and parish councils would like in order to maintain and improve the aesthetic value of their areas.

Our aim is to be clear about the services which Suffolk Highways can and cannot provide and to enable communities to make informed decisions regarding whether they would like to get involved in Community Self-Help.

The range of works that town and parish councils will be able to undertake via Suffolk’s Community Self-Help Scheme include:

  • Grass cutting
  • Tree pruning
  • Weed clearance
  • Siding out of footpaths
  • Cleaning around gullies
  • Sign cleaning
  • Painting street furniture

Our four Community Self-Help options are listed below.

All applications require the approval of Suffolk County Council before any work can take place.

Buying in services from a private contractor

This option enables town and parish councils to buy in services from a private contractor. Town and parish councils will be responsible for employing the contractor and ensuring that work is undertaken in accordance with the legal requirements of working on the highway.

Please download our Parish/Town Council Highway Contractor Consent Form (Word, 102KB).

Using your own trained employees

This option enables town and parish councils to utilise existing or new employees to undertake work on the highway. Town and parish councils will be responsible for employing and managing any individuals and ensuring that work is undertaken in accordance with the legal requirements of working on the highway. Employees will need the relevant training and qualifications for the work they plan to undertake.

Please download our Highway Rangers form (Word, 113KB).

Using community volunteers

This option enables town and parish councils to utilise community volunteers to undertake work on the highway. Town and parish councils will be responsible for ensuring there is somebody suitable trained and qualified to supervise volunteers and ensure that work is undertaken in accordance with the legal requirements of working on the highway. Suffolk County Council will provide the relevant training for ‘lead’ volunteers.

Please download our For Community Volunteers Working in the Highway form (Word, 111KB).

Buying in additional services from Suffolk Highways

This option enables town and parish councils to buy in additional services from Suffolk Highways directly.

Please download our For Engaging Suffolk Highways form (Word, 92KB).

Now that you understand the Community Self-Help options available to you, all you need to do is follow these next steps:

  1. As a town or parish council, consider the types of work you’d like to carry out and whether you wish to utilize either a private contractor, your own trained employees, community volunteers or Suffolk Highways operatives.
  2. Submit the relevant application form to communityselfhelp@suffolkhighways.org along with any helpful supplementary documentation such as location plans, certification of contractor/employee competence (e.g. NRSWA qualifications) etc.

We will aim to acknowledge any email requests/submissions within 2 working days of receipt. This may be with a proposed ‘way forward’, or to request further information. Once you’ve expressed an interest in getting involved with Community Self-Help, we will happily work with you to ensure your application is signed off and plan your chosen maintenance activities appropriately. This will include making decisions regarding volunteer training, the provision of PPE and equipment.

When carrying out work on the highway (i.e. roads, footways, verges) and traffic management is required, at least one volunteer/operative onsite must be trained in signing, lighting and guarding and hold a current Street Works Qualifications Register (SWQR) card. This card certifies that the holder can competently install traffic management (e.g. signs, cones and barriers) in line with both Safety at Street Works and Road Works: A Code of Practice (PDF, 5.4MB), otherwise known as The Red Book, and the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA).

Should you wish to put volunteers forward for signing, lighting and guarding training (Suffolk County Council currently offer a day course, free of charge) please send a request to communityselfhelp@suffolkhighways.org and we will update you as soon as a session becomes available.

There is no limit to the number of spaces you can request, however please remember that volunteers qualified in signing, lighting and guarding must be present onsite at all times when traffic management systems are in place, as they are responsible for installing, maintaining and removing equipment such as signage, cones and barriers safely.

As part of managing the health and safety of both your own workers and members of the public, you must control the risks involved with your chosen minor highway maintenance activities. To do this, you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable preventive action. This is known as risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out.

A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather identifying sensible control measures.

When thinking about your risk assessment, remember:

  • A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working at height etc.
  • The risk is the chance of harm, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website has:

As part of Community Self-Help, we currently offer the following items of PPE, free of charge, to all community volunteers:

  • Standard peak helmets
  • Clear lens safety spectacles
  • Orange latex palm coated gloves
  • Orange high visibility breathable waterproof jackets
  • Orange high visibility long sleeve waistcoats
  • Yellow high visibility combat trousers

Should you require any of the above items, please send a request to communityselfhelp@suffolkhighways.org.

Town and parish councils can now issue notices directly to property owners/occupiers whose vegetation is overgrown and encroaching on the highway by following the step-by-step guidance below: