Community Self-Help Scheme

Empowering town and parish councils to deliver minor highways works in their communities.

What is Community Self-Help?

The newly developed scheme, launched by Suffolk Highways in May 2019, aims to empower and support town and parish councils across Suffolk to carry out small local maintenance tasks in their communities.

Why are we offering it?

The Suffolk scheme has been developed in partnership with town and parish councils across the county in response to their demand to be allowed to do more to improve the look and feel of their local communities by undertaking minor projects over and above what Suffolk Highways is able to deliver.

The limitations on local authority budgets means that Suffolk County Council prioritises its funding and its focus on maintaining a safe network for all users. As a result, we are not able to undertake the extra works which town and parish councils would like to see being done to maintain and improve the look of their areas.

Our aim is to be clear about what Suffolk Highways can and cannot provide as a service and to enable communities to make informed decisions about whether they would like to take up options for self-help.

What sort of work does it cover?

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

  • Sign cleaning
  • Fingerpost cleaning/painting/repair
  • Tree pruning/branch removal
  • Hedge cutting/pruning
  • Siding out of footways, or paths (removing encroaching grass and weeds)
  • Grass verge cutting
  • Weed killing/weed removal
  • Developing verge reserves

How would a town or parish go about delivering these works?

The four main options for self-delivery are listed below. All projects will need the consent of Suffolk County Council before you can start work.

Buying in services from contractors

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 line with the requirements of working in the highway. 

Download the parish/town council highway contractor consent form (Word, 105KB).

Using your own trained employee(s)

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

Download information for highway rangers (Word, 110KB).

Using volunteers to undertake work

This option enables town and parish councils to use community volunteers to undertake work on the highway. Town and parish councils will be responsible for ensuring that there is someone suitably trained to oversee the work of the volunteers and ensure that work is undertaken in line with the requirements of working in the highway. Suffolk County Council will provide training for the lead volunteer and consent for town and parish councils to undertake this work.

Download information for community volunteers working in the highway (Word, 111KB).

Buying additional services from Suffolk Highways

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

Download information for engaging Suffolk Highways (Word, 92KB).

How do I get involved?

Now that you know about the options available to you, all you need to do is follow this step-by-step guide: 

  1. As a town or parish council, consider the work you would like to carry out in your community, including the type of work, location and preferred dates (please note: depending on the type of activity you are hoping to carry out and the location this may have an impact on the length of time it takes to plan the activity).

  2. Email communityselfhelp@suffolkhighways.org with the name of your town/parish, a description of  the activity you would like to carry out and where, and which of the four options you wish to use - we will then assess your request.

  3. We will aim to acknowledge your email request within 2 working days of receipt, this may be with a proposed way forward, or to request more information.

  4. We will then work with you to ensure sign off and plan the activity appropriately including whether training or equipment is required and/or if road space needs to be booked etc.