Working in Partnership with GiGL

This guide, available in summary below or to download in full, sets out many of the drivers behind being a GiGL partner, the work that we do, and the datasets and services we provide.

1. The drivers behind being a GiGL partner
2. The benefits of being a GiGL partner
3. Funding GiGL – what your SLA covers
4. Getting the most out of your service level agreement
5. Products & Services for Partners

Further Reading

GiGL SLA Costs

GiGL partners sign up to one of our service level agreements, the cost of which depends on the organisation.

This policy provides an overview of the different service level agreements on offer to partners, the costs, and some examples of how to utilise the time allocation.

GiGL Charging Policy

This policy sets out the charging system for GiGL partners and customers.  Please contact  a member of staff for our current charges for this financial year.

1. The drivers behind being a GiGL partner

Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL), the capital’s environmental records centre, assists its partners and customers in understanding and auditing London’s natural environment. We provide access to services run by highly skilled staff that utilise relevant data management, mapping and analysis software to provide you with answers to your requirements.

GiGL is a not-for-profit, working in partnership with others. The areas of work that our datasets and services inform include:

  1. Climate change adaptation
  2. Land management
  3. Community awareness
  4. Local / regional biodiversity action plans
  5. Formal education
  6. Planning policy and development control
  7. Green infrastructure
  8. Strategic planning
  9. Reporting and control of invasive species
  10. Transport network maintenance

Legislation and recommendations

Various policies and Acts of Parliament now require public bodies to have regard for biodiversity in all aspects of their work. One such piece of legislation is the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. Ongoing membership of GiGL is a simple way to demonstrate your regard for biodiversity and ensure you have access to an up to date evidence base on London’s biodiversity and open spaces, as advocated recently in the Lawton Review 2010.

Data requirements and suggested solutions are discussed in the following documents. (documents will open as PDF downloads)

CABE Space

Open Space Strategies
Urban Green Nation
Green Information Gap

ALGE

Biodiversity Needs Data

LBP

Duty Bound – Biodiversity conservation in London boroughs – expanding the agenda.

Your area, in context

The data GiGL make available to you cover your geographic remit, plus a buffer zone. This buffer ensures sites of interest and relevant information from areas near your boundaries are also included.

Many of the monitoring products and statistical analyses that we undertake for partners involve setting your organisation into the regional context, so you will benefit from data improvements elsewhere in London and further afield.

Many of our partners are responsible for managing or overseeing the management of sites. GiGL data can be used to support the designation of new sites or change the designation of existing sites.

GiGL manages and provides you with all the open space, habitat and species information available for your sites, including data from London’s species experts, members of the public and other GiGL partners.

To ensure your area is well represented at a London and UK-wide level, it’s also important that you keep us informed of any changes in your area. This could include telling us about the creation of new facilities or habitats on your sites, or about the loss of sites to development. The more up to date the data, the better the local, regional and national reporting for your area.

Information sharing

Provision of your data to other GiGL partners and customers is an important part of our service for you and your customers.

  • You can pass requests under the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations on to the GiGL team to deal with on your behalf.
  • Less formal enquiries, including those from members of the public, consultants, students and other GiGL partners, can also be passed on to us, saving you time.
  • Enquiries made direct to GiGL will also contain your data alongside data from hundreds of other sources, giving the end user the most complete and best available information for their area of interest. This also makes sure that your interests are represented in London-wide research, reporting and in some instances, funding provision.

2. The benefits of being a GiGL partner

When you access data via GiGL you benefit from the survey work of a huge network of London’s biodiversity and open space experts.

GiGL is a not-for-profit, working in partnership with others. The cost of running our services is shared between our users, making us by far the most cost-effective and reliable means of making evidence-based decisions.

Our services and data are not available to any organisation outside of a current service level agreement or data exchange agreement.

GiGL also has a role as the local delivery partner of the National Biodiversity Network.

The GiGL team work closely with environmental records centres and other relevant organisations throughout the UK to develop new standards and services.

Eventually, all London’s biological records, from all sources* contributed to the NBN Gateway by national species experts will be accessed via GiGL. This includes GiGL data and the data we are custodian of for our partners, where permission to supply to the NBN is given by the data owners.

3. Funding GiGL – what your SLA covers

Your service level agreements gives you access to the expertise of the entire GiGL team, the Board and Advisory Panel members, and individual partners for the entire financial year. You also have access to the most up to date environmental data resource for Greater London, with many of the datasets supplied to partners being updated on an ongoing basis.

The same outlay would enable you to employ a single member of staff for approximately 2 weeks per year* to cover similar services.

GiGL’s recent work breaks down into the following key areas (with percentage time spent by staff and key volunteers):

  • Professional data acquisition and integration (29%)
    • Data entry using national standards such as Recorder 6 and the National Biodiversity Network’s species dictionary
    • Ensuring GiGL employs UK standards for data management and access, through engaging with the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC) and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN)
  • Management and strategic work (21%)
    • Relationship building, particularly with expert voluntary recording groups, new funding partners and customers
    • Representation on National Federation for Biological Recording Council
    • Representation on ALERC Accreditation Steering Group
    • Representation on NBN Strategy Implementation Group
    • Regular meetings of our Advisory Panel, Board and consultation with other key fora to ensure the GiGL team are aware of any relevant local, regional and national initiatives, and to ensure best practice.
  • Data supply (21%)
    • Provision of standard and bespoke datasets and associated services to all partners
  • Additional work (17%)
    • Participation in local and regional BAP partnerships
    • Improving systems and consequently efficiency
  • Work for species recorders (including data entry) (9%)
  • Site selection, reporting and data management (3%)

* Based on salary figures from the Local Government Association Survey in 2008/09 plus additional employment costs.

4. Getting the most out of your Service Level Agreement

It is important to emphasise that this is a collaborative partnership arrangement rather than a client/contractor relationship. As a GiGL partner, your input are important to GiGL’s continuing success.

To get best value from working in partnership:

5. Products & Services for Partners

GiGL partners have access for the financial year to all of GiGL’s data holdings.

Data-based services for partners

  • Metadatabase – a digital catalogue of biodiversity survey information for London.
  • Data validation and verification – checking completeness and accuracy of records.
  • Bespoke maps showing species distribution, habitats, open space etc.
  • Statistics to support annual monitoring requirements (currently COI8 and NI197).
  • Data audit / gap analysis to help you target your available resources for new surveys.
  • Site-based data search report.
  • Linking biodiversity and open space data to socio-economic data to demonstrate public benefits (health, recreation, well-being etc.).

Additional services for partners

  • Training on how to submit data to GiGL for your colleagues and volunteers.
  • Training on how to make the most of GiGL’s data services.
  • Presentations to engage your colleagues, local volunteer groups and other contacts in improving your data holdings and use of GiGL services.
  • Survey forms – development and hosting of bespoke web-based public surveys, and analysis of the results.
  • Project development advice and guidance.
  • Secure back-up of partners’ original electronic files and collated database.
  • Contract annexes setting out how consultants should supply the results of commissioned surveys.
  • Analysis of GiGL datasets against broader environmental datasets including heat island effect, air pollution, and noise.
  • Supporting information for open space strategies
  • Supporting information for open space awards, e.g. Green Flag
  • iGiGL – web-based data access tool incorporating former WildWeb, park portal and All London Green Grid functionality – providing public access to open space and environmental infrastructure data with extra GiGL datasets visible for registered partners