The Royal Parks
The Royal Parks Limited is a charity which manages eight royal parks and certain other areas of parkland in London.
The Royal Parks charity was created as a company limited by guarantee in March 2017 and officially launched in July 2017. Its chief executive is Andrew Scattergood.
The charity took over the main responsibilities of management from the Royal Parks Agency – a former executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – and from the Royal Parks Foundation, which is a separate charity.
The charity's primary focus is to support and manage 5,000 acres of Crown-owned parkland across London. These are: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Richmond Park, Bushy Park, St James's Park, The Green Park, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, and Greenwich Park.
The charity runs programmes of activities and events to encourage outdoor recreation and public access to these areas. It also allows third parties to run such activities within the grounds to further these objectives, but commercial activity is tightly controlled.
The Royal Parks charity also regulates filming, audio recording and the taking of photographs in these areas for anything other than personal use through the issuing of licences. It also issues news permits to the media for the specific purpose of covering breaking news items relating to the parks. Holders of the licences and permits are required to comply with the following pieces of legislation:
- The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997
- Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces (Amendment) Regulations 2004
As well as the eight royal parks in its care, the charity also manages Brompton Cemetery, Victoria Tower Gardens, Poet's Corner and Canning Green. It also tends to the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.
The parks are owned by the Crown with their responsibility resting with the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The Royal Parks charity manages the parks on behalf of the government.
The Royal Parks' charitable objects set out the main purpose of the charity and what it aims to achieve. They are:
- To protect, conserve, maintain and care for the royal parks, including their natural and designed landscapes and built environment, to a high standard consistent with their historic, horticultural, environmental and architectural importance;
- To promote the use and enjoyment of the royal parks for public recreation, health and well-being including through the provision of sporting and cultural activities and events which effectively advance the objects;
- To maintain and develop the biodiversity of the royal parks, including the protection of their wildlife and natural environment, together with promoting sustainability in the management and use of the royal parks;
- To support the advancement of education by promoting public understanding of the history, culture, heritage and natural environment of the royal parks and (by way of comparison) elsewhere; and
- To promote national heritage including by hosting and facilitating ceremonies of state or of national importance within and in the vicinity of the royal parks.
The Royal Parks board
The Royal Parks charity is led by a board of trustees, which decides how the charity is run, how it spends its money and ensures what it does is for the benefit of the parks and their visitors. The trustees are led by a chairman, and are appointed for their skills and experience. Alongside some ex-officio roles, others are appointed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Greater London Authority (GLA). They are non-executive and unpaid.
The members of The Royal Parks charity's board are: Loyd Grossman CBE (Chairman), Councillor Nickie Aiken, Ruth Anderson, Heather Blackman, Lt Col Michael Vernon, Bronwyn Hill CBE, Wesley Kerr OBE, Jeff Jacobs, Councillor Georgia Gould, Richard Hamilton and Councillor Danny Thorpe.
The Royal Parks senior management team
The senior management team oversees the day-to-day running of the Royal Parks charity. Led by a chief executive, the team recommend the charity's policy and strategy to the board of trustees, as well as managing an expert and committed workforce of staff and volunteers dedicated to offering free open space in London. Its members (as of November 2020) were:
- Andrew Scattergood – Chief Executive
- Liz Mullins – Director of Commercial
- Clare Wadd – Director of Resources
- Ali Jeremy - Director of Communications and Engagement
- Darren Woodward – Director of Estates and Projects
- Tom Jarvis – Director of Parks
Discrimination/pay dispute over outsourced park attendants
Since 2014, Vinci Facilities has been contracted to maintain the Royal Parks, employing as cleaners/attendants mainly African migrants. Vinci had originally tendered separate bids costed for minimum wage staff and Living Wage staff – and its minimum wage bid was accepted, meaning that the approximately 50 cleaners/attendants were earning £8.21 an hour by 2019. Then, with several joining UVW union in pursuit of the London Living Wage (£10.75) and going on strike in October 2019 with further strikes planned, the Royal Parks board agreed to fulfil their wage demands in December 2019, backdated to November 1st.
However, during the tendering process, Vinci and Royal Parks had also determined purely statutory entitlements in respect of overtime, on-call allowance, sick pay, annual leave, pensions, redundancy pay and maternity pay – and these inequalities with Royal Parks employees persisted. The two employers had allegedly repeatedly reviewed the general terms of Vinci's staff between 2014 and 2019, and Royal Parks had never opted to improve any part of their contracts.
It was announced in April 2020 that the barrister Changez Khan and 15 claimants would bring a racial discrimination "landmark test case" against the Royal Parks charity. Khan claims that "the difference in pay until December last year and ongoing difference in other conditions have a 'disparate impact' on black and ethnic minority workers, as they are more likely to be outsourced agency workers."
- "THE ROYAL PARKS LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk.
- Written answer to the House of Commons from the Head of the Royal Parks Service, 7 February 2002. Retrieved 4 May 2020
- "The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- "Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces (Amendment) Regulations 2004". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- Southworth, Phoebe (23 April 2020). "Royal Parks embroiled in £750,000 race discrimination legal battle". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 30 July 2020.