Innovation and better management of your parks is achieved through the sharing of knowledge and information. Park managers developed Yardstick for the industry as a benchmarking tool to collect, share and compare vital information to measure current performance and drive future improvements.

Yardstick provides tools to collect and compare both management and user information.

  • The Benchmarks project reports on a wide range of information to identify asset provision, costs, service delivery, strategic planning and asset management best practice.
  • The Survey project identifies what is important to your user and how well you are meeting their expectations – it effectively measures the levels of service you are delivering, and identifies your service level gaps.


  • Identify, plan and improve your strategic goals and direction
  • Record your operation costs against a variety of criteria
  • Undertake financial performance reviews and cost estimating
  • Cost/benefit analysis with accurate and up to date information
  • Lobby for additional resources.
  • Drive asset management implementation and improvements
  • Evaluate your systems and performance
  • Develop parks strategies and levels of service
  • Inform service delivery reviews
  • Compare locally, nationally and internationally
  • Prioritise areas for improvement
  • Thoroughly understand your business, and the strengths and weaknesses of your operation.


  • Identify your park users community profile
  • Defines and reviews your levels of service based on accurate and reliable user research
  • Reliably reports on service performance based on industry benchmarks
  • Prioritise improvements and development programmes
  • Three research options in one project to capture the views of your park visitors:
    1. Intercept survey of park users
    2. Online self completion survey
    3. Door to door survey
  • Record user expectations and satisfaction to measure the gaps in levels of service.
  • Include your own specific questions to address specific issues
  • A network of organisations and professionals learning and improving from shared informations and common experience.

How it works


User Surveys

Key Benefits

  • moneybag

    Influences budgets

  • piechart

    Assists in prioritising allocation of financial resources

  • check

    Provides factual information that drives asset management and sustainable financial planning

  • activity

    Helps set, monitor, and manage performance measures

  • approve

    Is an unbiased, Independent assessment

  • users

    Assists in justifying additional resources

  • search

    Provides a research base for information on parks and open space provision, cost and management

  • chats

    Enables interaction with users and helps to identify expectations and satisfaction levels

  • “The City of Moreland has found Yardstick a game changer, in benchmarking our Parks service provision against similar local government authorities in Melbourne. We’ve been able to pinpoint areas where we can focus our improvement efforts on, even with operating budget constraints imposed on us. The excitement is palpable with our staff every year, as we await the release of the report”

    — Mark Corea, Moreland City Council, Australia

  • “Yardstick has proven year on year to be the most valuable benchmarking tool specifically for Public Open Space management. Yardstick provides the data succinctly that informs our decision making to improve our business and has been particularly useful for Elected Member briefings seeking additional resourcing.”

    — Dion Johnson, City of Canning, Australia

  • “A benefit of joining Yardstick has been meeting and collaborating with the best people in the parks business — the project managers have been an invaluable resource in supporting & implementing asset management strategies in our organization.”

    — Todd Reichardt, City of Calgary, Canada

  • “The Yardstick reports have been useful to answer any specific parks related questions arising from Audit NZ’s annual review, and satisfy all their requirements.”

    — Garry Page, Opotiki District Council, New Zealand

  • “We often hear from people with particular issues in our parks, but rarely the average park user. The Yardstick Parks User Survey allows us to reliably get a wide range of views on park performance from actual users of our parks.”

    — Aaron Phillips, Palmerston North City Council, New Zealand

  • “Yardstick data analysis and reporting has proven to be an invaluable resource for technical needs assessments and comparator analysis associated with our 10 Year Strategic Planning process, and the fingertip reporting allows Parks staff to respond more quickly and effectively to day-to-day benchmarking enquiries.”

    — Tim Neufeld, City of Surrey, Canada

  • “Benchmarking is integral to the performance measurement and management of services. By comparing services through the Yardstick program we have been able to make informed decisions on future performance targets and drive improvements by identifying gaps between current performance and best practice services or functions.”

    — Glenn Greetham, Glen Eira City Council, Australia

  • “Yardstick has proved to be a very valuable benchmarking tool for our parks management. Yardstick is also a valuable self-improvement tool, where we are seeking to improve our performance and cost effectiveness year on year.”

    — Mark Bowater, City of Auckland, New Zealand

  • “We find Yardstick very helpful as it uses many factors to measure and keep track of how we are performing each year. The reports can be used to quantify and support a business case for change in programs as required.”

    — Geordie Lascelles, Bundberg Regional Council, Australia

  • “Participating in the Yardstick program has assisted our organisation having quick access to all our open space asset information. Its allowed council to put forward business cases to seek additional funding. The program also allows council to benchmark against other organisations.”

    — Jason Hocking, Hobsons Bay City Council, Australia

On-line Tools

Benchmarks online questionnaire

  • Secure questionnaire available online for self completion
  • Add access for unlimited number of additional staff
  • Detailed guidelines defining how each question should be answered, available from pop-up window right in the survey
  • Display previous years answers and notes at the click of a button
  • On site review by Yardstick auditors to ensure accuracy of information provided and credibility in the reported results 
  • Information collected identifies: Planning, asset management and service delivery best practice; park land and asset provision; costs and revenue with matched information to provide calculation of performance metrics; sustainability practices and community engagement and programs
  • Country specific questions, updated annually based on member feedback.

Benchmarks online reporting

  • All results available online
  • Detailed menus to quickly find the information you need
  • Select your own peer group for more accurate comparison
  • Select a specific organisation you wish to benchmark with.

Individual performance report

  • Provides a simple and quick overview of key results and performance
  • Key results provided in summary graphs
  • Includes peer group selection
  • Management performance assessed and scored against industry best practice
  • Printable format to share with others.

Visitor survey reporting

  • Group and individual results
  • Identifies who are using your parks assets (and by extension who isn't)
  • Importance and satisfaction of individual park services
  • Overall park satisfaction
  • Benchmark with other organisations to provide relevance and industry reference point to provide meaningful performance assessment.
  • Results are now available as an on-line report

The Parks Yardstick programme is currently operating in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark and Finland