Appendix 5: Community Toilet Scheme Research


Brighton & Hove City Council previously participated in a Community Toilet Scheme (CTS) called ‘Use Our Loo’. It started in 2000 as the ‘You’re Welcome’ scheme and was designed to encourage businesses to open up their toilets to the public. They are asked to display a sticker and their details are displayed in tourist information, the city map and online.

As reported in 2012[1], uptake was limited, with 19 businesses involved. The concerns that businesses had in participating in the scheme related to:

·         Anti-social behaviour

·         Opening up their premises to ‘all and sundry’

·         Costs incurred such as water metering, cleaning and supplies

·         Insurance implications

Feedback was also that smaller businesses found it difficult to participate in the scheme due to:

·         Less likely to be accessible toilets

·         Lack of supervision of facilities

·         Location of toilets within small businesses can be inaccessible and present security issues

·         Less resources for cleaners

·         The rate at which these businesses were going under, there was no guarantee that they would still be there in 6 months

·         Impact on insurance.

At the time, no financial incentives were offered by the council to participate in the scheme.

Because of the relatively poor uptake owing to local business concerns above, the council decided to alter the nature of the CTS by not keeping participant’s facilities open to the general public. Instead, there were plans in 2012 to adapt the Use Our Loos Scheme for use from the general public to only those with specific medical needs. There were plans to issue ‘Can’t Wait Cards’ to those eligible. Since this time, the limited officer resource has focused on the public toilet cleaning and maintenance contract, when it was delivered by a contractor and, more recently, the insourcing of the service and now direct cleaning and maintenance.

Desktop research

Desktop research has been completed into the CTS run by other local authorities:


How many toilets does your local authority provide?

How long has the CTS been in place?

Is a fee paid to those businesses participating in the CTS?

Bristol City Council

·         18: council maintained public toilet sites in parks throughout the city

·         9: council buildings

·         21: open access sites e.g. shopping centres

·         83: businesses / organisations participating in a CTS

Since 2018



·         36: council maintained public toilet sites, of which 35 are council buildings

·         2: in open access sites e.g. shopping centres / train stations

·         3: businesses / organisations participating in a CTS

Since 2019


City of London

·         2: council maintained public toilet sites

·         2: council buildings

·         12: open access sites e.g. shopping centres

·         60: businesses / organisations participating in a CTS

·         4: other (Urilifts)

Since 2010

Yes - £600 per year regardless of facilities offered

London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames

·         Unknown: council maintained public toilet sites – the council still maintain toilets in parks, libraries, and cemeteries

·         8: council buildings (libraries)

·         Unknown: open access sites e.g. shopping centres

·         49: businesses / organisations participating in a CTS

Started in late 1990s and officially launched in 2003

Yes – £1000 per year if open seven days a week, and £800 if not (payments made six months in arrears and six months in advance)


·         19: council maintained public toilet sites

·         3: council buildings

·         1: open access sites e.g. shopping centres

·         17: businesses / organisations participating in a CTS

Since 2016 – shut all toilets in the town centre (4) when introducing the CTS

Yes – criteria are used to score the facilities available and a payment made accordingly; this ranges from £300 to £1000

Wealden District Council

·         4: council maintained public toilet sites

·         4: council buildings

·         0: open access sites e.g. shopping centres

·         17: businesses / organisations participating in a CTS

Since 2009

Yes – dependent on opening hours and facilities available; ranges from £500 to £1560




A July 2022 report from the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) presents the results of a survey conducted with APSE member councils on public toilet provision, including alternative arrangements for public toilet provision. This includes:


Chart, waterfall chart

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Considerations for Brighton & Hove City Council

In determining whether to introduce a CTS in Brighton & Hove, the following needs to be considered:




Fee paid to participants


£300-£1560 per site per annum based on other council examples

Signage costs



Administration costs i.e. staff and associated costs relating to:

·         Liaising with and supporting participants

·         Inspecting sites to ensure compliance


Based on other council examples, at least 1 FTE

Initial advertising costs




If the council wanted to introduce a CTS, a budget would need to be allocated. This would be to fund a dedicated officer to administer the scheme and pay businesses to participate. At present, there is no identified budget for this purpose. An alternative is for the CTS to be funded from the public toilet budget, which would reduce the number of sites that could be opened. Therefore, at this time, it is not recommended at a CTS is introduced.


[1] Publicly Accessible Toilets Scrutiny Panel Report, July 2013 available at