Westminster CEO’s tell us about ticket targets

We have written before on our blog about Westminster City Council’s CEO’s (Civil Enforcement Officers) being put under pressure to bring in a set number of parking tickets. Recently the West End Extra ran a front page story about what Westminster CEO’s were saying. Westminster CEO’s work for a company called NSL Services, who took over the Westminster parking enforcement contract under dubious circumstances, which so far Westminster have been reluctant to explain. Westminster Councillor Danny Chalkley and NSL have both denied setting targets for tickets, Chalkley says we’ve not done that for five years.

Could it be that Danney Chalkley does not know what’s going on in his own department, did Peter Large (head of Westminster’s legal department) not tell him about the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary. Did council officer Kevin Goad not know what was going on, or even Alastair Gilchrist.

Well then, with the help of a very brave CEO we will tell you. Over the next week we will publish our interview with a Westminster CEO. So you can learn about their work, the pressures they are under. If you’re a motorist coming to Westminster you should read this, as it may explain why you were issued a ticket harshly. You will read how the drinks industry are exempt from tickets. Later we will publish what effect the bike parking tax had on CEO’s. But today it’s all about those targets, and it’s those targets which are making the CEO’s job a nightmare.

Part one:

How would I become a CEO, is there a lot of training?

They mostly seem to take immigrants with little skill, and there’s only two weeks training with an exam.

But you would get the job it’s very hard to fail the exam as before the exam they will give you the answers.

People are trained just to issue the ticket, there is no interpretation, it’s all about how to get the ticket.

You see how the business is run normally the wardens are told not to speak to people outside. So people like you normally wouldn’t know what’s going on in our business. But you still have people inside the wardens who don’t agree with the policy and they don’t agree with NSL, they have been fighting NSL for years.

How many CEO’s feel like that?

A lot of them do but only a small number are standing up and challenging them. If you challenge them you can be sacked, they call it managed out. They can manage you out without people knowing anything.

Have you seen the letter from Councillor Danny Chalkley in this weeks West End Extra. He is saying that there hasn’t been any targets set for five years?

All our guys were shocked and very angry with the replies by Westminster. On the 2nd of October following NSL’s and Chalkley’s reply to the main article published in the West End Extra the CEO’s replied refuting their comments. Our replies were not published by the West End Extra because they were not clear. So we said OK, fair enough, so we have given them an interview. We gave a clear interview. There were a lot of CEO’s attending from different bases. Some of those CEO’s have been working for NSL for years, even since NSL won the contract, and ever since then the targets have been there. So the targets are there, they are enforced, and there are sanctions for not meeting the targets.

Right, go over what those sanctions are? If you don’t reach a certain target what happens?

You need to understand how the targets work first.

The target from the Lexington Street base is 1.33 tickets per hour. For other bases like Conduit Place and VBR it’s 1.5 tickets per hour.

What is VBR?

Vauxhall Bridge Road

So the other two bases are Vauxhall Bridge Road and Conduit Place?

Well now Conduit Place is closed, because they had some problems there. So those CEO’s were transferred to either VBR or Lexington Street.

You need to understand how the targets work, say you’ve been on the street and you did 10 tickets. A normal shift is eight and half hours, but out of that they take your tea break time of a half hour. Then in addition to that they take one hour off each shift for technical problems. You could have equipment crashing, radios not working, that sort of thing. So that leaves seven hours, which is the number of hours they base their target on.

Do you get a lunch break?

Yes we do get a lunch break, but the lunch break is not paid, so is not considered as part of the eight and half hour shift.

So you are down to seven hours now?

That’s right, if you issue 10 tickets, they divide ten by seven ,and this gives your daily performance in tickets per hour.
At Lexington street base which covers this area, it must be 1.33 tickets per hour before a C.E.O qualifies for overtime , working lunch, bank holiday triple pay. For Sunday work, where a C.E.O earns £24 extra, double figures tickets throughout the week will be ok.

Is that written down or are you just told that?

No they have it in what they call the DPD, the Daily Performance Data

What happens if you say keep meeting the target, say you did ten tickets every shift.

10 tickets is a double figure. They won’t say much because you bring a double figures in a single shift. But they will be suspicious about your activities on street.

Why would that upset NSL?

They have beat statistics which tell them the average number of tickets produced from each beat. Based on these statistics, they expect every C.E.O sent on that beat to meet this expectation or target, for them,  if you don’t bring that number of tickets, you are either a weak C.E.O, lazy or you were skiving. This is foxtrot 3 delta, suppose that beat statistic say 2 tickets/hour…this is what they expect from every C.E.O sent on foxtrot 3 delta.

How wide an area is Foxtrot 3 Delta?

It’s big, it goes from here, Rathbone street, across Mortimer Street up to Cleveland Street, covering New Cavendish Street and on to Great Portland Street and down to Oxford Street.

So based on their statistics they expect every CEO on that beat to do 2 tickets per hour.

How many are on that beat?

We don’t know, they could put any number of CEO’s on the beat.

How do you know which beat you’re on?

Every morning they have a briefing and they give you your beat allocation.

So if their were ten CEO’s on this beat how many tickets would they expect?

They expect each CEO to do 2 tickets per hour, so that would mean they expect this beat to produce 20 tickets per hour altogether. If you don’t meet their targets they will question you, have you been working or have you been skiving. So if you don’t bring in the two tickets per hour, then you must have been skiving.

What does the questioning involve?

You are taken into an office and they will check your tracking record.

Who does this?

Normally your supervisor. Look, among the CEO’s you have the trainees, they are on probation. They do it a lot to them because they are weak and vulnerable. But more experienced CEO’s will challenge the supervisors and the management. But if you’re in the probation period they say they can sack you at any time.

Is that a six month probation period?

No just three months.

Now if you were over your probation period and you weren’t bringing what the beat statistics say you should bring in, what could happen to you?

They’ve got lots of things they can do to you, let me explain, even among the experienced CEO’s you’ve got what we call the loyalists. They will work for NSL, they will bring in anything that NSL wants, anything that Westminster wants. If NSL say they want 20 tickets, the loyalist will get them. Then you have the normal CEO’s they do their normal work, they don’t need overtime. Then there are a group called the rebels, the fighters. They are against Westminster’s and NSL’s ticket policy, so they will only bring in 2 or 4 tickets. But you have to be very tough to go into that line. Because once you’ve started doing that you’re in trouble.

What sort of trouble?

The first thing they will do is check your immigration status. They need to find something to attack you with. So they will check if you’re an illegal immigrant, are you on a visa are you a British citizen, that kind of thing.

Don’t they do that before they employ someone?

Yes they say that, but they don’t do any deep checks, and I know there are people working there now whose visas have expired. So in their position they have to bring the tickets in and the management keep quiet.

Is there any other type of pressure that NSL/Westminster put on CEO’s who are not bringing in enough tickets?

Oh yes it can be terrible, they can put you under an investigation every day or every other day. They tell you that if you don’t bring in the tickets we will put a supervisor on your back. You cannot come late, normal CEO’s can come 15 minutes late, you won’t be offered Sunday work. In fact anything you ask them for you won’t get it. So they become very inflexible and rigid and are looking out for any mistake you make. If a normal CEO spoils a ticket that’s OK, but if they have it in for you and you spoil a ticket they will take you in for investigation.

When they take you for investigation are you alone or do you have a representative?

If the investigation is about a disciplinary action you can have a representative with you, but not if it’s it’s about your DAT or spoiling tickets or ticket targets. Then it’s only you and your supervisor.

Is it only the supervisors that know about the bullying and ticket targets?

No it’s known all the way up and at Westminster. A manager told me that the pressure on tickets came from Westminster.

How do we know that’s true?

I have proof I will give you, he was their best manager who told me that. You see I was working on Sundays, and because I was not bringing in enough tickets they took the Sundays from me. You get an extra £24 for working on a Sunday. So when I was brought before the manager he told me that if the client is paying you £24 extra they expect you to work the extra mile.

What did you understand it to mean their ‘client’?

Obviously there is no other client, so he meant Westminster. So he said if the client is paying you extra they expect you to bring in something extra, that is what they call justifying the hours. You will see in Danny Chalkleys reply he said we only expect one ticket per hour. So in a seven hour shift that’s still 8 tickets, so that’s still a target.

Part two tomorrow.


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EmmaOctober 12th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Very interesting indeed! It’s amazing that you managed to find a traffic warden who is willing to be a whistle blower, well done Nutsville and good on the traffic warden for speaking out about Westminster Council’s dodgy practices. I’m looking forward to part two now. Also, please do keep us updated about when the Channel 4 programme that you mentioned will be broadcast.

JamesOctober 12th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Congratulations Chalkley for your disgusting behaviour towards these poor employees, that you treat like rubbish! I am just horrified to say the least!

williamOctober 12th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Hip Hip Horay

It is good news to hear what is happening our city, this NSl and Wcc are nasty to the drivers and the employee, i beleive if they act like this, they are DEVILS, BlOOD SUCKERS.

We are the citizens we want to now more about how Wcc parking services are because i think Wcc do not want take the parking services in house because they want to make quick money for innocent drivers, and always want to have scape goat and someone they can blame to.

Wcc should have take an action and money making habit, we want services, we do not want contractor who do not know anything else except money, money, money making, this money making habit falls illigal business.

all the ceo’s keep the good job.

[...] This is part two of our interview with a Westminster CEO (Cival Enforcement Officer), part one is here. [...]

BrianMarch 3rd, 2010 at 9:18 pm

UTTER PROPAGANDA. I have been a CEO for over 2 years based at Conduit Place and briefly spent time at Lexington Autumn 2009, and a few weeks in Kensington and Chelsea Christmas 2008. I was one of the first to pass probation despite not getting the 10 PCN per day target they used to set in the olden days. Alas, they went too far the other way and CEOs regularly walk past contraventions out of laziness. Any officer should be doing the job out of a sense of fairness and with a heart to keep the roads clear. It should be about consideration to other road users, and on THAT basis I enforce with a clear conscience, or move drivers on promptly if they are in the vehicle. The officers who issue dodgy tickets do so to protect their overtime, working lunch and other favours they get. But please understand, the regular guys on single shifts are out there doing 4 tickets one day and 10 the next – according to what is THERE to be enforced, without pressure.
Westminster have a right to get value for money for the millions they pay subcontractors to run the on street services. 1st April 2010 Mouchel take over from NSL in Westminster and I am willing to bet it will be business as usual, although perhaps with better equipment and new uniforms.

BradJuly 20th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Propaganda??? I worked as CEO in 3 different borough though not in WM and in every single of them has target sets. Last one was the worst with 9 or 10 tickets per day and believe me, the contract is run by council themselves. about the statement ” walk past contraventions out of laziness”: We were clearly instructed to ignore as they’ll be getting Tickets from cameras. So much for moving/clearing the traffic :-) .

CEO’s these days are highly trained and have very good knowledge of regulations. But despite these still issue tickets where technically should not have ie sign/line missing or broken, time plates facing other side or the contravention itself is not clear. General feeling among CEO’s are let’s slap it and if it’s wrong, driver will appeal and will be cancelled. The gain is target reached.

Enforcements are needed without doubt. But needed overhaul in system. Trained and skilled CEO issuing tickets on technical faults should be fined from wages, Councils should publish regularly names of street where TMO is lacking but still put on contraventions, CPZ to be put on only when more than 75% of public agree and the biggest issue of all, Overtime should be scrapped completely.

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