Westminster CEO’s part three

This is part three of our interview with a Westminster CEO. We hope that through these posts you will see that we’re are talking to a genuine CEO, and understand why they are forced to issue tickets which might sometimes seem harsh. We want to establish once and for all that when a council official or even a councillor such as Danny Chalkley say that parking tickets are not about revenue earning, that it’s a complete lie, and they know it. This practice has to stop, and parking enforcement needs to go back to what the Government and local councils say it’s about, keeping traffic flowing and not about targets and revenue generation to prop up losses that bungling councillors such as Caplan have made on failed Icelandic bank investments.

Because of the targets that are set, CEO’s have to go out on the streets and issue harsh tickets. But you need to know this is all part of the parking industry, perpetuated by the likes of Councillor Danny Chalkley and Co. He needs those parking tickets, so for all his fine words about parking control being firm, fair and excellent, he has created a life of mini slavery for CEO’s working in Westminster, too frightened to speak out against their employers, NSL services, they are caught in the trap. It’s Chalkley’s way or be managed out, in other words the sack.

In Chalkleys world of fair parking, it’s always about bringing in as many tickets as possible. Chalkley, Kevin Goad, Peter Large and Alastair Gilchrist are all in on the game, they all want to maintain their comfortable lifestyles, yet they are happy to let their CEO’s on the streets take the brunt of angry motorist. Just how can these people sleep at night knowing they are part of the corrupt Westminster firm, fair and excellent parking industry. You will read in this post how Westminster and NSL Services are so desperate to stop the truth coming out to the public.

Now please read part three of our interview with a Westminster CEO

Cllr Danny Chalkley, have you ever written to him?

Yes I have, but he never contacted me back, just his assistant, they are going to look into the case.

What was the assistants name?

Ravindra Akinlawon

Oh yes Ravi, she’s nice, don’t know how she manages to stick Chalkley.

Well they just sent me a card, but after that nothing.

What did you say to Chalkley in your letter?

It was about swine flu, because there was some issue about swine flu.

So not necessarily about these targets?

I’ve also sent an email to the head NSL head office, to Tim Cowen, which was passed on to Danny Chalkley that was about targets.

When I sent that email to Tim Cowen he said I’m not involved in it.

So let me tell you what happened. They sent one of their guys Kenneth Henslip (name unverified), he is head of professional standards at NSL. He’s the head of street monitors. NSL have plain clothed people watching how CEO’s work on the street, street monitors.

The mangers will tell you that if you don’t bring in the tickets, we’re going to put the street monitors on your back, to watch you.

So that’s another part of the pressure they use, so what happened with Henslip?

Well they suspended me and they were going to investigate me. They said I had spoke to a film crew about the ticket targets.

Had you?

Yeah I did.

So they come to investigate me, but I was already suspended for something else.

How long ago was the film crew there?

It was in July 2009

And you say you were suspended for something else?

Yes, after I had swine flu I returned to work, but I told the management that I didn’t want to handle the equipment until it was sanitized. They said no we’re not going to sanitise the equipment. You see other CEO’s all share the same equipment like radios. I had information that other CEO’s had been ill with swine flu before but the management didn’t tell us. The problem with swine flu is if a CEO has sneezed in his hand then uses the radio. So basically, they didn’t tell us that there were cases of swine flu at the base.

Do you think then they should have sanitized the equipment?

Yes I do, I couldn’t believe that the equipment we have to use has never been cleaned for years.

So this equipment, do you not use the same equipment everyday?

No it’s pot luck what equipment you pick up in the morning and it’s never cleaned.

What made you go to the film crew or did they come to you?

I was suspended after I did the interview with the film crew, they came to the base on the 11th of August.

Were the film crew undercover?

No they were there with full permission of both NSL and Westminster. The film crew had interviewed NSL, they had interviewed Westminster Council. So the film crew were there at the base coming to every CEO.

This was sanctioned by NSL and Westminster?

Yes, so I spoke to the film crew inside the base, I was in uniform.

You were interviewed?

Yes I was interviewed, the film crew even went out on the streets with the CEO’s. But I noticed that the film crew were only sent out on the streets with the loyalists. So I told the film crew that we have two groups of CEO’s here, loyalists and rebels. So come out on the streets with us, if you want to be impartial and find out about what we think about the job.

Was the film about all CEO’s or just those in Westminster?

Just Westminster, the film was about immigrants, as most CEO’s are immigrants they wanted to know what it’s like for immigrants coming to the UK. So as a warden the CEO’s can only see the bad side of British people. So the film crew wanted to know what their image of Britain was after that. So it was meant to show the public the hard job CEO’s were doing. But it turned out to be that the job is hard because of the pressure to meet the targets. And the CEO’s are under pressure from NSL and Westminster to meet the targets, and that’s why CEO’s are getting abused.

Now I understand why Alastair Gilchrist at the last PiP meeting 6th July 2009 (download minutes from meeting here) put forward that Ms Bridget Juniper the Director of Work & Well-Being Ltd. was to do a consultation of CEO’s working for NSL, and their health and well-being. NSL are being asked to pay 50% of that consultation process. NSL then questioned this because Alastair Gilchrist or some of the PiP board said we want her to look at other CEO’s with other councils. NSL turned round and said you’re asking us to pay 50% of the costs but you asking us to pay to be compared with other CEO’s from other companies. That was also in July.

For example I said in the film “how can people make a business out of fines, I find that hard to understand”.

(We fell off our chairs laughing at this point but we managed to carry on)

You said that on camera?

Yes I said that on camera that I find it hard to understand how people can make a business out of fines. I said as well that the PCN is something negative. The CEO is trained by NSL to see this as a war, we are supposed to the see the drivers as enemy combatants.

How do NSL tell you this?

Well for example at the briefing they might say around Marylebone High Street they are going to come today. (meaning drivers) There might be a lot of suspensions there, so there will be a lot of tickets there today. You go there and make sure you do a good job.

By good job, they don’t mean helping or advising drivers then?

No, they don’t care about that.

Can we be clear here, do NSL mean bringing in extra tickets?

On the 14th of July as part of my grievance sent to NSL and onto Chalkley, at an 8am briefing the supervisor said clearly “There are people who bring in only 2,3,4 tickets on a daily basis. These people we tell them if they don’t bring in the tickets they will not have the rest that they want, they will not have Sundays. These people they are the same people everyday, I don’t need to say their numbers, they know themselves” This was in a full briefing, and the manger condoned it. When I went to the manager and said this was what the supervisor said, the manager said “OK, I’m the one who told him to do that.”

So there was a lot of problems about this film, because also NSL have fought to have my footage taken out. NSL have said it will bring them and Westminster into serious disrepute. I said I only speak the truth. NSL have even said they will bring out my employment record. So I have signed a waiver for the film crew so they can see anything in my employment record. I want them to know that what I say it true. But I think NSL are so desperate to stop this footage coming out, but the only one who can stop it is me, but this is so stressful for me all this.

I went to NSL’s head office and the first thing they said to me was who gave you permission to talk to the film crew. I was interviewed when I was suspended without any witness. They even went to the management at the base to ask them why they allowed this CEO to speak to the film crew.

You see in the film I show them how we get a dodgy ticket. This is because of the pressure, I’ll give you another example. When we wait for the vehicle to go on penalty, we see the vehicle from afar and know that it’s got 2 or 3 minutes left. So I’m going to be around pretending to check another vehicle, but I’ve got eyes on the distant vehicle. Now I’m not allowed to do that, if I walk the street and come across a vehicle that is on penalty after 3 or 5 minutes I can give a ticket. But I cannot wait, for that vehicle to go on penalty. The rules say you patrol and then you come across the contravention, but the rules don’t tell you to wait for the vehicle to go into contravention. If you have to do that it means you’re not going to be patrolling, so I’m not enforcing I’m targeting vehicles. But that’s what you have to do to get the tickets.

What do the CEO’s think about the bike parking fees?

We do get a bit annoyed by motorcycles, because of the speed they can go, because we are on the street all the time. So we need to avoid the bikes when we’re crossing the road.

Now our job is meant to enforce, to keep the traffic flowing, so I don’t see how bikes are stopping the traffic flowing.

How did it effect the CEO’s when they brought in the charges for bikes?

That was good for us. When i was on probation, because bikes are very easy tickets. First, mostly the driver is not there and most of them they didn’t know they had to pay. So I could get 16 or 17 tickets easily from bikes. And most CEO’s were getting their tickets from bikes in the mornings, bang bang bang one after another. Secondly the bikes can pay longer, they can get a weekly or monthly pass, but they tend to forget to renew.

Well a lot of bikers are saying they are paying for a text reminder, but they’re not getting that from Verrus.

Listen, from the perspective of the CEO, we need the ticket, but if we were free to do the job and didn’t have any pressure we would be able to use more discretion. We could speak to the drivers and help the drivers.

What was it like when the pay-by-phone signs were being painted over?

That was very damaging for our tickets. You see normally what you do when you come into the street you have to look at the time plate to see if it’s valid. But with bike bays the time plates are all the same. So if you find a bike that hasn’t paid, your happy, so you put in his details, you print the ticket. But then you look at the time plate, and you see wow, it’s obliterated. So the ticket is spoilt.

So can you cancel a ticket on the street, what does spoil a ticket mean?

You cancel it, but you have to give a reason for that.

So you can’t leave that ticket on the bike?

No no no, one CEO, he got caught for that, he was a killer as well. He new that the signs were obliterated but he still gave the tickets. That was in Candover Street, he was one of their best CEO’s, his name was the professor.

So what was he doing?

He would give the tickets then find a good time plate that wasn’t obliterated. He could do that because the bike bays all have the same location number. So he would take the picture of the good time plate without showing the context. So with that kind of ticket the driver have to pay it.

How did he get caught?

Because a lady filmed him.

Did you find when the vandalism of the signs was going on if more bikes had actually not paid?

Yeah, some of them still paid, but a lot of them knew it was free so they didn’t pay.

What did NSL management say about the damaged signs?

They were very upset because it was less tickets for us. So that’s less tickets for management, but the pressure on tickets is still there.

So if the bike charging scheme was scrapped that would increase the pressure for you?

Yeah, we like the bikes being there because we can get more tickets. But I don’t like that they pay £1, but they can get a £60 or £40 fine, it’s just not fair.

Westminster say they have no control over the fine. The fine for motorcycles is the same as cars, but Westminster City Council have no control, they can or won’t do anything to make things fair.


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1 Comment

upyoursOctober 14th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Love the honesty!

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