Three fight for a share of Westminsters parking pie

For parking companies Westminster is big business, they stand to gain around £12 million per year if they get the contract which is coming up for grabs. This month saw the three companies put their hats in the ring for a cut of the pie, which netted Westminster a ‘surplus’ (can’t call it a profit, that’s illegal) of £34.1 Million last year (source) from the total £81.7 Million they took.

NSL Ltd (who were in with National Car Parks before being split to their private equity owners) who currently have the contract, and have been recently embroiled in claims of target setting for CEO’s (Parking Attendants) as well as looking pretty bad on a recent Channel 4 documentary have contested. So have ACPOA and new boys Mouchel (or maybe as Mouchel Parkman Ltd)  joined in wanting their bit of the income.

So that’s just old news really, what could possibly go wrong with these three wanting to play? Who could Westminster get in bed with and make them look like something underhand and snide is going on?

Well lets examine them all, NSL Ltd. have just lied openly about their claims in the West End Extra over parking ticket target setting.  The West End Extra quoted Tim Cowen of NSL Ltd. saying “We correctly issue more than 99.5 per cent of PCNs in Westminster, something which simply could not happen if we focused on the number of tickets rather than the quality of the full service.”. We assume he means that if they were targeted they’d be getting a few wrong and people would complain and appeal against the tickets.

That’s why it’s strange that Westminsters own Parking Report 2008-09 on page 15 quotes a figure of 20.1% of PCN’s cancelled. There seems to be a bit of discrepancy there, 20% is quite a lot really, so where did those cancellations come from?

What with Channel 4′s Cutting Edge series doing a program on Westminster CEO’s, NSL Ltd or Westminster lying over targets and Nutsville’s own coverage of a Westminster CEO’s whisleblowing NSL and Westminster seem to have a match made in Parking heaven.

Then we have Mouchel. New kids on the Parking lot, what about them? Well reports have been filed of a certain meeting between council officials and a Mr Stuart Lawrenson at a hotel last month. Nothing underhand there at all, Mr Lawrenson (not related to Stephen Lawrenson of PIP fame is he?) has nothing to do with Mouchel, he’s not an employee or anything so what could be wrong there?

Maybe it’s that Lawrenson works for a company that supplies Mouchel with parking kit. So maybe, just maybe, Lawrenson is behind the scenes oiling the wheels and oiling a few Westminster officials too.  But what would make Nutsville think that Mr Lawrenson would be underhand or devious about anything? Perhaps it’s because as he got asked to resign as CEO for Central Parking Ltd for taking company money and spending it himself? It cost him his job, £130,000 and shares, so while he doesn’t work for Mouchel, he does have an interest but he could also be working for APCOA too.

APCOA are the third bunch to join in the fun. The Airport Parking Company Of America have been in with Westminster before back in 1981. These guys have expanded by acquisition right across Europe and made way in the UK by absorbing the parking arm of a company called First Group. First Group runs lots of bus companies in the UK. However, back in 2002 when Central Parking took over APCOA staff, Mr Lawrenson was around enforcing how it would be to the workers coming over on TUPE agreements. So, Mr Lawrenson has many fingers in many pies and is obviously a big player if he is influencing so many parking companies and at least one big city Borough.

It might not just be the one Borough though, parking companies are interested in the rapid expansion of new boys Mouchel because they seem to have collared contracts in Harringey and Newham. Of course, Newham and Harringey will be providing many facilities for the up and coming 2012 Olympics, they know when to get their nose in the trough on that one. Not that Mr Lawrenson would have had anything to do with that!

Links

Web report on Lawrenson and Olympic deals

Rotala and Stuart Lawrenson Company Report

American report on Lawrenson

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3 Comments

CMCerDecember 15th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

They took 81 million, less 12 for NSL and had a ‘surplus’ of 34. That means they ‘spent’ 35 million… a million over their ‘surplus’.

1. Why do they have a surplus of this size when it’s not much less than they took last year?

2. What happened to last years ‘surplus’? Is it ringfenced to parking and did they spend it all?

LibertyDecember 21st, 2009 at 10:50 am

According to the Westminster “Parking Report”, in 2008/9 they spent about £36m from the “PPRA” (which is where the “surplus” goes). This spend was split up as
£14,508K Transport & Infrastructure
£532K City Development
£9,930K Street Environment
£2,228K Finance & Support Services
£9,126K Children & Community Services

Parking “surplus” is legally supposed to be spent on transport, but without a breakdown of the spend within those categories, it is difficult to know how loosely there is a connection?

MDDecember 27th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Inside the world of Westminster it’s all a green and pleasant land. Never mind that NSL are two-bit fraudsters with a proven record of corporate shenanigans, and that Mouchel (new Kid on the block) state “a passion for success” “a spirit of adventure” “integrity at heart” in their vomit inducing bile on their website.
Notwithstanding the fragrant French name, the odour of corruption and underhand practices surfaces.
Where is your proof I hear you say?
I say just look at Private Eye, late December 2009.
Shirley some mistake…?

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