Top parking supremo caught leading a double life
In January 2013 the BBC broadcast a documentary showing the activities of various parking campaigners around the UK titled ‘Parking Mad’.
One part of the documentary followed the plight of disabled pensioner Les Powell who had been given a parking ticket for parking on a single yellow line outside his bank in Cradley. Les maintained that his disabled blue badge which allows him to park on single yellow lines was on display in his car at the time a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) issued a parking ticket.
The CEO was working on behalf of APCOA the outsourcing parking enforcement contractor, who were under contract by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. The pensioner had appealed to the council, but they rejected the appeal insisting that the pensioner had not displayed his disabled badge.
Les Powell was forced by Sandwell MBC to take his appeal to the Traffic Penalty’s Tribunal. Like a dog with a bone Sandwell MBC pulled out all the stops to get their pound of flesh, and in a extremely unusual move arrived at the tribunal to fight the ticket with not only the CEO but also Sandwell’s head of parking who appeared on camera using the fake name of Kira Fleck. Could it be that Flecks amazing appearance at the tribunal was to bask in front of the TV cameras, or was it her special interest in the disabled that flushed her out from the anonymity of her council desk?
Before the tribunal scene ‘ Kira Fleck’ sat at her council desk wearing her best ‘say cheese’ smile condescendingly telling us she is out to ‘educate us’ “ British people are very good, and they like to abide by the rules. and it’s only a small minority that doesn’t comply and they are the ones we really need to educate.” Educate – That would be by taking £70 off a disabled pensioner.
The following scene from the documentary shows the tribunal presided over by the chief adjudicator Caroline Shepard, who also refers to Sandwell’s head of parking as Ms Fleck. Amazingly we see Fleck left staring intensely at a page of four photos taken by the CEO as Shepard questions that as it’s normal to take a close up photo of the cars dashboard, why wasn’t it done on this occasion?
No good explanation was forthcoming from either Kira Fleck or from the uncomfortable looking CEO.
By this point Caroline Shepard had enough of the Sandwell double act and ruled in favour of Mr Powell.
The game is up, in more ways than one, as Kira Flecks’ seemly ego driven desire to be on the telly reveals to members of the campaign group No To Mob her true identity as figurehead of the association representing the giant multi million pound parking industry.
Kira Fleck also reveals in the documentary that she thinks of motorists as customers, and under questioning she agrees that she sees motorists as having a ‘business relationship’ with her council.
To understand why a civil servant views parking enforcement as a business we need to reveal who Kira Fleck really is, along with her relationships with the multi-million pound parking industry.
So who really is Sandwell’s head of parking?
We can reveal that Kira Fleck is really Anjna Morarji Patel in her other more glamorous life as the British Parking Association Ltd., (BPA) mouthpiece, president and director.
Anjna Patel was born in the back of a Land Rover in a Ugandan forest in November 1957. Good job that Land Rover didn’t pull over in today’s Britain for her Mother to give birth, with CEO’s pushed to earn their ticket targets sloppily issuing speculative parking tickets. With motorist learning that medical emergencies are not sometimes grounds for an appeal. As appeals get rejected by hard faced council heads of parking hiding behind fake identities, eager to reject appeals even from the elderly and disabled, pursuing them all the way to tribunals. Well perhaps it must be quicker to reject an appeal, especially if you have important BPA business to attend to in your tax payer funded office.
Patels’ family moved to England in 1976 and by 1979 she started to work as a traffic warden. which began her long career in the then fledgling parking industry.
Before parking was decriminalised in 1991 all parking enforcement was done by wardens employed by the police, so Anjna Patel was stationed at West Bromwich Police Station. We note though in the BPAs version of Patels bio they claim that Patel started work as a traffic warden for Sandwell Council in 1979. (view source)
After quickly being promoted to a supervisor role, she ended up working around Birmingham city centre.
After nine years and reaching the level of area controller Patel moved back to Sandwell working in the road safety department.
In 2000 Sandwell Council took over parking enforcement from the Police and Patel moved to the councils parking department.
In July 2006 Anjna Patel was made a director of the The British Parking Asociation Ltd., whilst back at Sandwell Council Patel’s alter ego ‘Kira Fleck’ was by now deputy parking manager.
Then in 2007 Anjna Patel wins her own associations award, the BPA Parking Person of the Year trophy, but perhaps they should have renamed it ‘Parking Persons’, so that ‘Kira Fleck’ didn’t feel left out.
Charity or just plain old unashamed PR
It was at Patel’s award ceremony in March 2007 that she announced she wanted start a charity to raise money for disabled solders, her motivation clear when when she proclaimed “We are going to raise the profile of parking.”
By May 2007 Patel was telling Parking Review magazine she had already raised £12,000 for a sponsored walk from Kendal to Whitley Bay taking place in September the same year. In the press article Patel provides her Kira Fleck Sandwell council email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) to send in donations to her charity. ( source http://www.parasolcharity.org/images/parkingreview.pdf )
Patel/Fleck is joined on the charity walk by her partner Roy Jones, and fellow parking industry mates Adel Harrow from Drakes bailiffs,Tracy Cox from JBW bailiffs, Paul Moorby director of Chipside along with Cheryl Vickers and Dave Smith from Newlyn bailiffs.
Patel’s charity was set up under the name of Parasol Charity and registered (1122315) with the Charity Commission.
2008 was a busy year for the Parasol Charity with its website listing fund raising events with a golf day in July, a charity bike ride in August 2008 culminating in a two team event they called the three peaks challenge in September 2008. Taking part in the first team of the three peaks challenge were fellow parking industry BPA members listed as Chris Pullen and Neal Hinwicks of APCOA, Alastair Gilchrist then working as Westminster’s director of parking, Robin Bevan of mobile parking payment firm Verrus, Jamie Waller of bailiff firm JBW; and Russell Jones, Patels’ son.
Anjna Patel led the second team members which included Cheryl Vickers from Newlyn Bailiffs, Paul Moorby and Simon Cheung of IT parking specialist Chipside, APCOA Parking’s Russell Peacock.
Kevin McCarthy firm Newlyn bailiffs also offered to provide two helicopters to ferry team members between the peaks. Well what self respecting bailiff company doesn’t have a couple of helicopters knocking around. What’s next bailiffs swooping down from the sky at the crack of dawn in a giant Chinook to hoist away some poor motorists car to hold a ransom for an unpaid parking ticket.
As we know some bailiff companies feel they can add anything they like to their victims debt burden, so adding the cost of running Airwolf to debtors invoices would not raise any eyebrows at local councils, who much prefer to look the other way.
Lets hope the cost of helicopter fuel was at least slightly less than any charity money raised.
We don’t know how much each of these events raised, because on the Parasol Charity website there are no amounts given for each event or any published annual reports. The charity is so secretive they won’t even provide a postal address.
A visit to the Charity Commission website shows it does state that the Parasol Charity are a mere 1184 days overdue in producing it its annual returns for 2008.
The Charity Commission’s view is that transparency of reporting is increasingly important in charity management. Funding bodies and the wider public demand evidence of efficient stewardship of the funds they donate,
Nevertheless the Parasol Charity wins a special award at the 2008 BPA backed British Parking Awards. A page now appears on the BPA’s web site promoting the presidents charity.
Back at Sandwell Council it’s Patel’s alter ego ‘Kira Fleck’ working away on answering FOI requests in 2009 ( http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/parking_ticket_data_137 ) Kira Fleck even has her own telephone number at the council and her email address even to this day is still Kira_fleck@sandwell.gov.uk
What does this say about the Prime Minsters policy on transparency in Local Government?
At the BPA’s trade show ‘Parkex’ 2009 we find Anjna Patel not Kira Fleck listed as the Deputy Parking Manager of Sandwell Council giving a talk on ‘Managing Reputations in Good Times and Bad’.
Parasol Charity website is sponsored and hosted by IT parking specialist Chipside. After one of its directors took part alongside Anjna Patel in one of its charity fund raisers.
The BPA’s website contact page shows the email address for Anjna Patel using a domain name (parkingmanager.co.uk) owned by IT parking specialist Chipside.
In August 2010 Anjna Patel turns up at Sandwell Council as the lead officer providing a contract extension to IT parking specialist Chipside. The £41,257 36 month contract award was exempt from any contract procedure rules. (view source )
After pushing a deal like that through we would feel a little bit dirty like we had walked away from our usual lamppost at the end of a long hard night counting the cash that has been stuffed into our garter belt.
In December 2010 it’s announced that Kira Fleck/Anjna Patel has won a promotion to head of parking at Sandwell Council. At the same time we learn that Patel is to become the British Parking Association’s president for 2012-2013.
Anjna Patel was inaugurated as the new BPA President for 2012/13 after Kira Fleck took on pensioner Les Powell at the parking tribunal. Patel gave her first speech as BPA President using the name Anjna Patel at the evening’s reception at The House of Commons Terrace, Westminster.
Anne McGuire MP and co-chair of the All-party group on Disability hosted the House of Commons knees up.
When Nutsville spoke to Anjna Patel she was at Sandwell Council, and gave her Sandwell Council email address as the only one to send her BPA related matters too. Yet she maintains her work for the BPA is entirely separate from her council business.
What, more awards ahead
The BPA have already announced the nominees for this years parking awards, so we find some familiar names nominated for the “Parking in the Community” award. It’s none other than Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council with APCOA Parking, Keltic Clothing, Newlyn Bailiffs: Working together for you!
A stink of nepotism
Whilst we are not suggesting anyone has broken any laws in this post, there seems to us a clear whiff of nepotism. It should be clear that all tax payer funded civil servants with huge influence such as Anjna Patel should never be allowed to join lobby groups such as Limited companies like the BPA.
The temptation not to stick by the rules maybe too much for some, and we would hate to see them have to undergo Anjna Patel’s answer to rule breakers – education.
Other members of the British Parking Association Ltd., are now being closely scrutinised by the No To Mob on hunt for their skeletons.
26 JUNE 2012 – You can call me Al – Another story of traffic wardens using false names ( http://lbbspending.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/you-can-call-me-al.html )
16 May 2011 – BBC – Downing St to drop fake names on letters, says Cameron ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13420073 )
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