Ticket Targets – The Smoking Gun – A Whole Armory
The Secretary of State issued guidance some time ago to local authorities on how to use parking enforcement powers. It was imaginatively named as the “Secretary of State’s Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities on the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions” and can be found here. The basis of the guidance was that enforcement powers were to be used fairly and proportionately and that enforcement should not be used purely to raise revenue.
London councils and their subcontractors decided that the Secretary of State has little knowledge of how to run a business and proceeded to put all the guidance documents into the recycling bin to be pulped and converted into blank PCNs. You did read that right. Your local council regards Civil Parking Enforcement as a business and seeks to make as much ca$h as possible from that business.
The NoToMob has provided Nutsville with a number of enforcement contracts between councils and their subcontractors that incentivise operatives to issue as many PCNs as possible. The contracts all have a similar theme. Firstly there are incentives to issue a minimum amount of PCNs per year. The operators are typically charged a fixed amount for every PCN below the projected target (a fine, if you will). There is a fixed amount paid to the operator for each PCN issued up to the target amount. Finally, there is an increased amount paid for every PCN issued above the projected target. A triple whammy. Issue lots of tickets and you’ll be rich, issue less tickets and you’ll be punished – really punished.
The Secretary of State advises against targets. Obviously, fairness goes out of the window if there are target amounts. Think about it. You have overstayed in a paid parking bay by as little as two minutes. Is the CEO going to wait a bit before writing the ticket? Is the council going to look favourably on your representations? Are you about to be bent over for the sake of a few bob? Think about it, you know the answers. The councils we have seen unlawful contracts for so far are as follows; Barnet, Bromley, Camden, City of London, Ealing, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Lewisham and last and most definitely not least, Westminster. Residents in some of these areas, some of whom are NoToMob members, have raised objections with the relevant District Auditors in accordance with the Audit Commission Act 1998. Where it is unlawful to have incentives in an enforcement contract the income can be declared as illegally derived income. Lambeth alone issued 196,274 PCNs during the tax year 2011/12 and 191,563 PCNs during 2012/13, with a total issue value of £49,036,960. And you can’t even drive to the council offices to complain because as soon as you stop . . . well, you get the picture.
It has also emerged that many of these contracts are in fact based on the model contract drawn up by the BPA Ltd. Patrick Troy, CEO of the BPA Ltd, has recently submitted to the Transport Select Committee that there are no incentives to issue tickets. The contracts would suggest otherwise.
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