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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 12/07/2005
Decriminalised Parking Enforcement



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to:-

1. Update Members on the negotiations with Surrey County Council on its request for Waverley to manage on-street decriminalised parking
enforcement in the Borough and;

2. seek the Executive’s observations on the recommendation to enter into an Agency Agreement for that purpose.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX V
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 12TH JULY 2005

Title:
DECRIMINALISED PARKING ENFORCEMENT
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to:-

1. Update Members on the negotiations with Surrey County Council on its request for Waverley to manage on-street decriminalised parking enforcement in the Borough and;

2. seek the Executive’s observations on the recommendation to enter into an Agency Agreement for that purpose.

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Effective parking management reduces traffic congestion and the associated vehicle exhaust pollution, enhances road safety and the environment and contributes to the social and retail vitality of our towns and villages.

E-Government implications:

Robust and extensive IT systems with electronic data links to the Parking Management Contractor, DVLA, customers and others will be fundamental to an effective and efficient enforcement operation.

Resource and legal implications:

There are resource implications both in preparing for, and introducing, decriminalised parking enforcement in respect of both on-street and off-street parking. The adoption of the Road Traffic Act 1991 will require an expansion of administrative staff, management and IT facilities.

Introduction

1. A report was presented to the Executive at its meeting on 7th February 2005 inviting it to reconsider the request by Surrey County Council (SCC) for Waverley Borough Council (WBC) to enter into an Agency Agreement to operate on-street decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) in the Borough, and to consider the effect on the operation of WBC’s off-street car parks.

2. The Executive resolved that officers be authorised to:-

(i) negotiate the terms and conditions of an Agency Agreement, between Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council, for Waverley to operate an effective decriminalised on-street parking enforcement operation in the Borough, at no overall cost to Waverley; and

(ii) report back to the Executive with details of those terms and conditions and a detailed cost model.

Background

3. The implications of WBC managing on-street DPE, and the implications of managing its off-street car parks under the new legislation which DPE requires, are set out in the report referred to above, which is appended at Annexe 1 for Members’ information and convenience.

4. The key issue in that report is that the introduction of DPE into the Borough will impact on the Council’s off-street car parking operation, regardless of its decision on management of the on-street parking function. That decision will also influence the level of parking regulations violation in the Borough and the consequent traffic congestion, to the detriment of public transport operation and pedestrian safety and convenience.

Special/Permitted Parking Areas

5. In order for DPE to operate, the Secretary of State for Transport (SoS) must approve the enforcement arrangements and must make an order under the Road Traffic Act 1991 (the ’91 Act), for each geographical area to which those arrangements will apply, designated a Special Parking Area (SPA) and Permitted Parking Area (PPA). The SoS will not generally approve an application for a SPA/PPA unless it also includes the public off-street car parks within that area. SCC proposes that, for this reason, the SPA/PPA for Waverley encapsulates the whole Borough.

6. Waverley may only operate, and make charges for the use of, off-street parking places, with the consent of the County Council. The Transport Secretary has reserved powers in the Traffic Management Act 2003 (TMA03) to compel local traffic authorities to adopt DPE and to determine the geographical extent of the Order. Waverley, therefore, may ultimately not have a choice in the conversion of its car parks to operation under the ’91 Act. The implications of that change are described in the report at Annexe 1.

Financial Model

7. SCC has engaged a transportation consultant, RTA Associates Limited, to construct a Financial Model setting out the projected costs and receipts of a decriminalised parking enforcement operation in the Borough, both on-street and off-street. The Model has been developed and refined by RTA following its experience in managing, and/or advising on, the introduction of DPE in authorities across the UK, and particularly in other Districts of Surrey. Six of the Surrey Districts are now operating DPE on behalf of SCC, and two have confirmed start dates. The remaining two are making progress towards an agreed start date.

8. SCC has pre-determined the number of full-time equivalent parking attendants (PA’s) for the on-street enforcement operation as two PA’s. It argues that this is the maximum that its financial resources will permit. Waverley officers believe that this level of resource is wholly inadequate for an effective enforcement operation in the Borough. The geographical disposition of the four traffic population centres and the village centres, combined with the need to patrol over six days each week from 0800 to 1800 hours, allowing for annual leave, sickness, training and travelling between the centres of enforcement need, makes the adequacy of this resource questionable.

9. There is an expectation from Surrey, which some Districts have met, that additional PA’s will, initially at least, be diverted from off-street car park activity to on-street enforcement. SCC’s argument is that an initial “purge” on on-street parking violations will quickly result in compliance and that the additional off-street parking revenue arising from vehicles displaced from the streets will more than compensate for the diluted off-street enforcement. That argument may have some merit where ample off-street capacity is available but is questionable where that is not the case, i.e. in Godalming where all car parks are generally operating to capacity.

10. Your officers have, accordingly, projected the management and “back office” (Notice processing and enquiry/complaint handling) resources needed to support the activity of four full-time equivalent on-street parking attendants. The financial implications are illustrated at Annexe 2.

Agency Agreement

11. SCC has produced a draft Agency Agreement which your legal and technical officers have reviewed and agreed changes which will better protect Waverley’s interests and guarantee the reimbursement of all costs related to the on-street enforcement function (the Functions). The Functions which Waverley would agree to perform include:-

(i) the maintenance of all traffic signs put in place by SCC for purposes related to the Functions;

(ii) the issuing and collection of Penalty Charges in both SPA’s and PPA’s;

(iii) the administration of residents’ parking schemes and collection of charges for permits;

(iv) dealing with the representations, correspondence and appeals arising from issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCN’s) including defending appeals to the National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS);

(v) taking steps to recover payments due;

(vi) if and when agreed with SCC (subject to further negotiations), the immobilisation, removal, recovery, storage and disposal of vehicles and collection charges.

Note: powers to exercise this function will be sought in the application but it is not proposed to exercise them initially.

(vii) The registration of debts at the Traffic Enforcement Centre including making any statutory declarations.

12. Waverley would be required to devise, for the approval of SCC, an operational parking enforcement policy which documents Beats/Areas and an enforcement regime for each beat, in accordance with the patrol hours, and staffing level available, as set out in the Model.

13. Waverley would be required to set up an On-Street Parking Account and hold all monies therein on behalf of SCC. All expenditure attributable to the On-Street Functions would be debited to the account and all income from Penalty Charges would be credited to it.

14. SCC proposes that Waverley would submit an annual statement of account which would be subject to audit by SCC. Any surplus of income over expenditure would be passed to SCC for its own use. Any excess of expenditure over income would be reimbursed to the On-Street Parking Account by SCC. Transfers of funds would be made within four months of the financial year-end. Your officers propose a more equitable arrangement where any deficit on the amount would be reimbursed on a quarterly basis.

15. Waverley would be required, not later than one month before the start of the Agreement and one month before each financial year, to agree a budget for the discharge of the On-Street Functions for the ensuing Financial Year. It would be required, in discharging the Functions, to conform, as far as practicable, to the agreed budget.

SCC Undertakings

16. Your officers have sought written clarification on the function of the Financial Model and the budget in relation to the Agreement and have received the following undertakings, which they will ensure will be clearly reflected in the detailed Agency Agreement:-

(i) SCC confirms that the Financial Model, produced by RTA Associates, is the best estimate of the costs involved in the introduction and operation of on-street DPE in Waverley and is the basis upon which the budget will be determined;

(ii) SCC confirms that it will meet the actual costs involved in the introduction and operation of on-street DPE in Waverley based on two full-time equivalent PA’s and their on-street related costs, including office and management costs, Waverley proposes that this be increased to four PA's;

(iii) if Waverley agrees to manage on-street DPE, SCC will meet the capital costs of converting the management of off-street car parks to the 1991 Act legislation; and

(iv) SCC will not meet the on-going revenue costs of managing off-street car parks in accordance with the 1991 Act.

Resource Implications

17. The undertaking of the new function of on-street parking enforcement can be expected to impact on resources across the Council. The maintenance and management of the On-Street Parking Account will impact on the Finance and Audit functions of the Council. Parking enforcement often raises contention and emotion both from those who feel they are unreasonably penalised and those whose homes and businesses are affected by unreasonable parking. Enquiries and complaints can, therefore, be expected to be directed at every level of management in the Department, to the Chief Executive’s Complaints Procedure and, ultimately, to Members. Experience of those districts in Surrey that have adopted DPE suggest that the level of enquiries and complaints is beyond all expectation. Additional support may also be required from Legal Services, particularly in relation to appeals and hearings of the Parking Adjudication Service.

18. The employment of the On-Street Parking Attendants and their management, training, clothing, transport, accommodation and recruitment would be out-sourced as part of a re-tendered Car Parking Services Contract in which the specific costs of the on-street enforcement element would be separately identified for recharging to the On-Street Parking Account.

19. The principal additional resource need would be in the Client Management of the Parking Services Contract, the management of the On-Street Parking Function and the Notice processing and Appeals process. It is projected that an additional 4.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) processing and administration staff would be required. In addition, 40% of the responsibilities of the Enforcement Manager and Senior Administrator would be attributable to the On-Street Function, for which re-grading would be appropriate. These resources are reflected in the Financial Model.

20. Officer accommodation and IT, telecommunications, document handling, filing, archiving and storage facilities would need to be expanded and enhanced to provide for the additional staff and functions. Members will be aware of the current severe pressure on office accommodation which will be further exacerbated by the need to accommodate these staff.

21. Should the Council elect not to manage on-street DPE but agrees to convert its off-street car parks to operate under the more prescriptive requirements of the 1991 Act, an additional 0.5 FTE Notice Processing Assistant will be needed. A case file needs to be produced to defend each appeal to the National Parking Adjudication Service which takes approximately three hours per appeal.

Financial Implications

22. Surrey County Council has pledged to:-

“Meet the actual costs involved in the introduction and operation of on-street DPE in Waverley based on two full-time equivalent Parking Attendants…. including office and management costs attributable to this operation ....”.

Provided this pledge can be amended to four Parking Attendants and is clearly set out in the Agreement and Waverley accurately identifies, records and documents those costs, in an auditable manner, there will be no financial implications to Waverley in respect of the On-Street Function, either positive or negative. If the On-Street Parking Account is in deficit, SCC will reimburse that deficit; if it is in surplus, SCC will take that surplus.

23. If Waverley agrees to manage on-street DPE on behalf of SCC, the capital cost of the requisite conversion of its off-street car parks to operate under the 1991 Act will be met by SCC. The on-going revenue costs of operating car parks under that Act (see Annexe 1) will be more than compensated for by the additional car parks income from cars displaced from on-street to off-street, by an effective enforcement regime, which your officers believe can best be provided by four on-street PAs.

24. If Waverley elects not to, or is unable to agree the terms and conditions of an agreement to, operate the On-Street Function, it will be obliged ultimately to convert its car parks enforcement to operate under the 1991 Act at an initial capital cost estimated to be 10,000 and an on-going revenue cost estimated at 20,000 per annum. Without an effective on-street enforcement operation, there will be no additional income from displacement of cars from the streets. The capital costs relate to the changing of tariff boards and tickets and the publication of a new Parking Order. The revenue costs relate to the additional work in dealing with appeals through the Parking Adjudicator and the number of appeals likely to be successful.

On-Street Enforcement Resources

25. At the peak of its parking enforcement activity, Surrey Police had the resources of four Traffic Wardens to patrol the Waverley Borough. There is currently an ad-hoc arrangement between SCC and the Police whereby, notionally, two Wardens are available in the Borough. There is an expectation from the Department for Transport, the Police, Surrey County Council, Town and Parish Councils, traders and the public that the introduction of DPE will result in a much more effective and visible enforcement regime which will result in a real reduction in illegal and obstructive parking and will improve the flow of traffic and the consequent reliability of public road transport, and the comfort and safety of pedestrians (e.g. in Godalming High Street).

26. Subject to your resolution, your officers would wish to provide an efficient and effective enforcement service, which can deliver on that expectation and can respond reasonably to parking difficulties across the Borough. They calculate that an effective patrol pattern and frequency can best be provided with an initial resource of four Parking Attendants. A failure to provide an effective service, due to a compromise on resources by SCC, is likely to reflect adversely on Waverley rather than those others. Additional Parking Attendants are expected to be self-financing in that the value of Penalty Charges which each is projected to generate will cover their employment costs. Additional “back office” resources will, however, be needed to manage and process the Notices.

On-Street Enforcement Without Waverley

27. SCC’s solution to the introduction of DPE into the Borough prejudges Waverley’s management of the Function. SCC has indicated that it has no plans for provision by other means and that without Waverley’s assent to take on the Functions, there will be no on-street parking enforcement in the Borough.

Risk Implications

28. The financial risk is largely carried by SCC as, if income from Penalty Charges falls short of that projected, SCC is required, under the Agreement, to reimburse any shortfall on the On-Street Parking Account.

29. Waverley will need to address any risks associated with termination of the Agreement, either within the initial five year term or upon its expiry. In particular, it must ensure that the terms of the Agreement protect it from any employment or redundancy liabilities under the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) Regulations should the Function cease to be undertaken by Waverley and its contractor.

30. Should Waverley and Surrey fail to reach agreement on the resources necessary for an effective enforcement operation, which results in insufficient or no on-street enforcement, there is a risk that off-street car parks income will progressively decline as parking on street, in contravention of parking regulations, becomes more attractive.

Conclusion

31. Your officers have reached general agreement with SCC officers on the terms and conditions of an Agency Agreement for Waverley to manage the enforcement of the on-street parking regulations in the Borough under a decriminalised parking enforcement regime, except on the issue of the number of Parking Attendants necessary for effective enforcement.

32. SCC has confirmed that it will meet the actual costs of the introduction and operation of on-street DPE in Waverley based on two full-time Parking Attendants and their on-street related cost. A Financial Model based on the resources necessary to support the DPE Function, on this basis, has been constructed by SCC’s Consultant, with resource levels provided by Waverley. SCC has confirmed that the Function of the Financial Model is as a means of calculating the best estimate of the costs of the operation as a basis upon which its budget will be determined.

33. If Waverley does not agree to manage the on-street enforcement function, it will still be obliged to change the operation of its car parks enforcement to the decriminalised parking regime under the 1991 Road Traffic Act. The capital costs of this change are estimated to be 10,000. The on-going revenue costs are estimated to be 20,000 per annum. If Waverley agrees to undertake the on-street Functions, SCC will reimburse the capital costs but not the revenue costs of the off-street enforcement changes. An effective on-street enforcement operation is expected to displace sufficient vehicles from on-street parking into Waverley’s off-street car parks to increase car parks income to cover the additional revenue costs of operating under the 1991 Act.

34. If Waverley does not manage on-street DPE in the Borough, there is unlikely to be effective parking enforcement, with the result of increasing obstructive and illegal parking and consequent traffic congestion, and its impediment to public road transport services and pedestrian safety and convenience. Increasing numbers of motorists will elect to park on-street reducing the Council’s income from Pay-and-Display parking.

35. However, if Waverley agrees to manage on-street DPE on behalf of SCC, it would want to be confident that it could provide an effective, efficient and visible operation for which it has determined that a minimum of four full-time equivalent Parking Attendants and appropriate levels of support staff would be a prerequisite.

Resolutions Required for a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Application to the Department for Transport

36. Should Waverley determine that it can reach agreement with SCC on its management of on-street DPE, SCC are anxious to make application to the Department for Transport, at the earliest opportunity, for the relevant power. That process would require some formal resolutions from this Council:-

(i) the level of Penalty Charges to be levied for parking violations, both on-street and off-street.

The Executive at its meeting of the 4th October 2004 resolved that penalties for parking violations in off-street car parks should remain at 60.00 except for “Displaying and Expired Ticket” which should remain at 40.00. It was resolved that all penalties should be reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days. It is proposed that these penalties remain at that level in a DPE regime. It is further proposed that should Waverley adopt on-street enforcement, the penalty charge for on-street parking violations should be 60.00 discounted to 30.00 for payment within 14 days and incremented to 90.00 for payment after the issue of a Charge Certificate.

(ii) authority to enter into a National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS) Joint Committee Agreement. The National Joint Committee comprises all Local Authorities outside London which have, or are about to, introduce DPE. The Committee is responsible for appointing, employing and overseeing the Parking Adjudicators to promote consistent adjudication across the country;

The Head of Legal Services would need to be granted delegated authority to enter into an NPAS Section 101 Joint Committee Agreement (Local Government Act 1972).

(iii) the Council would need to nominate Representatives to serve on the NPAS Joint Committee;

The Council would need to nominate a representative and substitute representative (who must be elected Members of the Council) to serve on the NPAS Joint Committee. This is a requirement of the legislation for Joint Committees. Meetings are held twice yearly and attendance by elected Members is considered less than essential.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

1. Surrey County Council (SCC) be advised that Waverley Borough Council is prepared to manage the enforcement of decriminalised on-street parking enforcement in the Borough of Waverley on condition that SCC funds the provision of four full-time equivalent Parking Attendants and the appropriate level of supporting management, administrative and Notice processing staff and associated overheads;

2. the Director of Environment and Leisure, Director of Finance and Head of Legal Services be authorised to agree the detailed terms and conditions of an Agency Agreement for the management by Waverley Borough Council of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in the Borough of Waverley;

and in the event that those resolutions are agreed, the Executive resolves further to:-

3. set the level of Penalty Charges for parking violations on-street and off-street at 60.00 except for expired tickets in off-street car parks which shall be fixed at 40.00. All penalties to be reduced by 50% for payment within 14 days of the offence, and incremented by 50% for payment after issue of a Charge Certificate.

4. authorise the Head of Legal Services to be granted delegated authority to enter into a National Parking Adjudication Service Section 101 Joint Committee Agreement (Local Government Act 1972); and

5. nominate a representative and substitute representative from the elected Members of the Council to serve on the National Parking Adjudication Service Joint Committee.

Background Papers (DoE&L)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Robin Ellks Telephone: 01483 523411

E-mail: rellks@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523398

E-mail: pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk

comms/o&s3/2005-2006/011