Friday, 5 July 2013

Mark Williams, MP for Ceredigion, raises parking issues

Parking issues are a hot topic at the moment. The Prankster hears that many MPs are receiving complaints from disgruntled constituents. Mark Williams,  MP for Ceredigion, raised the worries of some of his disabled constituents threatened with civil court proceedings even though they were perfectly entitled to park where they did.

On the subject of court cases, one of the key non-monetised benefits  put forward by the parking industry for introducing keeper liability was that the number of civil court cases would fall. This is documented in this impact assessment document.

Page 2 states one of the three key benefits as "A reduction in the number of cases taken to court, due to the introduction of an independent appeals service, which in turn would benefit the Criminal Justice System."

This seems not to have been the case. A freedom of information request reveals that the total number of court claims issued in 2012 by the parking industry was 600. 34 of these went to hearing.

Compare this with the post keeper liability activities of just one parking company, ParkingEye. In June 2013 alone they issued around 2000 court claims. Yes, that's right! In one month, one parking company issued more than 3 times as many claims as the whole parking industry last year. Of course, we won't have figures on how many of these are going to court until much later; there seems to be quite a delay in the small claims system at the moment. The Parking Prankster wonders how much of this is due to the current ParkingEye feeding frenzy.

The Prankster also wonders how much extra cost and strain this is putting on the justice system. He has no figures for this at the moment.

No doubt it will be offset by the savings the DVLA will be making. The sole financial justification for keeper liability was: "Reductions in administrative burdens on DVLA due to fewer claims being processed from the issue of parking charges (costs to DVLA are recovered via the fee charged for providing vehicle keeper information)."

The Prankster has no figures for the actual reduction achieved by the DVLA so far. He assumes they are mighty and wondrous; he is slightly worried by this email though.

Sent: 05 April 2013 08:55
Subject: FW: Requests from the public
We have a query regarding members of the public obtaining information from the DVLA and what format they should be submitting this in.
This may or may not be of any relevance but the internet forums are providing standard templates for individuals to email/post in to DVLA requesting this information so the volume of this type of request is increasing. Example attached.
The full email exchange can be seen here.

Perhaps the DVLA won't be saving money after all. The Prankster will keep an eye on this situation. Or perhaps an EYE01. (In joke, sorry!)

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

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