Thursday, 22 August 2013

Richard Reeve goes Runabout. Can POPLA still call itself independent?

Richard Reeve

Richard Reeve is Tribunal Manager at POPLA. In the recently published April minutes of the British Parking Association Limited AOS Board, it transpires he has been making visits to Parking Companies, and is more than willing to continue the practice.

"Richard Reeve has held meetings with a number of operators, which have proved useful, and he is happy to hold further meetings with others if they are requested"

These meetings are in addition to the training seminars Richard Reeve has been conducting for the Operators (blogged about here). In a hasty spin last month, Nick Lester stated that the training sessions were above board because they were arranged by the British Parking Association Limited. These other meetings appear to be arranged by Richard Reeve off his own bat, without BPA Ltd involvement. The Prankster eagerly awaits Nick Lester's spin on these meetings.

The Prankster takes this as another sign that POPLA is not independent. It cannot be right that POPLA employees hold private meetings with members of the parking industry unless they are equally prepared to offer meetings with private motorists too. If any private motorist successfully arranges a meeting with Richard Reeve, please let The Prankster know so he can publish a retraction. Richard Reeve can be contacted for appointment bookings by the Parking Companies on 0207 520 7202.

Nick Lester

In a flagrant display of disdain for the motorist, Nick Lester (he of many hats) produced statistics for the parking operators analysing the categories of POPLA appeals. The top category of appeal was signage, followed by fluttering tickets, which he noted were usually refused.

The Prankster notes that these statistics are never made available to motorists, putting them at a significant disadvantage. Indeed, in his annual report the lead adjudicator made clear his refusal to make results available to the public, even though PATAS does.

The Prankster considers that if POPLA wish to appear independent, they should make all statistics equally available to all parties.

The Prankster wonders why Nick Lester is spending his time compiling figures on behalf of the parking operators while he is supposed to be independent.

The Prankster wonders why POPLA is making these statistics available to Nick Lester.

Michael Greenslade

Michael Greenslade is the lead adjudicator of POPLA. He is supposed to be independent, but offers a backdoor service to parking operators where appeal decisions can be reviewed offline.
"if there appears to be a repeated error in judgment on a matter of principle, this should be taken offline for Michael Greenslade to consider/address."
The Prankster considers this is an abuse of access to POPLA. If Michael Greenslade is willing to correct repeated errors on behalf of parking operators there should also be a mechanism where motorist groups can have the same access and service levels. This should be published and transparent.

Other News

The Prankster also found the following interesting snippets in the minutes.
  • As well as ParkingEye losing vast sums of money at court hearings, Excel have announced they want to join the party and have found some lawyers willing to turn up for cash. If any other parking companies wish to join in, Excel can put them in touch. Parking Companies typically lose around £200-£300 if the case goes to hearing and they use solicitors, even if they win the case.
  • Parking Companies don't like the BPA Ltd, and have compiled an anonymous we-hate-you document. The BPA Ltd disagree, but the crunch will come when the second ATA, Independent Parking Committee, goes live. The Prankster is no longer taking bets that ParkingEye will be the biggest company to leave the BPA Ltd.
  • The DVLA cannot service parking operators requests fast enough, even though it makes £millions from them. Presumably it has not yet occurred to the DVLA to hire some more staff.
  • There are half as many POPLA appeals as predicted, but it is costing more than expected. The operators wanted to know if the BPA Ltd would be paying POPLA the increased sum. The BPA replied they were doing their best to drive costs down. The Prankster notes that this meeting was in April, appeal numbers have been rising since then, and many more assessors have been hired. He predicts that cost will rise.
  • The DVLA suspension principles were circulated. These are also available online, and make interesting reading. Sadly, the DVLA do not appear to be following their own principles.
  • The BPA Ltd do not want their Operator Handbook to get into the hands of the public. The Prankster wonders if this is so why they put large sections of it on their website a while back. The Prankster found it interesting reading
  • The BPA Ltd stated that "POPLA is an ADR service which can be used to offset the County Court system, and can be offered or withdrawn at any time". Presumably they will withdraw it when it starts to cost them too much money to operate.
  • The POPLA delay was stated to be 5 days, which is amusing considering The Prankster's oldest appeal is now 120 days, and their own figures show they had 794 appeals more than 9 days late at the time of the meeting (28/4/2013).
  • The DfT's Tony Boucher appears to be viewing POPLA as a hot potato, and is now distancing himself
  • Some clampers have gone out of business. 
A lot of food for thought there!

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. We all know that PoPLA are The PPCs puppet, but interesting to note that the advice was that The PPC was under obligation to answer every question and point raised by an Appellant at PoPLA. Just underlines that a detailed and comprehensive appeal should always result in a win.

  2. PATAS the independent body that handles appeals against proper parking fines in London publishes all its adjudications. Key cases that establish points of principle are published in full but for every case they publish what the appellant submitted and the assessors decision including reasons.

    Until POPLA does likewise it can never be considered independent when there is no transparency or external scrutiny possible.

  3. The ParkingEye lawyer atttendances are costing a lot of money for sure. However, if respondents wised up to them it would not only cost a hell of a lot more but quite probably sink their ship. A contracted in lawyer has no right of representation on behalf of ParkingEye. There has to be someone in the actual employ of the company in attendance. It stands to reason. If the judge were to ask about operational procedures for instance, a contracted in representative couldn't speak for them.
    Any case being heard should be tackled at the very beginning of the hearing as to the status of the PE reepresentative. A recent case on PPP which is for a hearing in Whitehaven was set back a fortnight when the judge sussed out this abuse. PE have to have an actual employee attend for the continuance.
    I can see the employee ranks of PE getting very large or quite a few courts taking the hump with them

    If everone brings this to the attention of the judges involved the wind will quickly stop blowing on their sails

    1. I couldn't find this on PPP so if you email me a link I'll update