Thursday, 19 September 2013

POPLA win a temporary reprieve

Previously The Parking Prankster reported that POPLA was under threat. The parking operator's don't like it; the Department for Transport doesn't like it; motorists don't like it and internally even the assessors are repeatedly snubbing the Lead Adjudicator's authority.

Today, it seems like POPLA has won a reprieve, if only temporarily. The July 18minutes of the BPA Ltd AOS meeting are available here, (post #14), and they show that a vote was taken on whether POPLA should be put out of its misery.

3 members supported a vote to terminate POPLA at the earliest opportunity and re-let to an alternate supplier. Nick Lester did not vote for this option. (This isn't because he works for London Councils, the body running POPLA; rather, he left the meeting before the vote.)

8 members supported a vote to re-write the contract, impose stricter terms and conditions, and once these are violated terminate the contract and re-let. This may provide an earlier get-out than waiting for the 18 month break clause. Although POPLA may whine and complain at having the contract re-written, the BPA are past masters at changing the goal-posts. Inconvenient terms and conditions are a fluid concept for the BPA Ltd and so POPLA are not likely to win this argument.

One member abstained. This takes the total to 13 of the 16 present. Initially, The Prankster thought that the BPA had applied a 40% discount to the votes as an early-bird discount, but later considered that perhaps some of those present did not have voting rights.

POPLA is therefore safe for the moment, at least until they fail to meet their performance targets or the 18 month break period arrives. The Prankster wonders whether the printers at POPLA palace are busy spewing out CV's.

The Prankster also notes that the minutes are very brief compared to previous minutes. Presumably this is because the BPA Ltd now know they will be available via FoI requests.

A financial projection paper on POPLA was distributed, but has not been provided. A proposal was made regarding fees, but was voted against. Although the minutes do not state what the proposal was, The Prankster assumes that it was a fee increase to take account of projected increases in POPLA costs. The Prankster wonders how POPLA will be funded if the operators do not want to pay for it; presumably the BPA Ltd will have to tighten its belt.

Two code of practice items were proposed for review. The minutes do not state which items these were.

Lastly, some board members were highly miffed that the government had allowed competition into this sector, and appointed a second ATA. Other board members were quiet - perhaps because they are already contemplating jumping ship. The Prankster will keep an eye on the situation.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

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