Sunday, 6 October 2013


The Parking Prankster has had time to read through the literature provided by the Independent Parking Committee and now provides this easy reference guide to compare the IPC Ltd with the BPA.

This guide is mostly based upon the written code of practice of both bodies and therefore in some cases may differ from their actual practices. Please send any evidence to the usual email address if you think The Prankster has made any factual errors in this comparison.

Independent Parking Committee Limited
British Parking Association
Good honest name
Impersonates authority by not having ‘Limited’ after name and using the word ‘British’
Actively audits members before joining
Asks members to sign a document of compliance
Require sight of copies of all written authority with landowners
Believe operators when they say they have authority
Actively audits wording and design of all signs before they can be used
Let operators do what they want with no pre-checking and little active checking afterwards
Requires a signage site plan of each site
Let operators do what they want with no pre-checking and little active checking afterwards
Actively audits all NtK, NtD and other notices before they can be used
Let operators do what they want with no pre-checking and little active checking afterwards
Encourages transparency and fairness
Is secretive and furtive, deliberately throwing as many hurdles in the way of fairness to motorists as possible
Actively seeks feedback from consumer groups and organisations
Does not seek feedback
Offers additional services to encourage compliance
Prefers to turn a blind eye to matters of non-compliance
Has an independent committee to investigate matters of non-compliance
Matters of noncompliance are investigated in house by paid employees of the BPA
Audits annually
Audits annually
21 days to appeal to operator, with additional time allowed in exceptional circumstances
Does not specify a time to appeal, but some members have a 14 day limit. Does not allow additional time.
Require a resolution within 28 days
Requires a response within 14 days and prefers a resolution within 35 days, but no penalty if this is not adhered to

Requires adherence to Equality Act 2010
Pays lip service to Equality Act 2010, eg requiring bigger bays
Must be able to show pre-estimate of loss calculations for each site
Requires charges to be a pre-estimate of loss but does not enforce or check this
Suggest a grace period of one month where changes occur on a site
No grace period when changes occur
Must have a complaints procedure which is notified to the motorist
No requirement for a complaints procedure
Must not use predatory or misleading tactics
Predatory and misleading tactics are allowed
Grace periods before and after parking must be allowed
Grace period before parking must be allowed
Grace period should be allowed if ticket expires
5 minute grace period if ticket expires
When requesting details from the DVLA outside POFA 2012 must inform the DVLA that keeper liability does not apply if they ask
No requirement to inform the DVLA if they ask
Must not imply registered keeper is liable if POFA 2012 time limits are not kept to
Can imply registered keeper is liable if POFA 2012 time limits are not kept to
Signage must identify the creditor
Signage does not have to identify the creditor
Signage must be clearly worded so the motorist knows whether the charge is contractual or a breach of contract
Signage wording does not have to be clearly worded to show what the charge is for
Additional signage is required at the entrance when changes occur
No additional signage is required at the entrance when changes occur
It is not known if sanction points are awarded transparently
Sanction points are awarded secretly and furtively
Sanction points may be imported from previous ATAs
Sanction points not imported from previous ATAs
Tracks appeal results and actively investigates if more than 60% are upheld in a rolling 3 months
Ignores appeal results, preferring to bury head in sand
Selects 20-50 random charges a year to check compliance
Does not check compliance for random individual cases
Reduction of 40-60% suggested if charge paid within 14 days
Must offer reduction of 40% if charge paid within 14 days

So far so good. The Prankster is very impressed by provisions in the IPC code of conduct so far and is very encouraged by provisions such as the requirement to operate a grace period during change periods, the requirement to provide full documentation on contacts and signage for each site before operations begin, the requirement to have everything audited before joining and the continuing active audit process.

The Prankster also likes the provision that predatory and misleading tactics are specifically outlawed, that signage must identify the creditor and be clearly worded so the motorist knows if charges are for breach of contract or a contractual charge and that the IPC Ltd is actively seeking feedback around its processes.

Unfortunately, now we come to the appeals process.

Independent Parking Committee Limited
British Parking Association
Uses IAS for dispute resolution
Uses POPLA for dispute resolution
Can’t appeal to IAS if you paid
Can’t appeal to POPLA if you paid
IAS only considers legal aspects of case, but can refer to operator if there are mitigating circumstances
POPLA can in rare circumstances consider mitigating circumstances (approximate rate of 8 a year)
Requires that the driver be named and an address provided before an appeal will be considered
Does not require that the driver is identified
Must appeal within 21 days
Must appeal within 28 days
Operator must submit evidence within 5 working days
Operator should submit evidence within 28 days, but can take longer if they like
Motorist does not get a copy of operator evidence
Motorist get a copy of operator evidence
Motorist cannot add new evidence
Motorist can add new evidence at any time before the appeal is considered
Motorist cannot make representations about operator evidence
Motorist can make representations about operator evidence
Encourages operators not to make frivolous or predatory charges by charging more for losing appeals
Does not encourage operators not to make frivolous or predatory charges
Only allows postal appeals
Allows postal and online appeals
Aims to provide a decision within 28 days
Currently decisions may take over 100 days. Currently aims to make decision within 61 days
No easy way to submit video footage and other electronic evidence. Must burn a DVD within the 21 days
Video footage can be submitted electronically
May report to the police if either driver or operator behave dishonestly
Have not reported operator to the police in the past when operator behaves dishonestly
Uses barristers and solicitors to examine the case
Uses recent law graduates under the supervision of a barrister
Must complete and sign a declaration of truth of appeal form
Does not have to sign a declaration of truth. Have taken no action in the past when signed statements by operator prove to be false.

The Prankster considers that the appeals process is fatally flawed by requiring the driver to be named. The Prankster also consider the process to be flawed because the driver does not get to see the operator evidence and make representations concerning it.

Although the operator only gets 5 days to reply, the operator is already required to have filed full evidence with the IPC regarding their signage, authority, and notices. They are also required to have a full breakdown for pre-estimate of loss for all sites. Therefore, this timescale should not be too onerous.

However, by not allowing the motorist time to see and reply to the operator evidence the process is clearly biased towards the operator. This will also encourage the motorist to make huge lengthy appeals so that they can cover all bases. This will no doubt make the cost of the appeal (£15 if they win and £25 if they lose) to the operator too small to cover the actual cost charged by the deciding solicitor/barrister.

In this day and age, not allowing online submissions is a throwback to the dinosaurs.

As the IPC Ltd is actively seeking feedback, The Prankster will be obliging within the next few days.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. You are bang on the money as usual. I don't think the appeal service can be properly run for £15 or £25 and why the cost difference anyway? surely the same detailed consideration should be given to every case. PATAS, for council PCNs, are fairly efficient overall (I'll blog about them one day) and they cost £40 a hearing and have the advantage of large volumes to process (c. 60,000 p.a. - including Barnet Council's numbers which just keep on rising) which keeps the unit cost down so I would be surprised if a new entrant could come in at less than £50 (a lack of a hearing centre doesn't make a huge difference to cost as the adjudicators still have to have an office somewhere unless it was all electronic and they worked from home which is perfectly feasible).

    The inability to add new evidence is to fetter your grounds of appeal and must be a denial of natural justice. A week before the hearing you suddenly realise your car was cloned and you can't appeal on that point. Just plain wrong.

    The requirement to name the driver in a civil matter might be a data protection breach for a Limited Company. As it happens the Mr Mustard blogger bus (van) is registered to a Ltd company of which I am the main shareholder. The van is insured for any driver over 25 with a £1,000 excess (makes people drive carefully) and is freely loaned to any of my 40 neighbours. Unsurprisingly we don't keep a log of neighbours popping in and asking if they can borrow it and with its 8' load length it is often at furniture and DIY stores and also doing university runs (3 of this year alone) and I'm not sure that without their permission the Ltd company (which is DPA registered) can give personal data out?

    The inability to contest evidence isn't a fair trial. The good thing about in person PATAS hearings is that you can point out the strong points of your case, and the weak points of the council's, to the adjudicator who otherwise has to start with the case summary and may not look at all 50 pages. I know they don't because page 50 of a recent postal appeal which I lost was the email from me 4 days before the hearing saying that I hadn't received the evidence pack. I had to request a review (rarely granted) which I went to in person and then the review was allowed and the PCN cancelled.

    For council PCN, PATAS look at unreasonable delay. A delay at any stage of 6 months means the PCN should be cancelled as justice delayed is justice denied and although PATAS often don't pick up this delay themselves once pointed out as an appeal point readily cancel the PCN.

    One of the drawbacks of PATAS as I see it, and probably the same for POPLA, is that they don't spot obvious wrongdoing. They only deal with what the motorist thinks is wrong. Parking law is complicated and this works against the typical man in the street motorist who hasn't got the time, the skill or the inclination to bone up on it.

    Must go and take a look at the allotment now.

  2. Something doesn't add up here. I've never seen an operator demonstrate a genuine pre-estimate of loss. However, IPC expect that to be demonstrated up front? So what's different - are their members tickets much lower?

    As we know the 'GPEOL' argument *always* wins in POPLA appeals, but it can't possibly win on an IPC appeal, otherwise they would be contradicting their own audit process. But since a consumer would never see the operators evidence the motorist could have no confidence that the appeal was decided fairly. As a result I'd put a big cross against IPC in the appeals section for transparency.

    1. As I understand it from reading the CoP, GPEOL is one of the elements which is not pre-audited; however, the operator is expected to have their GPEOL calculation ready and to hand for each individual car park.

      Obviously no parking operator can run a successful company on GPEOL because they would not be allowed to make a profit and many of their costs will not be allowed. I therefore expect one of the three to happen:
      1) The operator moves to a 'contractual charge' model
      2) The operator supplements GPEOL with charging the landowner a fee to manage the car park
      3) The operator does not show a GPEOL, accumulates sanction points and gets banned

    2. Yes, the contractual model is the conclusion I came to too. But, the doesn't that suffer from the problem of being punitive (assuming their charges are in line with BPA members)? It also makes them liable for VAT too.

    3. I don't think VAT is that much of an issue. They will just carry the 'non-payers' as bad debts and claim VAT relief on the VAT element [ie similar to any other business income not yet received].

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. The reason that the PPCs go with "damages for breach of contract" rather than "contractual charge" is that even though claiming breach of contract is on dodgy legal grounds it's not half as dodgy as trying convince that charging £100 for the privilege of parking outside a marked bay or blocking a fire exit is a legitimate "contractual charge" rather than an unenforceable penalty.

  3. Well if every site must have a pre determined estimate of loss, they should put it on their signs! Sorry but I'm not convinced about this whole sham of this pretend ATA, they are there to protect the interests of the parking companies just like the bpa.

    As for taking the feedback of consumers, where is that ? Has the regulars on MSE, Pepipoo, CAG, Parking Prankster, Parking Cowboys been contacted about this? Unless they are utterly stupid they know where people who help motorists reside, they have never to my knowledge asked.

    This is just a joke, they have 5 members one doesn't appear to exist as a company, another has existed for only a couple of months, others have problems on their site with claims and images of authority, and we are literally only hours into their role.

    This is just another way to confuse people, they cannot be trusted!!

    1. Well it looks like my comments from almost 2 years ago are borne out, they are a sham, this is a pretend ATA, and they are there to protect the interests of the scammers on their books.

  4. Oh dear, a brave attempt but no cigar.

    I like their interpretation of the word Independent, some readers may have alreay spotted that the ATA, the firm of tame Solicitors and one of the ATA members are all based in Red Cow Yard at Knutsford.

    That and the fact that some of the players involved are directors not only of the ATA but also at the firm of "Independent" solicitors as well adds an interesting twist to this tale..

    Such an innovative approach brings a whole new meaning to the definition of Independent; well done those men!



  5. Not sure they could force you to sign a statement of truth. Not sure either whether they could report you to the police for lying in evidence given to a body who have no power whatsoever to order you to do anything. Only a judge can do that and I wouldn't lie to him/her.

    This new lot are simply trying to give themselves an air of authority, legitimacy and independence they do not have, just as Popla did.

    Same crap, different day.