The BPA has issued a minor revision to the code of practice, in part to address issues caused by the UK Parking Control scandal.
The changes are as follows.
Clause 6.6 - An additional sentence will be inserted at the end of Clause 6.6 which says: ‘Depending on the nature and severity of the alleged Code breach, we may issue suspended Sanction Points and/or a formal letter of censure’.
This allows the BPA to tailor their response to a breach so that the operator is given a reprieve as long as they do not repeat the offence.
Clauses 7.1 & 7.2 - The wording for these Clauses will be amended as follows:
7.1 - If you do not own the land on which you are carrying out parking management, you must have the written authorisation of the landowner (or their appointed agent). The written confirmation must be given before you can start operating on the land in question and give you the authority to carry out all the aspects of car park management for the site that you are responsible for. In particular, it must say that the landowner (or their appointed agent) requires you to keep to the Code of Practice and that you have the authority to pursue outstanding parking charges.
7.2 - If the operator wishes to take legal action on any outstanding parking charges, they must ensure that they have the written authority of the landowner (or their appointed agent) prior to legal action being taken.
This replaces the previous more detailed requirements
7.2. The written authorisation must also set out:
a the definition of the land on which you may operate, so that the boundaries of the land can be clearly defined
b any conditions or restrictions on parking control and enforcement operations, including any restrictions on hours of operation
c any conditions or restrictions on the types of vehicles that may, or may not, be subject to parking control and enforcement
d who has the responsibility for putting up and maintaining signs
e the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement
f whether or not the landowner authorises you to take legal action to recover charges due from drivers charged for unauthorised parking.
NEW CLAUSE 9.4 - In order to outlaw the practice of paying financial incentives to wardens based on the volume of tickets issued by them the following Clause will be introduced;
Effective from 1st October 2015, the practice of offering financial incentives to AOS parking attendants/wardens which relate to the quantity of PCNs issued by them, will be prohibited within all new employee contracts.
This is an attempt to the kind of sharp practice which occurred in the UK Parking Control scandal. By removing financial incentives from wardens they will not be tempted into issuing bogus tickets in order to meet targets. This still leaves the problem of existing employee contracts; however it may be impractical to change these.
It is noteworthy that the Independent Parking Committee do not have this kind of restriction, so their members will continue to be incentivised if they issue bogus tickets. The Prankster has been informed that Vehicle Control Services, one of the IPC's largest members, use financial incentives. Their wardens are paid £1 a ticket for each of the first 40 tickets issued a week, and £10 per ticket after that.
Clause 13.4 - This Clause will be extended to say ‘If the location is one where parking is normally permitted, the Grace Period at the end of the parking period should be a minimum of 10 minutes’.
This is a welcome change. In the past companies have issued charges for only a few seconds overstay. This will bring grace periods into line with council tickets
Clause 16.5 - This Clause will be removed.
Thus clause stated:
If your landowner provides a concession that allows parking for disabled people, if a vehicle displays a valid Blue Badge you must not issue it with parking charge notices.
This is a worrying change.
Clause 22.1 - The word ‘challenge’ will be amended to ‘appeal’ throughout all the Clauses in Section 22.
It is hoped that operators will not use this wording change as an excuse not to issue POPLA codes when a charge is challenged.
NEW CLAUSE 22.21 - This Clause will read as follows ‘The deadline for payment following a POPLA decision in favour of the Operator should be 28 days.’
This brings payment schedules in line with council charges
NEW CLAUSE 22.12.1 - Within all Appeal Rejection Letters, and in order to comply with the EU ADR Directive, the following wording should be used;
‘You have now reached the end of our internal appeals procedure.
[Insert standard operator text to appeal to POPLA, including 28 day time limit for doing so, the POPLA verification code and the POPLA website address]
By law we are also required to inform you that Ombudsman Services (www.ombudsman-services.org/) provides an alternative dispute resolution service that would be competent to deal with your appeal. However, we have not chosen to participate in their alternative dispute resolution service. As such should you wish to appeal then you must do so to POPLA, as explained above.’
This is to comply with regulation 19.2 of the new ADR statute. The Prankster was not aware that Ombudsman Services had an ADR Entity who could deal with parking appeals, and so will check this out. Ironically, there is an ADR Entity who are approved to deal with parking appeals - the IPC IAS service. The Prankster would strongly advise against using this service. It is in The Prankster's opinion essentially a kangaroo court for the following reasons; it does not meet the statute requirements for a real ADR Entity; operators are allowed to provide false information to the appeals service; the IPC directors ail to take action when evidence of fraud is presented to them; motorists do not get to comment on the operators final evidence, although operators can comment on the motorists; assessors do not appear to have proper legal knowledge regarding parking regulations and consumer protection laws (or are institutionally biased); an improper weighting is placed on evidence - any old rubbish the operator states is routinely believed; however an almost impossibly high bar is placed on motorists evidence.
For an example of a typical result showing poor legal knowledge, incorrect usage of case law, clear bias against the motorist, and a complete ignoring of the actual case raised by the motorist, see here. In The Prankster's opinion no properly legally qualified person would make this ruling and consider it fair and unbiased.
This service cannot be touched with a bargepole.
A number of changes have been made to the code of practice; some beneficial to motorists and some harmful. On balance the addition of a specific grace period and removal of warden incentives should be seen as positive steps; however disabled drivers may disagree.
The deadline for putting mandatory entrance signs in place has now passed. Parking signs are only required where there is invitation for public to park. No Parking signs are required on permit holders only sites, or sites not set for the general public such as commercial, residential, and educational.
We can now expect the BPA to start auditing this. However they only have limited manpower and so motorists can assist with this. Any BPA car parks without entrance signs can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry signs are an important protection for motorists. They provide a standardised way for motorists to know if parking restrictions apply, and warn them to look out
The Independent Parking Committee have removed the requirement for entrance signage. This will cause more motorists to fail to notice the requirements and allow their members to issue more charges.
BPA or IPC
The code of practice changes show he BPA are making attempts to be more motorist friendly while the IPC are moving towards allowing their members to line their pockets by issuing more charges. The Prankster therefore advises motorists that where there is a choice a BPA car park should be preferred over an IPC one. Landowners should steer well clear of using IPC members and of course any operator who offers to manage their car park for free; this can only lead to aggressive ticketing and loss of business as customers are driven away.
The Prankster has been informed of at least one landowner threatened with losing a large business parking because the IPC operator continues with an aggressive and inflexible enforcement scheme.
The Parking Prankster