Parking Services is one of the few which generates income for councils and has the opportunity to not be a cost to the council if managed effectively. Also, there is a balance in terms of parking policy and the links to the local strategic plans which dictates the priorities for parking enforcement - whether to be lenient to customers or take a hard line. For example in one council we worked with 8% of issued tickets were cancelled as 'gesture of goodwill or miscellaneous circumstances'.
National trends show that the level of PCNs issued is decreasing and the ratio of appeals to PCNs is increasing as customers become more savvy and have less disposable income.
The questions we ask when working with Parking Services:
- Are you issuing PCNs in accordance with your local strategic policy,
- Are you collecting payments for the appropriate percentage of PCNs considering your demographics,
- Are you minimising the ratio of challenges of PCNs - to be high at informal challenge and low at formal appeal,
- Have you embraced technology to give customers options on their access channel - for example permits online which in turn will reduce your costs,
- Are your processes Lean
- Do you manage your work in and cleared effectively,
- Do you manage permit renewals in an efficient manner embracing technology.
These questions around how the service is delivered should be answered before the questions of in-house delivery, outsource or shared are asked.
We have worked with several councils, who have outsourced part of their service, to identify how the partnership could be working better them and their customers and commercially for the council. Some of the aspects we review when undertaking a review of these partnerships are:
- Is the contract clear and translated into working practices,
- How is the contract managed, in terms of compliance, governance and non-compliance resolution,
- Have you agreed a joint improvement plan where on-going savings and efficiencies made are re-invested in service enhancements for the future,
- Do you have the right skills managing and monitoring the contract.
Our style of working with Parking Services is collaborative and one where we have successfully worked across partnerships to develop pragmatic solutions to improve services. Whether a business case to justify investment in on-line technology, contract monitoring toolkit or process improvements, we have worked with service staff to develop their skills in improving the service.