Council makes parking savings but drivers see increase in fines over past year

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Warwickshire County Council is on course to make hundreds of thousands of pounds of savings after it out sourced its parking enforcement and administration contract to a private firm.

A report made by the council says that the parking enforcement contract, given to NSL Ltd in November 2014, should deliver targeted savings of £540,000 by the end of this year rising to £920,000 by the end of 2018.

But some of these savings have been made at a cost to more motorists who break parking rules, with 34,000 penalty charge notices being issued in 12 months from November 2014 - which is 18 per cent more than the annual average of 29,000 since 2011.

The report says: “It should be noted that in 2011 31,000 penalty charges were issued in Warwickshire, which included only two months of enforcement in Nuneaton and Bedworth. NSL’s rate of penalty charge issue in the first 12 months of the contract is therefore roughly commensurate with that of the District and Borough Councils in 2011.

“The issue rate is being maintained with a reduced number of civil enforcement officers compared to historical norms.

“This demonstrates the targeted and intelligent approach to enforcement being

undertaken.”

Before NSL took on the five-year contract in 2014, civil parking enforcement was operated by Stratford District Council, Rugby Borough Council - which also administered Nuneaton and Bedworth - and Warwick District Council.

On the first day of the contract 20 Civil Enforcement Officers transferred to

NSL and seven back office support staff transferred to NSL on their existing terms and conditions.

These backroom staff, however, were made redundant due to the “remote location” of the new back office and now 17 enforcement officers remain.

The report says: “This staff turnover rate of 15 per cent compares favourably with the experience of other Highway Authorities that have been through a similar process.”

The report adds: “There were some issues in the early stages of the contract, as would be expected in a mobilisation of this scale.

“These issues centred on the transfer of historical data from the district and borough councils over to NSL.

“This impacted on a small number of residents who experienced longer than expected call waiting times and printing issues relating to parking permit renewals.”

The report also says that, due to a new maintenance contract arranged by the council, only 2.8 per cent of pay and display machines were out of order last month compared to 48 per cent in November 2014.

The council says it now has greater control of the parking enforcement operation which it monitors through key performance indicators.

It has also hailed the success of its parking enforcement line with 288 calls being received from October 2015 to November 2015 and 130 charges issued as a result.