Council responds to false accusations on parking
Today’s Daily Mail and Mail Online falsely report that Hackney Council illegally sets targets and incentives for parking wardens and made a parking surplus of £7.9 million last year. The claims are based on accusations made during BBC One's Inside Out programme.
These claims are both wilfully misleading and factually inaccurate. Hackney Council's parking contract sets no targets for the issue of penalty charge notices and our contractor only issues tickets where vehicles are contravening parking restrictions. The Council made £4.9 million surplus last year, not £7.9 million. This was used to help cover the cost of concessionary travel for older and disabled residents, into which Hackney invested £11.2 million in total. Performance indicators are needed to gauge the effectiveness of the contractor, value for money of the contract and encourage appropriate enforcement. The parking contract was reviewed by the Council’s own procurement, legal and finance officers as well as by external counsel and auditors who all found it adheres to legislation. Indeed, external legal advice last year concluded it was entirely appropriate, and probably required by government guidance, that this contract include numerical benchmarks so long as no related performance targets are set. Hackney Council focuses on making its parking enforcement fair and transparent and restrictions exist only where there is a clear need. The proportion of successful appeals to the independent parking adjudicator has halved in Hackney over the past few years. So far this financial year, almost three-quarters of appeals have been found in favour of the Council, higher than the London average of 52 per cent. This suggests that our officers are increasingly getting it right. Because of the potential misinterpretation of the performance indicator referenced, which was used solely for statistical analysis, the Council decided last year to remove it from the contract. This decision was taken on the grounds of public perception and not legal concerns. We will be more than happy to work with lawyers at the Department for Communities and Local Government and have no doubts our parking contract will be found to be entirely lawful.