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marvin28
A number of people in Rotherham have received "Parking Charge Notices" from TPS while parked on Council property. A FOI request was made to Rotherham Council to establish the nature of the relationship between the two. Their response is below; in summary:

  • The arrangement is in places where a Traffic Order is not practicable but the council want to enforce parking.
  • There is no contract between them.
  • TPS tickets are issued by Council CEOs
  • 1321 were issued in the financial year just ended.
  • The council receive 50% of the income
  • The VAT number on the invoice ("PCN") appears to be invalid.


I have no vendatta against Rotherham or TPS but do think there is something not right. Without a contract, can TPS really tell us that failure to pay may result in court action? The council appear to be doing the work - TPS just seem to be sending a letter, processing payments and receiving £19k for not very much effort - is that good value? Is this all legally correct? Normal/unusual? Should this be followed up somehow?

QUOTE
FOI RESPONSE

1. A list of locations in which TPS operates on behalf of the Council.
  • St Anns Leisure Centre (on behalf of DC Leisure)
  • Maltby Leisure Centre (on behalf of DC Leisure)
  • Aughton Leisure Centre (on behalf of DC Leisure)
  • Parkgate Shopping Centre (on behalf of Northern Shopping and Retail Parks)
  • Central Library staff car park
  • Civic Offices staff car park
  • Norfolk House staff car park
  • Doncaster Gate staff car park
  • Bailey House staff car park
  • Clifton Park & Museum
  • York Road garage site
  • Greasbrough Road depot access road
  • Rotherham Market traders’ car park
  • William Street grassed area
  • Park Lea Rotherham
  • Wath Library car park disabled bays
  • Montgomery Hall Wath car park disabled bays
  • Queen Street Swinton car park disabled bays
  • Church Street Swinton car park disabled bays
  • Constable Lane Dinnington car park disabled bays


2. Copies of any internal correspondence and meeting minutes relating to the decision to contract with TPS. Why was this decision made when the council could instead use their own staff under the Traffic Management Act?

There is no formal contract between the Council and Total Parking Solutions. The working arrangement was set up to allow lawful parking enforcement in locations where the Council’s Legal Service advised that a Traffic Regulation Order was not appropriate (the initial site was Greasbough Road depot access road, where dangerous parking activities caused a near fatality). Parking enforcement cannot be undertaken under The Traffic Management Act 2004 without a Traffic Regulation Order being in place. Accordingly, the Council’s Civil Enforcement Officers undertake the enforcement duties and TPS administer the scheme based on lawful enforcement of unauthorised parking on private land.


3. A copy of the contract(s) between TPS and the Council for all locations.

There is no contract in place.


4. A copy of the posted terms and conditions for parking at the car parks.

Each car park has signage stating the parking restrictions e.g. “Blue Badge Holders Only” or “Park Wholly Within the Marked Bays”. The following text is then included on the signs:

“Vehicles contravening parking conditions will result in the issue of a PARKING CHARGE NOTICE of £60 reduced to £40 if paid within 14 days. Additional costs will be incurred for late payment. We may contact the DVLA to obtain drivers’ details. Vehciles and their contents are left entirely at the owner’s risk. TPS will not accept liability for any loss, damage or injury incurred vehicles or persons however caused.”


5. The total number of invoices that TPS have issued in the Council car parks over the most recent 12-month period (e.g. financial year 2010/11, calendar year 2010 or similar).

The Council’s CEOs issued a total of 1321 parking charge notices in conjunction with TPS during the financial year 2010 / 11.


6. The total monetary amount of those invoices.

1321 x £60 = £79,260 or 1321 x £40 = £52,840 if paid at discount rate


7. The number and monetary amount of invoices that were paid by drivers during the same 12-month period.

The monetry amount paid during the financial year 2010 / 11 was £38,977.67.


8. The total income received by the Council from TPS (or payment to TPS from the Council) during the same 12-month period.

The total income received by the Council from TPS during the financial year 2010 / 11 was £19,488.83.


9. Template copies of the invoices and all subsequent reminders that were issued during the same 12-month period.

A blank parking charge notice (both sides) and a “Notice to Owner” document are attached.

Parking charge notice p1 image
Parking charge notice p2 image
Notice To Owner PDF
[No other docs supplied. It's not clear whether TPS stop at the "NTO" or whether they send more of their paper chain. The "NTO" does threaten that more correspondence will be sent.]

10. Template copies of the invoices and all subsequent reminders that are presently being issued, if different

N/A
Bogsy
Without a contract then I don't see how TPS can demonstrate"reasonable cause" to obtain keeper details from the DVLA. This is required to be seen by DVLA, see page 22.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/gr...t/dg_193598.pdf

and see the notes for Section 2

http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/gr...t/dg_065259.pdf

Could be some very naughty goings on here. I'd FOI the DVLA asking on what grounds are they releasing details to TPS for contraventions occuring on council land.
hcandersen
Contract = agreement.

No contract is clearly nonsense.

Ask for the committee reports that deal with this issue.

Councils are statutory creatures who are not permitted to take "50%" of monies unless that's all they're due. And if that's all, why? Some councils find income generating contracts fall outside their standing orders because they're so used to forking out money, not receiving it.

I think you might need to pose the questions in a more open way.

Ultimately your recourse is to the District Auditor (see Moss v District Auditor, KPMG: [2010] EWHC 2923 (Admin)) as I don't think this is a case you could take to the LGO.

HCA


bama
as per HCa.
"There is no contract in place." = bollocks.

can we see one of these wonderous 'PCNs' ?

and signs from the car park(s)
marvin28
Thanks for the replies.

I suspect they have no formal contract but that some agreement exists, e.g. they emailed a bunch of companies, TPS replied with suggested terms and the council went ahead. Yes an open-ended question may elicit the response.

I like the idea of FOI the DVLA, will do.

The "PCN" claims 3 times that the charge "must be paid within 28 days". Why must it? Is this a lawful claim?

Whereas most PPC stuff should be ignored, I'm minded to think that the air of legitimacy they get from working with the council means that everything should all be legally correct.




QUOTE (bama @ Tue, 10 May 2011 - 20:29) *
can we see one of these wonderous 'PCNs' ?

and signs from the car park(s)


PCN/NTO (oh yes) linked within the opening post.

Signs - no they didn't answer that fully, they just quoted a select paragraph. Perhaps I should take a trip to Rotherham, make a followup FOI or someone in Rotherham could snap one.
bama
apols. looked at the docs.

pure PPC of course.

VAT number not valid for sure

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/...ctedLanguage=EN
Lynnzer
Pity this topic seems to have dried up.
There are serious doubts on the overall basis of this cosy little arrangement.
Since the car parks involved aren't covered by a Traffic Order how in hell can they legally issue anything that looks anything like a PCN?
I think I might be tempted to park and collect a PCN in one of these car-parks. Just for the hell of it.
Then run the whole process of sitting it out with no payment or correspondence to either the council or the "collection agency"
Rotherham is just a bit out of my neck of the woods though so maybe someone else may volunteer?

Any takers?
Gan
The proportion of tickets actually paid looks in line with the info I got from another PPC.

We've seen a few examples where councils form these partnerships or even issue tickets themselves in a PPC capacity.
Can't see how it makes them any more legitimate than the invoices from any commercial company, or any more likely to result in court action.

Wonder if the council are aware of the standard threatogram chains. Perhaps it's worth waiting for the full set and asking why the council is involved in such unsavoury companies and practices.

TPS have been using an invalid VAT number since at least last June.
matttheladd
Interesting thread!

I wonder about the legality of CEOs issuing these "invoices". I am thinking that if these CEOs are on the pay roll of the local authority would it be deemed that they are public servants and therefore can only be used to carry out duties on behalf of the LA who act and maintain services on behalf of the public? Can the LA legally redirect these employees to enforce a scheme that has been set up to deal with issues that are clearly "internal" problems and one that is effectivley a cash generating affair? It begs the questions as to what happens to the 19k "the Council" receive and how the personal employment contracts of the CEOs deals with their extra "duties"!

The FOI reply states that their legal services have said that getting a TRO for the places listed is not appropriate and so TPS "administer the scheme based on lawful enforcement of unauthorised parking on private land. Private Land? Can a Local Authority that is funded by the public "own" private land?

Further more, why can't the disabled parking places mentioned be covered by a TRO or PPO? Most on/off street disabled parking places are contained within TRO/PPOs so what is unique about them?

Alexis
I have no idea how I missed this.

This is a completely unlawful arrangement and numerous offences have been committed in my opinion. Misfeasance in public office would be on there too.

Rotherham Council have fraudulently obtained £19k from the public.

A think an information pack is in order, posted to a) the council b) Trading Standards and c) the local papers.

Priority is to get this money refunded in my opinion,
whitewing
Do they put the council name on the tickets or threatograms to make them look more like real ones?
matttheladd
looking at the scann documents provided, no! The "ticket" only shows the TPS logo and makes no mention of working in partnership with RBC or the likes. I think that would really make their heads stick above the parapit!

OP... if you are going to do some follow up enquiries could you do it via the Whatdotheyknow website... it might raise a few more questions from other members of the public? Ofcourse, tactically, you may want to hold things closer to your chest if case building is an aim of yours...or others! ;-)
Lynnzer
QUOTE (whitewing @ Fri, 17 Jun 2011 - 11:02) *
Do they put the council name on the tickets or threatograms to make them look more like real ones?

Copieis of the front and back of the Parking Charge Notice can be found further up the thread.
There's no mention of Rotherham Council on them.
As for the right to access details from the DVLA I think this has it covered, or not !!

Like I said, it would be good to see someone bite the bullet on this and pick up one of these tickets. Naturally it's completely unenforceable without any certainty of who the driver is.
What's worrying from the NTO is the very aggressively worded threats of legal action, debt collection etc.
Most people would fold at this point and pay up. Like I said somewhere else on the forum, the only people who pay these things are those without the common-sense to at least Google for the company name TPS and find out what they're all about, but since some of these people are probably grannies and the mentally incapacitated doesn't mean they deserve to be caught out with such threats.
A good starting point here would be someone on the local rag with some particularly cutting questioning of the councillor responsible for the whole shebang.
Since it's outside of the normal parking enforcement scheme you can't point the finger at that department unless they have themselves authorised it, in which case a FOI should throw up some letters or emails for the agreement.
Maybe an FOI along the lines of "Please supply me with copies of all information that was passed between the Council and TPS in respect of them taking on the role of parking enforcement for the councils carparks."
Gan
I've commented before on people who are too lazy to Google a private ticket.

What surprised me recently was to learn that they are by far the majority. Had a conversation with a PPC rep at a trade show who told me that 65% are paid without question.

When i commented that I would have checked a ticket from a private company, he informed me that this was most unusual.
axeman
QUOTE (Lynnzer @ Thu, 16 Jun 2011 - 21:50) *
Pity this topic seems to have dried up.
There are serious doubts on the overall basis of this cosy little arrangement.
Since the car parks involved aren't covered by a Traffic Order how in hell can they legally issue anything that looks anything like a PCN?
I think I might be tempted to park and collect a PCN in one of these car-parks. Just for the hell of it.
Then run the whole process of sitting it out with no payment or correspondence to either the council or the "collection agency"
Rotherham is just a bit out of my neck of the woods though so maybe someone else may volunteer?

Any takers?


as it happens I will be at the Parkgate Shopping Centre (on behalf of Northern Shopping and Retail Parks) tomorrow It's not a council property but mentioned in the OP,s first post, if satisfactory will do my best to oblige, may park accross 2 bays, it's a an extreemly large, parking area so no promises.
bama
point HMRC at the invalid VAT No. - just to be going on with smile.gif
marvin28
QUOTE (Alexis @ Fri, 17 Jun 2011 - 10:20) *
I have no idea how I missed this.

This is a completely unlawful arrangement and numerous offences have been committed in my opinion. Misfeasance in public office would be on there too.

Rotherham Council have fraudulently obtained £19k from the public.


Care to elaborate?

Am happy to do a follow-up FoI but what to ask?

buttonpusher
Post 13, ""Naturally it's completely unenforceable without any certainty of who the driver is.""
Any chance that's why they are trying to make the RK responsible as they will want to outsource all parking to PPC's? Or am I being paranoid?

StevenA
Thank you all for the very interesting information given on this thread. Along with existing advice from other threads I believe the recent "Parking Charge Notice" received in Clifton Park Museum car park this last week can be ignored.

Naturally I have concerns with the ticket being issued by a council CEO that it holds more weight and may possibly be carried through to court proceedings.

A little background on the ticket being issued.
I am the registered keeper but wasn't driving at the time.
The person driving was invited to attend a course on the premises and wasn't aware of a Pay and Display practice being in place. Apparently very little signage is shown in the area where they parked and the sign to the larger car park was reversed to them. (discovered later)
On returning to the car at lunchtime a 'PCN' had been attached and of course alerted the driver to the pay and display fact whereupon they purchased a ticket to cover the afternoon session.

Now, this was a genuine mistake and although the driver admits to owing £3 for the mornings parking, we feel the £60 (dropping to £40 if paid within 14 days) is an exorbitant price. The driver had a conversation with staff and they said they are not responsible for the car park so an offer to pay the £3 was not possible.

My question is, do we offer to pay the 'losses' to Total Parking Solutions or will this fall on deaf ears now a 'PCN' has been issued? I feel it will and so question making any contact at all.

I'm happy to defend the case if it does end up at court as I feel the charge to be excessive, plus I'd be interested to hear how they came to this amount. The car park was not busy and spaces were available so other loss of earnings shouldn't come into question.

A copy of the 'PCN' can be seen here:
http://i.imgur.com/G4FDU.jpg

Thanks for any advice!
Alexis
TPS have never ever done court.

The driver made a genuine effort to recompense the landowner (via his agents) for the loss incurred. This was rejected, or deemed unnecessary.

Feel free to email them and just say

"Re. PCN number 123456

The driver was unaware that there was a charge for parking on the land in relation to the above invoice. Once it became apparent, an offer was made to pay the sum of £3 to an agent of the landowner. This was deemed unnecessary and the matter is now closed.

Any correspondence from yourselves to either the driver or the keeper will be disregarded. It would be prudent to save your own costs and restrain from sending any letters in relation to the above invoice, as no amount is owed or will be paid."
Gan
Please start your own thread if you've received a ticket.

If it's a parking notice from TPS it doesn't have the legal backing of genuine council tickets.

The MD of TPS tells his friends that private tickets can be ignored. Do the same.
StevenA
Thanks for the quick reply Gan. My apologies for any thread hijacking.

QUOTE (Alexis @ Mon, 13 Feb 2012 - 15:30) *
TPS have never ever done court.

The driver made a genuine effort to recompense the landowner (via his agents) for the loss incurred. This was rejected, or deemed unnecessary.

Feel free to email them and just say

"Re. PCN number 123456

The driver was unaware that there was a charge for parking on the land in relation to the above invoice. Once it became apparent, an offer was made to pay the sum of £3 to an agent of the landowner. This was deemed unnecessary and the matter is now closed.

Any correspondence from yourselves to either the driver or the keeper will be disregarded. It would be prudent to save your own costs and restrain from sending any letters in relation to the above invoice, as no amount is owed or will be paid."



Very good of you to take the time to write out a response to them for us. Thank you.

greasmonkey
the council say they employed tps to administer the scheme
on lawful enforcement of unauthorised parking on prvate land
its not private land it is public land so i would think that it is ilegal
and any money obtained should be returned it probably needs
someone to take the council to court
The Rookie
There are hints above on how to challenge the councils handling of this, feel free to read, what would you be taking the council to court for...only case you may have is to pay a ticket and then sue for the money back.

Simon
Salouboo
Well my family went swimming to Rotherham leisure complex near parkgate rotherham and I got a PCN from TPS parking enforcement. I had been to the pool the previous friday and there was a note stuck to the payment machine saying there was no charge for parking and the same on the following sunday so when I went on last friday I didn't even look as I thought there was no charge. So feeling very miffed I have read the blogs and decided to ignore the notice and go from there. I would have had any payment refunded by the leisure centre anyway and I have a receipt to show we were there legitimately. If anyone has any other advice please let me know. I'll keep you posted on progress. I really hate the implied legality of these companies so am ready for a fight. I don't have a legal background so all advice very welcome. It seems to me that a misleading sign read on my first visit makes it perfectly reasonable for me to assume parking charges did not apply as I regulary visit two other leisure centres run by dc leisure and they are free parking.
SchoolRunMum
QUOTE (Salouboo @ Sun, 12 Aug 2012 - 08:46) *
Well my family went swimming to Rotherham leisure complex near parkgate rotherham and I got a PCN from TPS parking enforcement...



You got a fake PCN not a real one!

The advice is the same to you here on this old thread, same as if you'd posted a new topic:

IGNORE IT!

You will get a stream of junk mail to keep your cat litter tray or hamster cage nicely lined over the coming months:

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2214803

That's it really. Also watch the Watchdog clip shown on that thread. Don't respond, treat it like a series of phishing emails. Nothing happens, no effect on credit rating.
marvin28
QUOTE (Salouboo @ Sun, 12 Aug 2012 - 08:46) *
Well my family went swimming to Rotherham leisure complex near parkgate rotherham and I got a PCN from TPS parking enforcement.


Please scan/photo all sides of the "PCN", blank out identifying details (number, reg number) and post it on this thread. It will be interesting to see what the current ones say.

I understand that they were using an invalid VAT number and it will be interesting to see if that is still the case.
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