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What is involved in contracting out the management of a parish council owned car park.

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Hi,our parish council owns two car parks,the ticket machines are old, cash only type, we pay to have the cash collected from them, we manually issue permits from our office, we also employ an enforcement officer.

I would be pleased to have some advice on other options, particularly letting a third party manage and enforce the whole operation, many thanks,take care and stay safe.
asked by (180 points)

1 Answer

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Hi Swalcliffe,

This is interesting on two points. Many district/borough/county councils have not given delegated powers to parish councils for parking enforcement so that's great you've been able to achieve that. Are you able to tell me which parish council you are with as I'd love to speak more and create a case study?

On to your actual point, the British Parking Association is a good place to start (Perhaps you're already members). Research private car parks nearby and take a look at their website for the services they provide. Like everything, there are pros and cons to outsourcing. As a Parish Council, your primary concern is your community and you want to ensure the company you use matches yours and the communities expectations in regards to fairness and customer service. There are way too many stories about overzealous private companies. Some companies will pay a monthly land fee, others a percentage of income and others nothing at all and you may need to pay for them to fulfil the services. A lot of it comes down to what management package you choose and the likely revenue.

You've also got to look at what you have now and any likely costs to weigh up, for example, is your Enforcement Officer an employee of the parish council or a contractor. If they are the former there's the potential of redundancy or tupe to consider.

Why do you want to consider outsourcing is it because you don't have the funds to replace the infrastructure?
answered by (1.7k points)
Hi Chloe, thank you for your response, just to clarify,the enforcement officer is employed by the parish council, primarily to ensure that parking tickets are purchased from a machine but because the local council process any parking notices issued they keep those monies.
Your assumption is correct,the ideal would be to move to a mainly cashless system but of course that is costly. Stay safe, take care regards, Doug.
Thanks Doug

It’s really interesting. Cornwall Council seemed to be the first to initiate any correspondence with town and parish councils regarding this but it seemed quite complicated.

The purpose of the council keeping the money for enforcements seems unfair but the revenue is not allowed to be seen as commercial revenue and therefore should only cover the cost of recovering the initial ticket for example;

Ticket would have cost £3. For a staff member to work on this is probably calculated at 2 hours and processing etc so a £25 fine is issued. It’ll cost more to chase it hence the inflated fee after 14 days.

Therefore if the council send any of this money to the Town / Parish Councils then it could be seen as revenue.

Anyway that said I’ve worked with many organisation private and not for profit on many schemes including car parking (particularly the NT).
Look at what the potential revenue is for parking based on the car parks locations and facilities/Amenities around it. Then look at your current costs.
Is it worth the PC taking out a loan to replace the equipment? Can you upgrade your current equipment? Nowadays people are able to pay online via and app which would mean no changes to your current equipment.

You can even buy contactless add on’s.

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