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Parking Services

Parking Services Specialist Scrutiny Panel

Parking Services Specialist Scrutiny PanelParking Services have had some coverage both last Friday and this. Last Friday council leader Jason Stacey highlighted in his weekly message how the new Parking Services enforcement contract has led to a 20% fall in the number of PCNs being issued in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. Today the Ealing & Acton Gazette is covering the problem of the £6 million hole in the parking finances caused by overstating of income in previous financial years. No actual money has been lost in this transaction, instead the council has admitted that £6 million of income they thought they would collect cannot in fact be collected, but the effect is that the council has £6 million less than it though it had. This is yet another hangover from the poor financial management of the previous administration.

I have been asked to chair a scrutiny panel looking into Parking Services. No doubt it will be of interest to many Ealing residents. So far the officers have not been great at promoting the dates for these meetings. If you follow this link you could work it out by going into each month in turn! If you follow this link there is not much info. Altogether pretty rubbish.

Anyway if you are interested in this topic here are the dates:

  • Thursday 5th July 2007
  • Tuesday 11th September 2007
  • Thursday 15th November 2007
  • Thursday 10th January 2008
  • Wednesday 5th March 2008

All the meetings take place at 7pm at the Town Hall.

6 replies on “Parking Services Specialist Scrutiny Panel”

I’m sure it would be helpful if you described in your blog what problems the Scrutiny Panel will attempt to address, and explicitly told residents that they are welcome to attend these meetings and provide you with relevant evidence. ‘Parking Services’ could actually describe a whole lot of ‘activities’. Perhaps you should also publicise that you’ll only accept electronic input and nothing on paper, from those who wish to supply you with information.

Finally your Party has been in power now for 13 months and you need to stop blaming the other party for the past. As I recall the Head of Finance at Ealing Council and his team recieved a national award for the most improved Public Sector finance team in the UK in 2006. Not too shoddy at all.

Eric,

You make some good points. I will produce more information after Tuesday when the officers, the Vice Chairman and I are having a session to refine things.

You are wrong about the blame game though. The offending accruals are historic. Income was overstated by £3.8 million in 2004/5 and £2.2 million in 2005/6. As Jason said in the Gazette article we asked officers to fess up when we came into power and this matter has only come to light now. We have effectively lost £6 million of spending (or council tax cutting) power so we are not happy.

Interesting response from Mr Leach. We will take responsibility for things that we actually do. I have also assumed that Mr Leach would want us to sort out the mess that we inherited rather than leave it for another day. That is precisely what we are doing, but we shall make sure people know whose mess we are clearing up.

What are you implying Jason. Are you blaming a politician (s) if so please name names and cut out the innuendo. If not, is there an officer who has been “a bit naughty”. If so please show leaderssip and tell us who it is…

It’s a fact of life that when anyone takes over anything one has to take responsiblity for what has happened in the recent past – both good and bad.

Once you become responsible….you are then responsible.

I’m pleased that the Council is clearly determined to sort this out, but it’s unfortunate that many of us found out about this via the local press. I was one of a number of residents’ and business group representatives involved in a meeting with Parking Officers and Councillors as recently as Wednesday of last week. CPZ delays came to light at that meeting, with no explanations.

Residents are less interested in who created the mess and more interested in having the mess cleared up.

Eric,

When you take something over you are responsible for its future, not its past. Its future is likely to be rosier if you actually learn from the mistakes of the past. In this process you are I think entitled to identify where the blame lies. Surely part of what keeps us all on the straight and narrow is the fear that we might get found out? It is a shame that the lesson here is that you can’t always trust officers to take a properly prudent view of the value of uncollected income. Most business people take a pretty dim view of longstanding debtors and are quick to write off the value of these bad debts.

You complain about finding out about this in the local press. You talk about the facts of life. Here is one for you. There will always be people who think it is clever to give half the facts to the press when they know that the people in charge are trying to get the full facts. The people in charge have to wait until they get the full facts otherwise they look stupid or incompetent. Having done that it is entirely appropriate that the facts are discussed in a council meeting first, not in the press. Didn’t Tony Blair rather undermine himself by bypassing Parliament in this way?

As far as I understand it this matter is to be covered at the Cabinet meeting on 26th which is a public meeting, papers for which should be published on the council’s website on Monday.

This approach does run the risk that it might make the council look bad. But the alternative is worse, ie the council gets hyper-sensitive about press stories that are only read by a tiny minority and devotes too much effort managing the press rather than pursuing its priorities. Again isn’t this where Blair failed, especially in his early years?

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