Having been in charge of parking in the last two years of the Tory administration I have been keeping a close eye on the Parking Services function within the council over the last year, indeed I was asked to chair a scrutiny panel on CPZs in the municipal year just ended. At the last council meeting I asked the following question:
How many penalty charge notices were issued in the last financial year?
Over the last six years the picture looks like this:
You can look up the historical data for yourself here.
On the face of it, it looks like Labour have learnt their lesson from their appalling behaviour just before they were thrown out of office in 2006 when they issued over 380,000 tickets. By the time I had finished the council was issuing only half of what Labour did in its last year. Under Labourâ€™s Bassam Mahfouz the numbers have gone up by 4%. Mahfouz needs to ensure that this does not get out of control again.
Under the Conservatives we got the parking officers under control and stopped them from simply milking their more lucrative sites. Judging by the couple of stories in the press this week on parking it may be that Labour have let things go again, see here and here.
One of the things I did when I was in charge was that I made the council publish the data showing what tickets it had issued for each offence in each location, see here. The idea was that the council would know that it was being watched and as a side effect FOI inquiries might be reduced. It seems that this data has not been updated since December so I am anxious that the council has decided to stop being transparent in this very controversial area. I have asked officers to tell me what is going on.
I will be coming back to this area over the next couple of days.