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Enforcement Summit 2023

Parking, traffic and debt recovery professionals discussed key issues at the Enforcement Summit

Mark Moran
14 July 2023
Annie Oliver addressed violence against parking attendants at the Enforcement Summit 2023

 

The Enforcement Summit 2023 took place at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham in June. The event explored the latest policy, legislative and operational developments in the fields of traffic, parking, air quality and debt recovery regulation.

This year’s wide-ranging programme covered key policy areas such as civil parking enforcement, moving traffic regulations and clean air schemes. A highlight of the day was a provoking discussion about how local authorities can tackle misinformation about traffic management and air quality schemes.

There were in-depth presentations on the way in which innovative technology can enhance the effectiveness of enforcement operations. The human aspects of enforcement came to the fore in a discussion about ensuring the safety of front line patrol staff, and also a look at more sensitive approaches to the collection of road traffic and parking debts.

The conference is programmed by Parking Review, produced by Landor LINKS and sponsored by Conduent Transportation.

Engagement, enforcement, compliance

The Enforcement Summit opened with a set of thought-provoking presentations. Chaired by Daniel Casey, head of strategic development at Conduent Transportation, the panel offered some solutions to the challenges faced by the traffic and parking sectors.

New ways of working
The parking enforcement sector has evolved over the past 30 years, said Nigel Coltman, general manager of Egis. He reflected on how it was once by defined by traffic wardens in authoritarian uniforms writing fines using a pen and notebook. It is now a public service that makes use of a raft of digital technologies: handheld devices, number plate reading cameras, virtual permits, apps and websites.

Coltman explored how local authorities can use ‘scan cars’ as mobile ANPR systems to spot vehicles that appear to be flouting parking rules and direct the deployment of civil enforcement officers to check them out before issuing a penalty if required. Already used in European cities such as Amsterdam and Paris, scan cars are now being linked to the Egis Dispatch app as part of a trial in Milton Keynes.

Things are looking up
Local authorities across the UK are implementing clean air schemes that depend on camera-based enforcement systems being able to identify vehicles that are compliant with scheme rules.

Chris Newman, regional director of Conduent Transportation described how a vehicle ‘look-up’ system was devised for Oxfordshire’s pioneering Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ). Conduent has developed an emissions look-up platform that uses logic gates to classify vehicles – for example, a 2-litre diesel cannot be a zero-emissions vehicle. The platform cross-references DVLA, DVSA and UKVD vehicle data to make an accurate decision on whether a specific vehicle is compliant with the ZEZ. Conduent is preparing the platform for use nationwide.

Protecting parking people
Parking is an emotionally charged subject and unfortunately, as front line workers, parking attendants often face the brunt of abuse from angry drivers. Annie Oliver, legal and compliance manager at Parking Control Management (UK), delivered a sobering talk on the reality of violence and aggression faced by parking attendants.

To gain a better insight into the prevalence of violence and aggression towards patrol officers, PCM conducted a survey among its operative workforce. The research revealed:

  • 92.5% of respondents reported that incidents of violence and/or verbal abuse occur at least several times a month and 67.5% reported that they occur at least once a week
  • 68.3% have experienced physical violence in the past year
  • 95.1% have experienced verbal harassment in the past year.

To put things in perspective, the national average for employees to face threatening behaviour is a mere 1.4%. Even security staff working in the protective services sector experience an incident rate of just 8.4%.

We have the technology

Innovative solutions that are helping highways authorities, car park operators, property owners and enforcement agencies were the focus of the second session. The technology session was chaired by Gavin Manger, business development UK at Egis.

Intelligent solutions
Parking is a sector that continually embraces new technology. Dean Fennell-Connell, sales director of Conduent Transportation, reflected on how traffic enforcement has been transformed using systems such as automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Cameras are now being used to enforce bus lanes, clean air zones and car parks.
Now the world is starting to wake up to the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), especially in terms of analysing data and understanding patterns of behaviour. However, the use of AI in traffic enforcement will be shaped by the need to follow protocols and regulations that address privacy concerns and other matters.

One platform, many roles
Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are the bedrock on which management of our streets is built. Dan Hubert, chief executive of AppyWay is an advocate of digital mapping as a means of creating accurate traffic regulation data that can be accessed in real-time by local authority parking and highways teams.

The AppyWay Parking Platform has been developed to help local authorities, parking operators and electric vehicle (EV) chargepoint operators gain digital control of their physical assets. It is a back office integration software that works for both on-street and off-street parking across the public and private sector. Its capabilities include: multi-vendor parking payments and reconciliation; EV charging software; insights dashboards showing historical and real-time occupancy from on or off-street parking; revenue insights and third party transaction reporting from mobiles and parking machines. Integration tools enable the pulling of third party data and the pushing of authoritative data into fleets, logistics and motorists.

Streamlining transfer of keeper liability
Traditionally, when a traffic or parking fine is issued against a rented or leased vehicle the ticket is sent by post to the leasing company, which then looks up the liable hirer’s details and sends the vehicle hirer’s name and address back to the ticket issuer. The ticket issuer then sends a new ticket to the hirer. The process takes weeks.
There is a better way, explained Richard Williams, co-founder and director of Transfer360, who has set up a system that automates the transfer of vehicle keeper liability. Transfer360 enables ticket issuers and notice processors to direct a PCN straight to a fleet operator at the first point of issue. The system allows parking companies using the DVLA’s Keeper of a Vehicle at the Date of an Event (KADOE) service to cut the time taken to assign a ticket to a driver. For fleet managers, Transfer360 is designed to reduce labour intensive administrative processes, as one enquiry replaces multiple transfer requests.

Moving forward together

A civil society depends on citizens respecting one another and follow protocols that define how we interact with one another, the street and on the road. The closing session, chaired by Jade Neville, head of user experience at Conduent Transportation, explored how public authorities can become more responsive, ethical and transparent in how communicate with the public they serve and protect.

How to respond to misinformation
Many local authorities have faced concerted online trolling campaigns when implementing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and other schemes.
Stefan Rollnick, head of The Misinformation Cell at Lynn Global, discussed how public authorities can fight back in the modern world of misinformation. He explained that are three key pillars to attaining information integrity:

  1. Scanning: What beliefs are circulating online and offline about your organisation and its work?
  2. Identifying threats: What beliefs constitute a threat to your organisation and its work?
  3. Building your strategy: What’s going to make your audiences more resilient to misinformed beliefs?

These three stages should be supplemented by ongoing monitoring, threat detection and escalation processes. Rollnick said ‘The Wall of Beliefs framework’ developed for the Cabinet Office provides one example of how to approach this approach.

Improving driver (mis)behaviour
Many errant drivers seem to regard incurring a parking notice as the price of parking where they are not supposed to. Will Hurley, chief executive, International Parking Community (IPC), set out how parking charge notices are no longer an effective deterrent. This is why local authorities and private parking operators alike are calling for the level of parking charges issued to vehicles breaching rules to be increased.

Identifying the persistent evaders
The National Persistent Evaders Database (NPED) is an innovative project that will help identify vehicles belonging to drivers who avoid paying parking fines, road tolls and clean air charges. Alan Wood, founder of the service, explained how NPED cross references persistent evaders with vehicles that have no tax or insurance. The initiative, which is supported by the Cabinet Office, is now working with police forces, local authorities and parking providers.

Sensitive enforcement
The civil enforcement sector has been working with debt charities and other stakeholders to raise awareness and devise protocols for recognising and engaging with vulnerable debtors.

Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of CIVEA, the Civil Enforcement Association, explained how the new Enforcement Conduct Board (ECB) will work to ensure that all those who are subject to enforcement action in England and Wales are fairly treated.

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