Monthly journal Parking Review has been the definitive source of news and intelligence on the UK and international public and private parking sectors since 1989.

Opening the digital door

Government frameworks make it easier for councils to offer cashless parking services

Adam Dolphin
12 March 2020
Adam Dolphin
Adam Dolphin


Newly introduced government procurement frameworks provide a more accessible and convenient way to procure public services such as cashless parking payment provision, saving local authorities money and time in the process.

Driven by an increasingly tech-savvy public eager to simplify their everyday lives, the cashless option is becoming the preferred choice to pay for parking. The parking meter is no longer king; people want convenience, speed and flexibility tailored to their needs.

For local authorities, the benefits are just as significant. Not only do mobile parking payments save councils money on maintaining and upgrading parking machines, it reduces vandalism and is more environmentally friendly, as there are no vehicles on the road, clocking up miles and releasing harmful tailpipe emissions, collecting cash from the machines or maintaining them.

Cashless parking payments provide great benefits to both drivers and local authorities. And now digital marketplace frameworks like the local authority owned ESPO and central government G-Cloud make our services much more accessible to local authorities and, by extension, to their residents and visitors.

Digital marketplace frameworks
Local authorities procure a wide range of goods, works and services from various suppliers and service providers. These can be small, one-off purchases or multi-million-pound contracts lasting several years.

The traditional procurement route has always been to go out to tender, which is a time-consuming and costly exercise. However, today, central government frameworks offer local authorities a one-stop shop for a wide range of goods and services, but not many councils realise that they can use these frameworks. They are not only highly accessible, but also incredibly efficient, saving councils time and money. And at a time when local authorities are being scrutinised on over-stretched budgets, these procurement frameworks are invaluable.

Quick, easy and successful
The frameworks allow local authorities to identify the solution or service they want to introduce, and then choose their preferred contractor from a number of pre-vetted and pre-authorised suppliers, who provide competitive prices. This means that the often protracted and costly vetting procedure in a traditional tender has already been completed.

Since becoming an authorised supplier on the ESPO framework in May 2018, PayByPhone has won several new council clients through the framework process. PayByPhone was also the first cashless parking payment vendor on G-Cloud.

A tender process for a local authority is not only time consuming but is also expensive. A number of our new council clients chose the government framework route to procure mobile parking payment services. It enabled them to put in place cashless parking payment facilities quickly and easily by directly awarding PayByPhone the contract from the supplier framework.

For example, Rochford District Council procured PayByPhone through the digital marketplace framework process. The council was able to choose PayByPhone’s mobile parking services easily, with both parties agreeing terms and conditions swiftly. The local authority did not have to go to the expense of sourcing and researching other vendors, as the framework provides all the information required to make the decision.

Taking a new direction
Digital marketplace frameworks like G-Cloud and ESPO provide a clear direction for the future of government procurement and provision of public services, such as cashless parking payments, that reap benefits for local authorities and the populations they serve. It’s a win-win process for both councils and suppliers alike. Local authorities do not award work via the one-size-fits-all tender scorecard process. Instead, the frameworks award contracts to suppliers that best meet the specific requirements.

For suppliers like PayByPhone, there’s not only the obvious benefit that we aren’t competing in the open market, but also the framework process enables us to establish a greater profile as the preferred cashless parking payment vendor for councils and other public sector organisations. Overall, it’s a much more seamless way to procure services – for both parties.

Adam Dolphin is sales director at PayByPhone UK, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG

G-Cloud framework helps Sandwell

Sandwell Council decided to use the G-Cloud framework when it wanted to roll out cashless parking services within its borough and ensure it worked with a vetted cashless parking vendor.

Anjna Patel MBE, principal officer at Sandwell Council, explains: “The digital marketplace framework process makes procurement a lot easier, because it is more transparent and saves us the lengthy and costly process compared with the traditional tender route. More local authorities across the UK could benefit from these frameworks as it saves councils money, time and resources – all very scarce commodities today. Choosing PayByPhone as our cashless parking supplier was simple and straightforward.”

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