The pandemic has seen parking teams across the UK working in a wide range of additional roles supporting their communities and the NHS. Contractor APCOA Parking UK has been assisting clients across all sectors during the lockdowns, including local authorities. Besides maintaining parking enforcement patrols and keeping essential routes running, the APCOA team expanded the tasks it undertakes to include a wide range of community support initiatives.
As a result, the company has received commendations from many clients for the support it has given. For example, APCOA has worked in partnership with Lambeth Council in south London for the past four years, providing parking and environmental enforcement, tackling idling vehicles and Blue Badge misuse. Then during the pandemic, APCOA helped implement social distancing schemes that aid walking and cycling, supported the roll-out of testing and worked with charities assisting the vulnerable.
Neil Fenton, Lambeth’s assistant director of parking, street management and commercial development, said: “The pandemic has fundamentally changed the services we deliver and is still presenting us with new challenges. Working together is the only way we will overcome these challenges. I want to thank everyone at APCOA for their support during this challenging time. The variety of essential front line activities it has delivered is astonishing, and the residents of Lambeth have benefited enormously. I applaud the team’s efforts and thank it for a flexible, positive, and proactive attitude.”
In Stafford, the APCOA team has supported the setup of two separate COVID-testing centres and assisted at crematoria to maintain restrictions relating to funeral services. Staff have also undertaken training to become COVID marshals, helping the council to advise the public and local businesses about social distancing measures.
Stafford Borough Council’s car parking manager, Steve Allen, said: “APCOA’s team has performed superbly throughout the pandemic and the various lockdowns. Nothing has been too much trouble and they have risen to all challenges we have placed upon them without question. It is so reassuring to have a team we can rely on and trust to get the job done.”
Looking further north, at St Helens and Knowsley councils APCOA has provided diverse extra duties, including litter picking and the manning of rapid flow testing centres. Supporting vital services during the local lockdown restrictions has helped change the public perception of the role of civil enforcement officers (CEOs).
Keith Moyles, contracts manager for civil parking services at Knowsley Council, said: “I just wanted to reach out and say a very big ‘thank you’ to APCOA and more so, the local CEOs that have shown a willingness to be flexible and have gone the extra mile to assist in a variety of different circumstances.”
Senior directors of St Helens Council on Merseyside also passed on their thanks, saying: “Over the past year, APCOA colleagues have taken on many non-typical roles, for example, acting as public advisers on essential highway maintenance works to help residents around diversion routes, placing notices on around 60,000 wheelie bins across the borough to help the council get information to residents, and acting as marshals to manage queues when Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) reopened the local recycling centres, to name just a few. The office support staff and supervisors deserve a mention too – they have also been really resourceful and helpful throughout.”
Kim Challis, APCOA’s regional managing director UK&I, pays tribute to her team
During such a tough year for everyone, it’s been great to receive so much positive feedback from clients about APCOA colleagues and how they have been going ‘above and beyond’ during the pandemic. I’m really proud of them all.
It’s been a learning curve for everyone to continually adapt our business to support our clients’ additional needs whilst also maintaining a key focus on our front line officers’ health, safety and welfare. I do want to say a reciprocal ‘thank you’ to all APCOA clients who have supported us too during this challenging time.
It’s good to see the country beginning to open up again now. As our colleagues move back to more normal duties, I hope that people across the country will view civil enforcement officers in a new light.
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