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INTERNATIONAL PARKING COMMUNITY

January 30, 2017

New UK Trade Association Reports Growth, Initiatives

Ron Dyson

The UK-based International Parking Community (IPC), “created to fulfil the role as an accredited trade association (ATA) within the parking industry,” held its 2016 conference late last year to report continued growth and to launch new initiatives.


Director Will Hurley, speaking to the large audience at the Derby-area event, said, “It has been an outstanding year [for the newest ATA in the private parking sector] … with membership continuing to grow under our new and more expansive identity, new partnerships forged with key organizations, and a host of new initiatives underway.”


He was particularly excited, Hurley said, that public sector UK organizations now have access to the progressive benefits that have proved to be so effective for private sector parking service providers. “While there will always be distinct requirements and regulations, a convergence of parking standards across the public and private sectors will foster greater consistency and help improve service provision for motorists. …


“We’ve taken a similar proactive stance in many other areas over the past 12 months,” Hurley added. “As well as providing feedback to the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) consultation paper and incorporating the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s new Code of Practice into our own, we continue to work closely with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) to ensure ongoing improvements in parking provision and practices.


“We’ve also worked in partnership with the Citizens Advice service to ensure all guidance for motorists is always accurate and up-to-date. And we’ve signed an agreement with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association to help streamline their practices and reduce the red tape.”


Hurley referred to the growing stature of the IPC within and beyond the parking industry, as demonstrated by its accreditation under the alternative dispute resolution regulations and subsequent praise from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute during the annual audit.


“We’ve made a lot of progress in a short time,” continued Hurley. “But we’re constantly listening to members, lobbying and looking to see where further improvements can be made [in] the parking experience and [to] ensure high service standards are applied right across the parking industry.


“That’s why we’ll soon be confirming two revisions to our Code of Practice — one will place a cap on any additional charges assigned to an unpaid parking charge notice (PCN), and the other will introduce a requirement to confirm the address of a motorist prior to pursuing a county court judgment for any debt that exceeds 12 months.”


Among the many speakers at the conference, Bryn Holloway, lead adjudicator of the Independent Appeals Service, said that it dealt with more than 1,200 appeals every month. He stressed the importance of a fair and straightforward system that focuses on legalities in order to maximize consistency and to strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of motorists and carpark operators alike.


Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter applauded the IPC initiatives and confirmed that the association had provided significant support for the new Code of Practice for surveillance, which has particular relevance within the private parking sector due to the growing use of ANPR cameras. He emphasized the “passport to compliance” that will help private operators adopt the principles of best-practices and to help safeguard public confidence and the integrity of the parking industry.


Chris Wade, Director of the People and Places Partnership, highlighted the importance of understanding the customer experience when considering the provision, use, location and pricing of parking facilities in and around town centers. Key performance measures are quality, cost, convenience and quantity, he said.


Helen Dolphin, MBE, a contributor to Parking Today magazine who has been responsible for setting up People’s Parking, a progressive accreditation program for carparks, formally unveiled the initiative at the conference. She demonstrated the value and effectiveness of such a dedicated approach to help motorists find the most appropriate carpark to meet their needs.


Ron Dyson
writes for UK-based Aurora Communications. Contact him at ron.dyson@auroracomms.net.



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