Serco has been awarded the contract to provide end-to-end on-street parking enforcement services for the West London Alliance. The West London Alliance is a unique partnership between Ealing, Hounslow and Brent Borough Councils and is the first collaborative parking service venture of its kind in the country.
The five-year contract is valued at over £30m with an opportunity for additional options, including a five-year extension, potentially worth a further £57m. Serco's proposals are expected to deliver an improved and more efficient parking service for local residents whilst also achieving substantial savings for the taxpayer.
Serco will manage Civil Enforcement Officers, cashless parking and electronic payments under the new contract, and will also have responsibility for back-office services, including the introduction of new parking control software; responding to public enquiries about the allocation of parking tickets; and the operation and the management of CCTV enforcement services. The contract involves the running of control room operations and the deployment of state of the art, 3G-enabled Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) enforcement vehicles that will patrol new 'virtual' enforcement zones.
These 'virtual' enforcement zones are just one of a number of Serco innovations aimed at improving parking services across the three London boroughs and will mean residents in controlled parking zones will no longer have to display paper parking permits on their windscreens; instead their vehicle details will be entered into a virtual database which will be automatically checked by Serco's new mobile enforcement vehicles. Serco will retain a full complement of paper ticket dispensing machines for daily users, but motorists will be encouraged to use the cashless telephone parking service.
Serco will begin delivering end-to-end on-street parking enforcement services for Hounslow and Brent Borough Councils from this summer alongside a smaller number of services for Ealing Borough Council, who have the option to take up the full service when their current parking services contract expires in 2015.
This is Serco's first contract win in the local authority Civil Enforcement market, which is worth an estimated £900m per year, and builds on the company's existing parking capability delivered through its fines enforcement business as well as back office processing operations in City of Westminster, Peterborough and Thurrock. Serco also has strong expertise in delivering a wide range of field services, collections and processes for both public and private sector organisations, including prisoner and court escorting services and Community Payback in London on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and a number of essential services for local government.
Elaine Bailey, Managing Director of Serco's home affairs business said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this exciting new contract to run parking services for the West London Alliance. We believe our fresh ideas and extensive experience in managing complex operations and innovative technologies will deliver a much improved and more efficient parking service across all three boroughs. This will not only benefit both local residents and visitors but also deliver significant savings to the taxpayer. Civil Enforcement is a fast growing market, both in the UK and globally, and Serco is well placed to add innovation and value to future opportunities in this market."
Councillor Ed Mayne, Hounslow Council's cabinet member for community safety and regulatory services, commented: "This trailblazing agreement represents a great deal for Hounslow's taxpayers and motorists. It shows the way ahead for other councils who are faced with a perfect storm of cuts and rising costs, so it's a no-brainer for us to team up with our west London neighbours to deliver a high quality parking service and save money for Hounslow residents to boot."
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment at Ealing Council, added: "This new contract is an excellent example of how west London boroughs are coming together to ensure we can make the savings that are needed whilst at the same time making real, palpable improvements in service.
"Ealing's Parking team has seen year-on-year reductions in the issuing of PCNs (penalty charge notices) over the past three years whilst rolling out improved services such as pay-by-phone for visitors and in the future, virtual parking permits for residents. The new contract gives us an opportunity to build on these improvements and offers us options going forward for potential further savings."
Councillor Jim Moher, Brent Council's lead member for highways and transportation, said: "The contract will make substantial financial savings for Brent at a time when we are getting to grips with perhaps the worst financial settlement in the borough's history. What's more, it will further modernise our parking services by investing in new technology, and deliver the high-quality service Brent's residents, businesses and drivers expect."