William Eichler 26 September 2019

Council apologises after motorist denied right to challenge parking ticket

Council apologises after motorist denied right to challenge parking ticket  image

Cherwell District Council has apologised ‘unreservedly’ after an investigation revealed that motorists were being denied the right to challenge parking tickets.

A woman in Cherwell complained to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman after receiving a fine in a council car park run by the contractor APCOA.

The ticket machine in the car park in question was broken and APCOA’s phone service would not take calls from withheld numbers, and so the woman was unable to pay.

She challenged the parking fine unsuccessfully and then tried to pay £40 online. APCOA, however, collected £80.

When she complained to the council, she was told the council had no jurisdiction over the car park as it was being managed by APCOA. She went back to APCOA, but her complaint was treated as an appeal and rejected.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found APCOA was at fault for trying to enforce parking charges without giving customers reasonable means to pay and for the way it dealt with the complaint.

‘Councils can contract out services, but they cannot contract out responsibility for those services. If we find fault with a council’s contractor it is the council’s responsibility to ensure things are put right,’ said Ombudsman Michael King.

‘On balance, it appears APCOA was not complying with the law when it enforced the charge notice. This may have wide-reaching consequences for others using car parks in its area.’

A spokesperson for Cherwell District Council said: ‘We have apologised unreservedly to the lady referenced in the Ombudsman report. She received a poor service from ourselves and APCOA and we fully acknowledge that.

‘We have already acted on the points raised by the Ombudsman in her recommendations to ensure that others receive the standards of customer service that we strive to provide.’

‘It should be stressed that Cherwell District Council has been operating within the appropriate legislation and all car parking tickets are enforceable,’ they added.

Highways jobs

Governance and Assurance Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£38,813 to £42,683
Are you someone who is methodical in approach with an eye for detail? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Business Development Manager (Grow Yorkshire)

North Yorkshire County Council
£34,788 to £38,813 per annum
Do you have an enterprising approach to developing solutions? Are you an exceptional communicator? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Enterprise Partnership Officer (Infrastructure)

North Yorkshire County Council
£34,788 to £38,813 per annum
Are you an experienced Project Manager who is methodical in your approach with exceptional attention to detail? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Project Lead - Housing Growth

North Yorkshire County Council
£38,813 to £42,683
Do you have a substantial understanding of the housing market and the housing planning system? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Communications Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£29,636 to £32,029
Are you someone with excellent skills in communications and looking for your next challenge? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine