Agenda item

Parking and Modern Technology - Delivery Drivers


Roy Clark, Head of Parking Services, presented the report. Members were informed that, in 1994, parking enforcement powers in London had been transferred from the police to local authorities. Hillington Council's parking enforcement service had been outsourced in August 2003 and the current contract was with APCOA Parking Limited. There were currently 22 separate Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) deployment beats used by APCOA across the Borough - some areas were patrolled on foot and others by moped or car.


In terms of technology, the CEOs used handheld computers which recorded all the evidence and generated a ticket. The PCN ICT processing system included an option to enable the motorist to log in online and see the evidence that the CEO had collected and to then make a payment or submit an appeal. A frequently asked questions section highlighted how successful an appeal was likely to be; however, even if it was unlikely to be successful, the motorist was not restricted from submitting an appeal. The PCN ICT processing system was due to be further enhanced over the summer of 2023 with a chatbot being introduced to assist motorists. The Council had also included QR codes on the PCNs to enable motorists to access the website more efficiently.


Members were advised that the Council also used unattended CCTV cameras to undertake enforcement of some parking and moving traffic contraventions. A virtual parking permit system had been introduced which meant that a paper permit did not need to be displayed. This was a much quicker and easier process and residents could apply online. Approximately 50% of permits were currently virtual; however, a paper-based system was still available to residents who preferred not to use the online system.


It was confirmed that the hand-held computers used by CEOs included a GPS tracking system so CEOs could request help if needed - verbal and physical attacks were an issue at times. ANPR was used in private car parks for management purposes. All deployed CEOs were required to wear body worn cameras which had to be switched on during their patrols for their safety. These body worn cameras had become instrumental to enforcement to verify complaint allegations against CEOs and provide evidence to the Police.


A cashless parking payment system or mobile phone parking system was due to be introduced across the Borough shortly. This system would be tested prior to roll out and would mean that people would no longer need to display a ticket. However, the more traditional paper ticket would still be available.


With regards to delivery drivers, Members heard that, since the pandemic, the proliferation of delivery drivers had caused parking problems across the Borough.  Most delivery drivers were no longer linked to one shop and were now generally self-employed or worked for nominated delivery companies. This had resulted in large numbers of delivery drivers parking illegally whilst waiting for a delivery job to be received and numerous complaints had been received about them causing congestion and being intimidating to residents and other local visitors.


Council officers regularly targeted hotspots to try and address this. However, legislation dictated that a PCN had to be served by hand to the delivery driver directly which was problematic as the vast majority of the illegally parked delivery vehicles would move away before any parking enforcement action could legally be taken. At times the number of delivery drivers in one area was excessive and CEOs had been subjected to verbal and physical abuse while trying to enforce parking restrictions.


The Council had also undertaken joint patrols with the Police during which the CEOs undertook parking enforcement, and the Police undertook vehicle cheques to ensure the delivery vehicle was correctly licensed and insured. This had resulted in some delivery vehicles being seized. Further joint patrols would be undertaken in the future. Work was still ongoing with business owners and franchises in an attempt to get them to exercise what limited control they had over delivery companies. The Council regularly liaised with other local authorities over parking matters and kept abreast of initiatives that were being investigated or had been trialled in other areas to manage parking issues caused by delivery drivers. No effective solutions had been identified but other authorities had reported that joint patrols with the Police had been found to work well.


Members requested further clarification as to how the Council was currently working with franchises and businesses to address the issue of delivery drivers parking illegally. It was noted that residents were extremely concerned and anxious about this matter and had reported some incidences of delivery drivers acting aggressively and verbally abusing women and young people.


In response to this it was confirmed that officers were working with McDonald's in Ruislip and were considering the creation of a segregated area for parking, possibly in a section of Kingsend North car park, with separate entrance and exit points. The provision of parking bays was also being explored. However, it was noted that drivers tended to park in a specific area to enable them to take the quickest route to their destination. In response to further questions from the Committee, it was confirmed that reports of CEOs turning a blind eye to parking contraventions would be investigated and, if necessary, the appropriate disciplinary action would be taken. Officers regularly met with the Police and worked collaboratively with them in respect of parking enforcement matters.


Committee Members enquired whether big franchises could potentially work together to share information and ban abusive or aggressive drivers. It was agreed that the Head of Parking Services would explore this further outside of the meeting and report back to Democratic Services.


In response to further questions from the Committee, Members were informed that, prior to ticketing a vehicle, there was an observation period in respect of parking contraventions to assess if someone was loading / unloading etc. If someone had parked on a footway, they would receive an instant ticket. In respect of a ‘buffer’ time after a ticket had expired, this would typically be 3 or 5 minutes – this was currently being reviewed with the Cabinet Member and the information would be published in due course. With regard to CEOs and Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) it was recognised that there was more of a skeleton service at weekends and on Bank Holidays. However, if a matter was reported regularly, it should be followed up on – it was agreed that Councillor Gohil would provide the Head of Parking Services with the details of the area of concern - streets around Brunel Playing Fields - to enable him to follow this up outside of the meeting.


Members enquired whether delivery drivers were licensed to work in the Borough – it was confirmed that they were not and did not need to be at present. Councillors commented that at times one delivery bike would occupy an entire car parking space which could potentially accommodate several bikes – this was a matter of concern. The Head of Parking Services confirmed that appropriate locations for parking bays were being considered in an attempt to control this.


Concerns were raised by Members regarding taxi cabs and mechanics utilising private land spaces. In response to this it was confirmed that the Council was not legally permitted to enforce parking on private land and could only encourage people to put pressure on their landowner or management agent to bring controls in.


In response to concerns raised by the Committee regarding the safety of parking enforcement officers, it was confirmed that, in problem areas, attempts were made to ensure officers did not work alone. GPS on handheld devices ensured the whereabouts of CEOs could be tracked. It was recognised that, in terms of parking enforcement, there was a gap between what residents expected and what could be done. Attempts would be made to further clarify the information online to clarify this.




1.    That the Head of Parking Services investigate whether large franchises could work together to share information and ban abusive or aggressive drivers and report back to Democratic Services;

2.    That Councillor Gohil provide the Head of Parking Services with the details of the area of concern in terms of parking in CPZs - streets around Brunel Playing Fields - to enable him to follow this up outside of the meeting; and

3.    That the Residents’ Services Select Committee noted and commented on the information presented in the report.

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