Annual Parking Report 2022/23
Welcome to the Annual Parking Report for 2022/23, along with the financial information and detail of our permit schemes across the four Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) areas in the County. This year’s report aims to give a further insight into some of the other important work the team does and some information you may not know about the legislation, how our reviews work and what you should do if you do get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
The team has introduced camera enforcement to two bus lanes in Eastbourne in conjunction with the town improvement plan. The first review of parking restrictions in Rother District since the introduction of CPE has started and over 1,200 requests for new or changes to parking restrictions have been received. The Parking Service also supported partners at events across the county including the Lewes and Hastings Bonfire night celebrations.
I hope you find our report helpful and informative.
The Parking Team
The team are responsible for managing the four CPE areas across the County in Eastbourne and Hastings Boroughs and Lewes and Rother Districts. The team is made up of four sub teams their responsibilities include managing the enforcement contract, notice processing, contract monitoring, customer care and the review of existing and development of new parking schemes.
Notice Processing Team
There are seven notice processing officers in the team and one principal officer.
The notice processing team’s main duties include:
- Investigating and responding to challenges/representations received after a PCN has been issued
- Compiling evidence and attending hearings at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT)
- Dealing with enquiries regarding Enforcement Agents where a warrant has been issued because a PCN hasn’t been paid
- Reviewing footage from bus lane cameras and issuing PCN’s where unauthorised vehicles have been seen using them
- Transferring liability where vehicle ownership has been proven
The notice processing team work closely with all other members of the parking team as well as our enforcement contractor, NSL.
The challenges they receive are wide and varied and most require some kind of further investigation to be able to reach a decision.
One day they may be getting evidence ready for a hearing they have at TPT, the next they may be dealing with enforcements agents that have clamped or removed someone’s vehicle in the process of recovering a PCN debt. Below is what a day may look like in the life of a Notice Processing Officer.
I normally get into the office at around 8am. A few of my work colleagues are already there, as well as members of some of the other teams that work for East Sussex County Council.
I get settled, catch up on what everyone has been doing while I’m logging in to all the systems I need to be working with today. The case management system we use, Taranto, which is where all Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) that have been issued are stored. I can see all the details about the PCN here. When it was issued, why it was issued, where it was issued, any notes the Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) may have added to the case as well as all the photographs that have been taken when the PCN was issued. Here is where I spend most of my time. Any challenges made against PCNs are added to the case and I can view the challenge made as well as any evidence that may have been provided by the customer.
I also log in to NSL Apply which is the permit system used in East Sussex. Here I have access to check to see what permits are valid and who they have been issued to and what vehicles they cover. The first case I deal with is someone who says they have a permit to park in this street but were still issued a PCN. They have a permit for this zone so I’ll need to check on Taranto to see why the PCN was issued. I check the photos, check why the PCN was issued and I see what’s happened, they do have a permit for this area but they’ve mistakenly parked in a bay that is pay and display only.
The phone rings, I have a customer on the line that wants to know what’s going on with the challenge they’ve made, they haven’t heard anything since they sent it in. After taking some details and doing a quick check I can confirm to them that we have received their challenge and the case is currently on hold until we look at it and make a decision or ask for further evidence. We will then respond back to them with the outcome. We receive on average 20 phone calls a day.
The next case I deal with is someone who says they parked in a pay and display bay and they paid via RingGo, our cashless parking system, but still received a PCN. Checking the case on Taranto everything looks like the PCN was issued correctly. The CEO has checked on his handheld computer to see if this vehicle had a virtual parking session but found nothing. They’re definitely parked in a pay and display bay, I log into our pay by phone provider RingGo to check this one. Once logged in to the back office system for RingGo and doing a quick search I can see what has happened, the owner has entered the VRM for their vehicle but instead of the letter O has entered a number 0. They have not received any PCNs prior to this, I explain what has happened in the response and cancel the PCN on this occasion.
After working through some more challenges and then having my lunchbreak I go back to more challenges. Someone has received a PCN because they parked in a disabled bay but left their blue badge in the glovebox. They’ve supplied a copy of the badge which allows me to check with the blue badge team that the badge is valid and that’s another case dealt with. Whilst dealing with this challenge I get an email from my manager, a new case has come into the Traffic Penalty Tribunal and it’s been allocated to me. This means I need to dedicate some of my time over the next few days to get all the evidence uploaded on to their system, check what the appellant says and write a submission of my own. Then I’ll wait to be told what type of hearing there will be, I will attend the hearing to present evidence on behalf of East Sussex County Council to the adjudicator. I deal with a few more cases, check some letters that my colleagues are sending out that day to make sure everything is ok with them and it’s almost time to finish.
We are continually reviewing our parking schemes to make sure they meet the changing needs of local communities. A parking review is carried out in each of our four civil parking areas every 16 to 18 months. In each review we consider requests for new controls and requests for changes to existing controls.
There are nine members of the team, six officers, two assistants and one principal officer. Some of the main tasks the team are responsible for are shown below.
- Making, drafting and advertising Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).
- Entering TROs, sign and machine data onto our visual database, ParkMap, and keeping it up to date.
- For carrying out our parking consultations.
- Applications for disabled bays.
- Applications for access protection markings.
This information is used by the notice processing officers when considering challenges against penalty charge notices.
The review officers liaise closely with other departments; planning, highways, traffic and safety and legal to assist them with up-to-date maps and information on our parking restrictions. They also offer advice to various departments on the practicality of enforcement and help identify what restrictions are appropriate to achieve the desired goals.
Contract Monitoring Team
We have one contract monitoring officer in the team. The officer is responsible for the following:
Monitoring the performance of the enforcement and streetworks contractors (NSL and Reliable Maintenance) and managing reports and rectification of faults with signs and lines which affect enforceability of the scheme.
They also manage implementation of the works orders for the parking reviews, coordinating the lining work and installation of street furniture for any new or changes to existing restrictions.
Part of their role also includes the maintenance of our on street pay and display machines, ordering parts and compiling tariff and programming updates for Pay and Display machines and RingGo locations during parking review implementation works.
They liaise with various bodies including the boroughs and districts about car park works and events such as Lewes Bonfire.
There are four business officers within the team and one principal officer. The business team deal with all other aspects of managing and operating our parking schemes, below are a few examples.
- Finances and budget monitoring.
- KPI monitoring.
- Freedom of information requests.
- Responding to customer contact that is not a challenge against a PCN or a response to an open parking consultation.
- Provide advice and draft responses for senior managers and Council Members about parking matters.
- Provide parking advice and help to other teams and departments within the Council and it’s contractors.
The business team support all areas of the parking team and have a wide knowledge covering all aspects of our parking service. This puts them in the unique position of being the only members of the team that can cover all the roles across the wider team. This is helpful in cases of staff absences, or high levels of workflow, to provide support and business continuity for the whole team.
The business team are usually the first point of contact for help, advice and support for other members of the team. Also for other departments within the council. They give support and advice to senior members of the council and draft responses for them about all aspects of the services we provide.
As many of our customers contacts cover different aspects of transport services, the team liaise closely with several other departments, these are most often the transport development control, highway and traffic and safety teams. They also work closely with the finance, corporate complaint, and freedom of information teams.
The team also carry out projects in relation to making sure our parking schemes are efficient and to improve the services we provide.
Whilst we manage the parking schemes across our CPE areas, we outsource a large part of our parking service to NSL to provide customer service, permits, enforcement and pay and display machine maintenance. The NSL team are split into four main areas.
Customer and Stakeholder Managers (CSMs)
There are three CSMs that manage the four CPE areas. The CSMs deal with all aspects of the successful running of each site, below are a few examples of their responsibilities.
- Managing the team of CEOs, SCEOs and Supervisors.
- Managing the customer service team and permit service.
- Networking with Stakeholders to ensure they are fully conversant and prepared for major events such as Lewes Bonfire and Eastbourne Airbourne. Discussing problem parking areas and looking at ways to resolve issues.
- Investigating complaints.
- Daily management of KPIs.
The CSMs support all operational areas within the East Sussex parking contract and are crucial in the smooth delivery of our contractual requirements.
Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are supported by a team of Senior CEOs and Supervisors. Examples of some of the main responsibilities of a CEO are listed below:
- Patrol streets and car parks, to check regulations are being followed
- Give advice to the public on parking regulations and facilities
- Check parking tickets and permits
- Issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to vehicles parked in contravention
Whilst the above is the main part of the role of a CEO it is not unusual for them to be approached by members of the public for issues not relating to parking.
- Helping with directions
- Finding where someone has parked
- Finding lost dogs
- Helping children that have locked themselves out of their home
- Contacting emergency services
- Assisting people when they have needed it most
Pay and display machine maintenance team
There are three pay and display engineers who are responsible for management of the machines around the county. See below some of the responsibilities they have.
- Respond to customer reports of machines not working and visiting the machine to correct any faults.
- General cleaning of the machines including removing any graffiti.
- Ensuring batteries are charged and changing batteries when required.
- Escalating faults to the machine provider for faults that cannot be fixed by the engineers.
The engineers are a crucial part of the parking team who assist in keeping machines up and running and reporting any vandalism.
Customer Service Team
There are six people in the customer service team including a team supervisor. The team are the first point of contact for most customers. Some of their main duties are listed below.
- Answering parking, PCN and permit enquiries in a quick and efficient manner, this can be via calls or e-mail.
- Dealing with and approving parking permits for the on-street parking in Eastbourne, Lewes, Hastings and Rother.
- Issuing permits on behalf of Lewes District Council for their car parks.
- Making sure all the relevant documentation for types of permit applications is provided, including suspensions and waivers.
- Work closely with CSM’s and enforcement teams with monitoring the use of permits.
The customer service team deliver a high standard of service which is reflected in our customer feedback.
Bus lanes are enforced for a number of reasons, these include to increase the reliability of bus services in the area and improve journey times for bus passengers. This in turn encourages the use of public transport, cutting down on traffic pollution and congestion.
We introduced two bus lanes in Eastbourne town centre which we started to enforce in September 2022. Prior to enforcement commencing we rolled out a warning notice period. During this time, any unauthorised vehicles that entered the bus lane were sent a notice to the address of the registered keeper warning them of the bus lanes to avoid further contraventions occurring.
The locations of these bus lanes are Gildredge Road and a stretch of Terminus Road, both in Eastbourne town centre. These bus lanes are separate to other lanes of traffic on the road and their boundaries are marked with a solid white line and the words `bus lane` on the ground along each lane. Signs are in place prior to the start of the bus lanes at both locations to warn motorists as they approach. These signs are also repeated along the stretch of Gildredge Road to further give warning to vehicles that may turn onto this stretch from one of the side roads.
Enforcement is intended to keep these bus lanes clear for bus use so the services can run to their specified time frames.
Only buses and cycles are allowed to use the bus lane in Gildredge Road, with only buses allowed to use the bus lane in Terminus Road, with the exception of taxis from the hours of midnight till 5am.
The charge for driving in a bus lane is £70, reduced to £35 if paid within 21 days.
The life of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)
You may find yourself walking back to your car one day only to find a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) attached to your windscreen.
- Why has this been issued?
- Doesn’t the Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) know I’ve just popped into the bank?
- I left a note in my windscreen saying where I am, and no one came to find me?
- I paid for a virtual parking session, and I’ve still received a PCN?
These may be some of the questions whizzing through your mind? In this section we will explain the process of why a PCN has been issued as well as what happens if you ignore one and how to make a challenge.
A Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) is required to issue a PCN to any vehicle they see that is contravening the parking restrictions in place there. The CEO will enter some details into their Hand-Held Computer (HHC). These include the vehicle registration number of the vehicle, the location where it’s parked, what make and colour the vehicle is, as well as what the contravention code is of the restriction parked on. The CEO will also check the vehicle for any permit, pay and display ticket, blue badge or note that may be on display. If a pay and display ticket or permit is virtual this can be checked on the CEO’s HHC.
Most parking restrictions (but not all) require an observation period before a PCN can be issued. If the motorist returns to the vehicle before this observation period has finished, they will still have the opportunity to move the vehicle without a PCN being issued. There are some restrictions that do not require an observation period. These include being parked in a bus stop, on a school keep clear marking, in a disabled bay with no blue badge, or parked on yellow lines where there are loading restrictions in place.
It’s important to note that there are some details the CEO will not know. These include who the vehicle belongs to, where they may be, why they’ve parked where they’ve parked or even what kind of a day they might be having. Please keep these in mind if speaking with one of our CEOs.
If your vehicle has been issued a PCN you have a right to make a challenge against it. This has to be done in writing, no challenge can be taken over the phone. You can make your challenge online through our website or via email. You can also make a written challenge and post it to us, or complete a challenge form at one of our local libraries. If making a challenge, give us as much information as possible explaining why the vehicle was parked where it was and why you think that the PCN should be cancelled. Please include any evidence you think is relevant to your challenge. This may include receipts for goods, medical notes, pay and display tickets or anything that might help us understand why you were parked there.
The most important thing is not to ignore a PCN! If not paid or challenged the PCN will progress and the charge will increase.
If you want to pay the PCN you can do this at the reduced amount of 50% of the charge if paid within 14 days. This will be £25 or £35 depending on the contravention. After 14 days the charge will increase to the full amount of £50 or £70.
After 28 days a Notice to Owner will be posted to the registered keeper allowing a further 28 days to pay the full amount.
If not paid or challenged after this, a Charge Certificate will be issued which increases the charge by a further 50% which must be paid within 14 days. (Either £75 or £105). At this point there is no further opportunity to challenge or appeal the PCN.
If the PCN is still not paid, then an Order for Recovery will be made to register the debt at Northampton County Court (also known as the Traffic Enforcement Centre, TEC) which increases the amount by a further £9. (Either £84 or £114).
If it is still not paid at this stage, this could lead to a warrant being issued to an Enforcement Agent. This will mean further charges being applied and action taken to recover the debt.
So again, please do not ignore a PCN!
What is a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and why are they important?
TROs are legal documents that are important to manage traffic flow, speed limits and where you can park. They are made to control or restrict the use of the highway for all users including pedestrians and they aim to improve road safety and access to facilities. TROs are either temporary, permanent, experimental, or minor. They are made in line with The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. There are two other important pieces of legislation for traffic orders.
- The Traffic management Act 2004 covers enforcement.
- The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 describes the procedures needed to propose and introduce new traffic orders and amendments to existing ones.
TRO’s can be used to specify parking restrictions and other conditions under which vehicles may park and they can be enforced by law. The process of making a TRO must go through a specific legal process before it can be sealed and become enforceable, those stages are summarised below.
- A notice, called an Intention Notice, is published in the local newspaper circulating in the area to which the order relates, and in the roads affected.
- Full consultation with statutory consultees is undertaken.
- All associated documents are held on deposit at the district, borough or county council and at a local library. Documents are also displayed on East Sussex Highways website.
- Members of the public have 21 days from the publishing of the Intention Notice to comment or object to the scheme.
- If objections are received a decision is then made by the Planning Committee on how to proceed.
- If no objections are received the order can be sealed and a Has Made Notice published.
- The Has Made Notice must contain the date the order will come in to force, and if someone wishes to challenge the validity of the order how this can be done.
- All orders must be sealed within two years from when the Intention Notice was originally published. If it is not the scheme will need to be re-advertised and whole process restarted.
The majority of the TROs we make are either permanent or temporary. Temporary TROs are used when there are scheduled short term works such as resurfacing or utility works. For most other changes permanent TROs are used, some examples of these changes are shown below.
- Permit parking schemes.
- Speed limits.
- Weight restrictions.
- Yellow lines.
During the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, we processed 18 permanent TROs and 653 temporary TRO. 1386 Public Notices were advertised alongside the TROs.
In total across the entire parking team, excluding challenges and appeals against PCNs, we dealt with 30,263 customer contacts in 2022-23. Of those contacts, 45 were freedom of information requests and 16 were formal complaints.
As described earlier in the report the parking team is split into different areas to manage the different aspects of the service we provide. The following information about customer contact is split between the customer service, business and review teams. Contact with the notice processing team about PCNs is covered separately.
Customer service and enforcement teams
Business Team customer contacts
Review Team customer contacts
Notice Processing Team customer contacts
The notice processing team received 10,761 challenges and appeals against parking PCNs and 1,025 for bus lane PCNs.
More information about the PCNs issued and the outcomes of the challenges and appeals can be found in the next part of this report.
Penalty Charge Notices
The total number of PCNs issued in 2022/23 is up on the previous year, a contributing factor to this could be the increase in people’s movement and return to normality following the Covid pandemic.
Off Street (car parks)
Parking PCNs issued by contravention code
Parking PCNs paid
Bus lane PCNs paid
Challenges and appeals
Out of the 48,270 PCNs issued for parking contraventions we received 10,761 challenges and appeals against them.
- 31,327 were paid
- 2,782 were cancelled
- 125 were written off
- 14, 036 are still open
- 28 were appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT)
Parking PCNs cancelled by reason
Bus lane PCNs challenged and appealed
Out of the 3,943 PCNs issued for entering a bus lane, we received 1,025 challenges and appeals against them.
- 3,080 were paid
- 139 were cancelled
- 0 were written off
- 724 are still open
- 14 were appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT)
Appeals to the Traffic and Penalty Tribunal (TPT)
We have a range of permits available within our parking schemes. These help us to balance the conflicting needs of different types of motorists. Applicants for permits must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a permit. For anyone that is not eligible for a permit, pay and display, time limited bays or car parks are available. More information about the permits we offer is available on our website.
2,677 resident permits were issued in Eastbourne.
3,280 resident permits were issued in Hastings borough.
2,318 resident permits were issued in Lewes and Falmer.
2,804 resident permits were issued in Rother district.
These can be issued for vehicles or activities which are not covered by a parking permit or national exemptions.
The total income from our Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) schemes in 2022/23 was £6,807,239. Details of the income, expenditure, and the schemes supported by the surplus are below.