Independent Scrutiny Board for Parking Appeals on Private Land

Independent appeals services have arisen out of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which established a form of keeper liability in respect of parking on private land. As defined in the Government’s Guidance on Section 56 and Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 it is a condition for implementing the parking provisions in the act that an appeals process is established and that

  • it is completely independent;

  • it covers all tickets issued on relevant land in England and Wales by Accredited Trade Association (ATA)members;

  • it is provided free to motorists;

  • its decisions are binding on the industry (but not on drivers and registered keepers);

  • it is entirely sector funded.

The British Parking Association (BPA) was recognized as the appropriate ATA to implement the scheme. The BPA subsequently established a three-year contract with London Councils, who are an established statutory operator of appeals in the public sector, to establish and operate the Parking on Private Land Appeals Service (POPLA). This began work on 1st October 2012. The appeals service has since considered over fifty thousand appeal applications.

Although the existing scheme, and the agreement which establishes it, places the appeals decision making process at arms length from the BPA it remains the commissioning and funding body for the scheme. Motorist groups in particular have questioned whether, as a result, the process is truly independent and the establishment of the Independent Scrutiny Board for Parking Appeals on Private Land can be seen in part as an attempt to address this perception.

The primary role of the Board is to oversee the governance, performance and effectiveness of POPLA, so as to provide public reassurance as to its independence, and the fairness of its decisions.

In particular the Board will:

  • Ensure that the Service meets the requirements of an independent appeals process and commands the confidence of Ministers and Parliament

  • Contribute to the scrutiny and effectiveness of PoPLA and the Service generally in both a reactive and proactive way

  • Agree its budgets with the BPA

  • Approve the appointment of future Service Providers

  • Approve the appointment of the lead adjudicator

  • Publish reports as appropriate and in particular an Annual Report (including the Chief Adjudicators Report), with the Chair certifying that the Service and Board were provided with adequate resources

  • Approve the rules and procedures for the operation of the Service and set the performance framework of the Service

  • Have regard to the Better Regulation Principles, the Principles of Good Governance (British and Irish Ombudsman Association) and the Nolan Principles of Public Life.

  • Develop a clear process to address concerns and complaints about the Service (but not individual cases)

  • Work closely with a wide range of stakeholder groups to improve the service and ensure that it is independent and seen to be independent for the public benefit.