Is Shepway District Council Telling Porkies?

Whose telling the truth? DCLG & The RAC Foundation or Shepway District Council?

Every year Shepway District Council, and all other councils in England, must tell the Government how much money it is making, or losing, from its parking fees and parking penalties schemes. This information must, by law, be published on each council’s website.

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Every year motoring organisation, the RAC Foundation, publishes an audit of “Council parking revenue in England”  which is based upon the annual returns submitted by each English council to the  Government. This makes the RAC Foundation’s audit a very accurate and authoritative source of information which is used by national media organisations as a basis for the many parking-related stories on TV and in the press. Here’s a link to the latest parking audit for 2015-16

http://www.racfoundation.org/research/mobility/council-parking-revenue-in-england-2015-16

The RACs audit includes a table which lists the surpluses (or deficits) made by each local council for its parking services.  The surpluses (or deficits) include the total income received from on and off street parking charges and penalties minus operating and other permissible costs. Here’s the entry for Shepway in the RAC Audit for 2013-14.

Local authority

Class

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Ranking by 2013-14 surplus

 £,000

 £,000

 £,000

 £,000

Shepway

SD

141

40

309

397

216

According to the RAC Audit, which is based on official Government figures,  SDCs parking account  made a surplus in 2013/14  of £5,000 pounds from its on-street parking. SDC state they made a loss for that particular year.

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But wait a minute – there’s a twist to this tale! As well as requiring councils to make annual submissions of parking services income, Government rules also  force  councils to publish their parking incomes on their websites. But SDC’s 2013/14 figures are not available.

SDC have stated they never made a surplus in 2013/14, but both the DCLG & the RAC Foundation state they did. So who is telling the truth?

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If, as SDC are claiming, it doesn’t make a surplus from its on street parking then why do they charge motorists, pay costs etc just to make a loss from its on street parking year on year? It makes no logical sense to run a business which is making a loss year on year, but then I suspect SDC’s commercial strategy doesn’t make a lot of sense to a lot of people.

Well it’s possible that SDC has made some type of accounting error and sent incorrect figures to the Government and published accurate figures on its own website or vice-versa. It’s also possible that SDC has deliberately submitted misleading figures to the Government to cover-up improper expenditure of parking revenue.

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But whatever the reason, the unexplained discrepancies of £5000 means that it is no longer possible to trust SDC’s explanation of its  parking finances.  If SDCs figures and explanations cannot be trusted then there is no way of knowing if the reasons given by Cllr Dearden (pictured) & SDC at full council on the 26/04/17 are justified or not. Nor is there is any way of knowing if the proposed roll-out of new on and off-street parking zones across Shepway has any financial justification.

In my opinion there should be an immediate independent public enquiry into the way in which SDC and the Tories have managed SDCs parking services and finances. This enquiry should be  conducted by accountants and parking professional who have no links to SDC. This enquiry should seek to establish the true state of SDCs parking services financial affairs and whether or not parking surpluses have, or have not been made and whether they are, being  misused by SDC to illegally prop up other council services or budgets. Until the enquiry has reported back its findings all new parking fee increases should be cancelled and all new parking schemes put on hold.

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I doubt whether SDC and its political leaders will agree to such a move. But clearly there’s an unexplained discrepancy of £5000 in the information published about SDCs parking surpluses which strongly suggest to me that something is wrong and that the parking accounts may possibly be being abused. In any event SDCs external auditor (Grant Thornton who have recently been fined £2.3 for a poor audit) will begin inspecting Shepway’s annual accounts for 2016-17 in July. I will be submitting an objection to these accounts related to the parking accounts and no doubt the shepwayvox team will be posting an article about this nearer the time – so please keep reading the blog.

In the meantime it might be helpful if SDC could fess up about the parking account discrepancies and provide a full, open and honest explanation of the situation with a reassurance that it is not telling porkies to the Government and the people of Shepway.

Vote Bryan Rylands                     Vote Independent                      May 4th

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Published & Promoted by Bryan Rylands Flat D Avenay Court Folkestone CT20 2LN

All the information above is my own and does not represent the views of the Shepwayvox Team who have kindly allowed me to use their blogsite.

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4 Comments on Is Shepway District Council Telling Porkies?

  1. In my humble opinion SDC regularly interpret things how they want to. I’m sure there are people in the Civic Centre who wear rose tinted glasses. Cheers for the heads up.

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  2. Believe SDC are you kidding, not bloody likely.

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  3. With Dodgy Dave at the helm. Never, bunch of …… Just read

    https://shepwayvox.org/2017/04/26/dodgy-dave-at-it-again-ill-leave-you-to-decide-that/

    That tells me enough.

    Good Luck Thursday Bryan I truly hope you beat Monk

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  4. SDC would not continue with a policy which leached money from their general revenue stream. Statements given in Open Council are either mistaken, or worryingly, false!.

    It is not beyond comprehension that SDC have told untruths. However it is not always your Councillors who have told untruths but rather the officers who have advised them.

    A spotlight should now be placed on the back-room boys. Data placed before Councillors has to be taken as fact by these Councillors. If the fact is wrong, or falsified, your Councillors would appear to have lied.

    As regards parking revenue I would ask where have these figures come from? (DCLG & RAC Foundation) Who has calculated the income, and who has calculated the cost? It aint your Councillor!

    Grey faces should be caused to take account.

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