UPDATED:Clear As Mud

3AC41E6400000578-3973644-image-a-40_1480163549582Why is nothing easy when it comes to local councils and especially parking. We could have easily splashed the headline:

Shepway District Council make £691,000 from Parking.

However, that is and isn’t the case. Confused? You are not alone.

Shepway District Council (SDC) send parking figures to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). These figures include both on street parking – literally what it says and off street parking – car parks. SDC are responsible for on street parking via an agreement with KCC, and off course they are responsible for all 34 local cark parks

Each year the RAC foundation publish car parking data and this year was no exception. The data they use is the data all councils – including Shepway send to DCLG, so it is standardized. Below is the data SDC sent to the DCLG, according to the RAC Foundation.

Parking

Off Street Parking 16/17

On Street Parking 16/17

Income

£1,234,000

£676,000

Expenditure

£ 594,000

£625,000

Surplus

£ 640,000

£ 51,000

So SDC inform DCLG that their income from parking was £1,910,000. However, SDC’s own figures which they publish do not even come close to that as you can see here. They show that SDC made £1,041,831 in 16/17. Yet they send to DCLG £1,910,000. How come there is a £900,000 pound discrepancy between the figures? Can Cllr Ann Berry Cabinet Member for Parking, Frederick Miller, Transportation Manager for SDC and or his boss Andy Blaszkowicz, Head of Commercial and Technical Services  explain that? (all pictured below)

ann berry  Screenshot from 2017-12-12 23-38-41 Andrew Blaszkowicz

In fact SDC’s figures for on street parking state they made a profit of £38,000, not £51,000. And  SDC’s accounts make no mention of the £640,000 surplus for off street car parking. So perhaps you can see why we are confused, as this is as clear as mud!

Screenshot from 2017-12-12 09-15-52

Screenshot from 2017-12-12 23-38-41

So to get clarification our public face contacted Frederick Miller, (pictured foreground) SDC’s Transportation Manager and received the following response:

“The figures reported by the DCLG, RAC and The Folkestone Herald Online do not include capital expenditure.”

Now Fred has come back to our Public face with an update (15/12/17), on what he said  was for “clarification” purposes –  you understand. He has now stated:

“The DCLG figures will include all off-street income.”

Screenshot from 2017-12-15 08-46-01

So a complete U-Turn on what he first informed us. And that still means the figures don’t stack up. But he goes onto say:

“The difference in the two sets of on-street parking figures (SDC £38,000 – DCLG £51,000) are the internal recharge amounts. This means that £13,000 is recharged.

And finally, Fred might be trying to pass the buck here when he says:

“With regards to the reporting, this is done by KCC as they are the enforcement authority. Districts are required to send their parking accounts to them at the end of each financial year.”

It still doesn’t explain the £900,000 difference Fred. Perhaps you might answer that question clearly. Nor does Fred explain what recharging is.

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So we decided to talk to the RAC Foundation and especially David Leibling, who produces the report for the RAC Foundation and which is used by national and local newspapers, TV and radio.

Mr Leibling’s response was:

“We do not include capital charges – these are shown on a seperate part of the return and are not split between activities as they used to be so we cannot determine the capital charges attributable to parking. With regards to Shepway’s management charges, I presume this is an arbitrary allocation of corporate expenses which again we [RAC Foundation]  do not include because they are shown separately for the whole council and are not allocated to any particular activity. Any direct management costs for parking should be included in the RO return for parking. We [RAC Foundation] rely on the DCLG’s returns for all councils because they are submitted by councils according to a common formula which makes it easy to compare between councils. If councils produce different figures for their own purposes they should be prepared to publish a reconciliation in their annual parking report which Shepway does not produce despite it being part of the Dept of Transport’s Statutory Operational Guidance for Councils operating civil enforcement of parking.”

clear-as-mud-1

So now do you understand that the parking profit is as clear as mud. Is it £691,000 as the RAC inform us, or is it £38,000 as SDC tell us.

Anyway, one thing is certain, SDC DID make a profit on parking in 16/17. This means that under s55 of the Road Traffic Regulations 1984 must produce a report on how they have spent the profit.

In SDC’s audited accounts for 16/17 at page 61 it states:

Screenshot from 2017-12-12 08-54-29

Now the final sentence is not the only option SDC have. They can if they so wish use any profit for a highway improvement project, a road improvement project or  “environmental improvement”,  according to s55 of the RTR Act 1984. However, they have not elected to use the money this way. Nor have they elected to produce that report; which the law says they must.

Nine months on since the end of the last financial year, 16/17, no report, do you think after all this time SDC are going to write one and allow you the public sight of it? We’ll leave you to mull that over.

The Shepwayvox Team

 

 

 

 

About shepwayvox (673 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

1 Comment on UPDATED:Clear As Mud

  1. Looked at those figures they publish on there website and as you say, they do not even come close to £1.9 million. So How can they tell DCLG that’s the case. Also, the recent theft from the pay machine in Dymchurch just demonstrates, SDC can’t even be sure those who look after the keys aren’t getting up to nefarious activities.

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