Ealing Council to Ditch Parking Contract with SERCO

In-house company to take over with brief to 'enforce stringently'

Ealing Council set to issue more parking tickets
Picture: Ealing Council

December 8, 2022

An Ealing Council cabinet meeting this Wednesday (7 December) has voted to end the contract the borough has with SERCO for the enforcement of parking.

It has been decided to move the contract to Greener Ealing Ltd, which is a local authority trading company (LATCO) wholly owned by the council.

The planned switch will take place on 31 March 2024 and the new operator will be given a 5-year contract with an option to extend for a further five years. The value per annum of the contract is estimated at £2.4 million. The financial projections used to justify the move show that the council expects Greener Ealing to raise an extra £1,769,000 in revenue by giving out more parking tickets over the course of five years which will more than cover the cost of setting up the operation.

The projections on staff costs assume no increase because, although pay rates will be higher because of payment of the London Living Wage , a reduced use of agency staff will keep overall costs steady. The option to bring the service completely in-house and to be operated by staff directly employed by the council was ruled out because that would have increased employment costs by over £4million over five years.

It was decided to not put the new contract out to tender despite possible technological gains that could have been brought by a new external provider, as the Greener Ealing option provided ‘the best return on investment’.

The move is justified by the ability it will give for the council to dictate where parking enforcement is concentrated. The report by officers recommending the move states, “We will be able to ensure that we work very closely with residents and businesses to allow for better access to parking spaces and that we enforce stringently to ensure visitors to the area are able to park in a safe manner and ensure the footway is kept clear at all times.”

The report says that enforcement will be directed to problem areas including Southall town centre, where it says there is a high level of non-compliance, and school streets.

Another reason for the switch was the reputational damage for Ealing Council that the association with SERCO and the previous parking provider. The council was the subject of criticism during the recent strike by SERCO’s parking enforcement staff . The financial impact of the strikes was also raised as a concern.

A new contract is also to be given out for pound and removal services and £776,000 is being allocated from the parking reserve for the ‘mobilisation’ of Greener Ealing including the development of necessary systems and services at a depot in Greenford.

Cllr Gary Malcolm, the leader of the main opposition group said, "Liberal Democrats say that Ealing Council has had a real problem with many of its contractors and so bringing them in house is a way to have more control but it is more evidence that the Council has failed again to manage another contractor (Amey for waste collection, tree pruning companies etc).

"Given that Greener Ealing Ltd. has never managed a parking enforcement company there is a risk that the migration will not run smoothly. I am glad that the Council agreed with the Liberal Democrats that the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be involved in the migration from Serco to the new contractor, Greener Ealing Ltd. to ensure the process can be monitored."

Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact info@neighbournet.com and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.