Permit Renewal System Descends into Chaos

SERCO struggles with huge backlog of residents' parking applications

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The transfer of responsibility for management of parking services appears to have descended into chaos with residents reporting long waits to receive new permits and visitor parking vouchers.

Management of parking services in Hounslow Borough was handed over to outsourcing company SERCO on August 5th. Applications are now processed from an office in Park Royal along with those from the boroughs of Brent and Ealing. Residents are reporting that after waiting over two weeks for a permit renewal when they have tried to contact SERCO on the given e-mail their message has bounced back.

SERCO have contacted some people awaiting permit renewal to tell them that there is a backlog in processing but a one month amnesty will be given from the date of expiry of their old permit. We have not been able to get official confirmation of this policy from Hounslow Council.

Another resident applied for a monthly permit over a fortnight ago. Although his account was debited the charge, he has yet to received the permit which he needs to start at the beginning of September. He has sent several e-mails but not received a reply and there is no phone contact point given.

Some people have resorted to ringing SERCO's headquarters in Hook, Hampshire to ask for assistance. This number is 01256 745900. Hounslow Council advise that the best e-mail to contact SERCO about parking permit issues is

Chiswick Councillor John Todd has been advising constituents affected by the delays. With many people fearful that they will be given PCNs through no fault of their own, he says his correspondence with SERCO will create an audit trail if people need evidence further down the line.

A council spokesperson said: “Hounslow’s five year parking enforcement contract is in its fourth week and is now settling in. There were some IT and postal teething issues in the first three weeks but these have now been resolved. The majority of new applications are being processed within 10 days.

“We are working closely with our contractor to clear the remaining backlog within the next few days and move the service to a five day turnaround within the next three weeks. Officers are also working closely with Members and local residents to iron out any issues. The London Borough of Hounslow is looking forward to realising the ongoing benefits of partnership with London Borough of Ealing and the London Borough of Brent.”

The consolidation of parking service management with other boroughs was supposed to bring higher standards of service and a £600,000 annual saving.

August 30, 2013