51 parking fines scrapped for Liverpool politicians as part of ‘unacceptable culture’
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Fifty-one parking penalty notices were issued to fourteen elected members of Liverpool City Council and cancelled using back door methods, rather than overturned through the proper appeals process.
In its response to the Freedom of Information request by the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool City Council said that “despite conducting extensive searches of its records, the council has not been able to locate any formal council records detailing why parking services cancelled the 51 PCNs referred to above.”
The majority of PCNs were overturned on the ‘discretion’ of council officers and several former and current council members said they were acting on the orders of former senior councillor, Andy Barr - he has denied these claims.
Liverpool City Council said that any elected member querying a ticket should have been directed to the standard appeals process for parking tickets. This process would have ensured that an authorised appeals case handler would have considered the response in a fair and appropriate way. Councillors receiving a parking ticket are advised to go through the standard appeals process.
It added that an Internal Audit of Parking Services is being carried out to provide “independent and objective assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of risks associated with its operation.”
Mayor Joanne Anderson said: “The Cabinet and I have been working hard since my election as Mayor in May 2021 to change the culture of the council to one that is fully focused on delivering best value for its residents.
“We cannot change what happened in the past but it is vital that we learn from it and make sure we are as transparent as possible when it comes to decision-making, with the correct governance and audit procedures in place.
“I welcome the Internal Audit that is being carried out in relation to Parking Services, which will now pick up issues arising from this disclosure. The outcome will go to the Audit Committee for full transparency to see if we can further improve our systems and processes.”
Mike Cunningham, Lead Commissioner said: “The information released today shines a light on the poor practices that have been all too common in Liverpool City Council.
“However, it is information that the public have a right to know and, although it has taken too long for this information to be shared, we welcome the transparent approach the Council is now taking to publishing it. It demonstrates the positive steps being taken to improve the Council’s handling of freedom of information requests.
“We will continue to work with the Council to root out poor practices and build on the improvements that we now see emerging.”
Theresa Grant, Interim Chief Executive said: “It is, sadly, an example of the unacceptable culture that pervaded parts of the council in the past, as documented in the Best Value inspection report. I want to be clear that what happened historically is no reflection of the council’s current Parking Services staff nor management team.”