The reason POPLA is struggling?


Looking at the ISPA scrutiny board’s (the board that oversees POPLA) January minutes, I spotted the most incredible insight into the new POPLA service provider, Ombudsman Services. The minutes discuss how Ombudsman Services are building up a backlog of work, in the same way London Councils did when they originally launched. In January, having been launched in October 2015, there was a backlog of about 7,000 cases. The real shocking statement in the minutes was the following:

It appeared that Ombudsman Services had anticipated 4,000 cases per year but, in fact, they received that number in the first week

This would indicate they underestimated their work load by a factor of about 50 (FIFTY, five-zero). This is simply unbelieveable; one might have excused this if POPLA was a new concept, as it was when London Councils originally ran the service and didn’t know the numbers of motorists that would use it, but both the BPA Ltd and Ombudsman Services had all of this experience to refer to. It seems someone has  seriously cocked up if this is true. The minutes go on to explain the concern that ISPA have about Ombudsman Service’s abilty to deal with these cases:

Concern was expressed regarding the quality of decision making when working under this amount of pressure.

The January board was attended by John Gallagher of Ombudsman Services. The following comment made perhaps confirms the level of due dilligence Ombudsman Services performed before signing up with the BPA…

He reported that now Ombudsman Services have run PoPLA for a while it has realised that it is an appeals service rather than an ombudsman service.

The BPA lobbying machine has been in overdrive recently, demanding a single independent appeals service for the private parking sector. This is something we would agree with having seen the nature of the IPC’s appeals service. However, the BPA should probably get their own house in order, because with this shambles, and the previously discussed Wright Hassall saga, their ability to run a credible service is, at best, questionable.

Posted in blog, Parking companies
One comment on “The reason POPLA is struggling?
  1. Ewan Hoosami says:

    The January minutes seems to have disappeared from the ISPA website. The most recent minutes available are from the September 2015 meeting. Hmm, how very odd.

    Like you, I had a nose at the January minutes when they were available and noticed another worrying revelation,

    “John Gallagher updated the Board regarding the online dispute resolution system. Motorist puts details on system. Operator looks at it and may agree with the appeal. In that case there is no charge from Ombudsman Services as they have not done any work. The concern is that the operator may be turning down appeals at the first stage to wait and see if the consumer appeals. Ombudsman Services are concerned about this. The online system has had the unintended consequence where it may operate to the detriment of the consumer.”

    This would likely result in all appeals being initially turned down as the operator could simply walk away after putting the appellant to many hours of inconvenience. Standard procedure for most small operators but some of the larger predators were getting into the habit of allowing well constructed appeals to save themselves the inevitable (old) POPLA fees.

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