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.