The British Parking Association Limited (BPA) are a trade organisation for parking companies in the UK. The BPA Ltd is not a Governmental organisation; it is paid for and run by its members for their benefit. It runs the Approved Operator Scheme (AOS) for operators of private car parks whereby members are required to follow a code of practice. The BPA Ltd is one of only two Accredited Trade Association (ATA) for the parking industry. Being a member of an ATA allows the parking company direct electronic access to the DVLA’s vehicle keeper database for a small fee; £2.50 a time. Access to the DVLA database is very important to parking companies since it allows them to look up keeper details. Without this parking companies cannot identify keepers where tickets are not paid.
In September 2012 the British Parking Association Ltd’s AOS scheme ran into controversy with several members being suspended from accessing DVLA data. The suspensions were put in place as a result of members breaking the DVLA’s rules on signage for privately-issued parking tickets. The rules at that time stated that parking companies must not make reference to liability by anyone other than the driver.
It was revealed that back in June 2012 the BPA Ltd had been warned by the DVLA about the issue and had been instructed to put out a warning to all members (view here). It appears that these warnings were not heeded, and this resulted in the suspension of several companies, including Combined Parking Solutions (CPS, view suspension letter), Excel, Roxburghe Debt Collectors, MET Parking, VP Parking Solutions, and ANPR PC Ltd. Both Excel and Combined Parking Solutions are understood to have representation on the BPA Ltd board, so it is perhaps surprising that they should fall foul of their own rules.
In November 2012 the DVLA established a ‘DVLA Consumer Forum on Private Parking Management’. The membership of the Forum included the AA, the RAC, Which?, Trading Standards, the Office of Fair Trading, Citizens Advice, in addition to prominent parking campaigners, Martin Cutts of the Plain Language Commission and Nev Metson, a former police officer. This Forum meets twice a year with the aim of cleaning up the parking industry from its present state. Read more at the Plain Language Commission site.
Click here to review the BPA’s Code of Practice.
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