Agenda item


(Please note that this report has been circulated to all Members under separate cover as it is being considered by the General Purposes & Licensing Committee together with the Executive & Resources PDS Committee at a meeting on 21st November 2012.  The views of these Committees will be reported at the Executive meeting)


Please bring your copy of the report to the Executive meeting.


Report ES12110


The Executive considered a report seeking approval to proceed with a shared parking service with LB Bexley. The Environment PDS Committee meeting on 20th November 2012 had supported the proposed shared parking service, but added an additional request that an assessment of externalisation opportunities be brought forward once the shared service had been successfully established with a report on options in 12 months’ time. Executive and Resources PDS Committee and General Purposes and Licensing Committee had considered the proposals at a joint meeting on 21st November 2012; although General Purposes and Licensing Committee had approved a technical resolution to enable officers within the proposed shared service to discharge LB Bexley functions, Members had raised concerns and Executive and Resources PDS Committee had agreed that it did not support the current proposal and considered that all alternative approaches should be considered before a decision was made. Councillors William Huntington-Thresher and Eric Bosshard attended the Executive’s meeting to explain their committees’ positions.


The Director and Assistant Director of Environmental Services responded to the issues that had been raised at the earlier committee meetings. It was confirmed that LB Bexley were not asking for any financial penalties on Bromley to be included in the collaboration agreement, and emphasised that, although further outsourcing could be looked at once the shared parking service was established, large parts of the service were already outsourced to enforcement and ICT contractors. The most likely part of the service to be outsourced was debt recovery, which was already the most efficient in London. The shared service would be based in Bromley and managed by Bromley, but there would be reporting lines to members in both authorities. The savings figure of £100k was a conservative estimate, and the final figures would depend on which staff were assimilated into the new structure. About 10 fte posts would be removed, with comparable savings for both Councils.


Councillor Eric Bosshard stated that although he supported measures to drive down costs there were too many un-quantified factors and the savings on offer were too modest. He considered that the proposals should be supported by a robust business plan, and suggested that the Council should have a business plan template ready to use in such circumstances. He considered that this was an opportunity for staff to take over the service, or for the whole service to be outsourced – he was concerned that if a shared service was set up now it would need to be unravelled before any future outsourcing solution could be imposed.  He and his Committee remained concerned about dual responsibility for the service.


Councillor William Huntington-Thresher emphasised that the service was focussed on policy aims of keeping road traffic flowing and modifying driver behaviour while at the same time not penalising residents unnecessarily. His Committee considered that the current proposals would enable the Council to make quick savings while still providing an opportunity to consider outsourcing an established and larger service in the future. 


The members of the Executive considered the report and the various representations, concluding that the Council should push ahead with the proposals and achieve the savings. They considered that the questions around financial risk and management structure had been dealt with, and that there should be no further delay, agreeing with the approach of establishing the new service before making any decisions on outsourcing. The greater scale of the shared service would provide better opportunities for outsourcing. However, they requested that the Collaboration Agreement should come back to Members for approval.   




(1)  The responses received from staff and their representatives with regard to entering a shared parking service with LB Bexley be noted.


(2)  The proposal for a shared parking service between the boroughs of Bromley and Bexley to be established on the basis set out in the report be approved. 


(3)  A further report be made as soon as possible for the formal Shared Services Collaborative Agreement between LB Bromley and LB Bexley for the provision of parking services to be considered and approved. 


(4) An assessment of the opportunities for externalisation of the service be brought forward once the shared service has been successfully established.