AOS Code Changes

 

AOS CODE CHANGES – EFFECTIVE 2 JANUARY 2018

We thought it would be helpful to inform Operators of the following Code Changes which will be incorporated into the latest edition of the Code of Practice – the new Code will be published shortly.

New Clauses

Clause 21.5 - We have an expectation that when Operators are using cameras to manage parking, they will sign up to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Code of Practice and adopt the Guiding Principles which are detailed in Appendix F of the Code.

Clause 23.1b - Where a Parking Charge becomes overdue and before Court Proceedings have commenced, a reasonable sum (which covers the cost of recovering debt) may be added for the debt recovery fees.  This sum must not exceed £70 unless prior approval from the BPA has been granted. 

Clause 23.1c - Before serving a Letter Before Claim and prior to the issue of proceedings, Operators must, if no responses have been received to the NTD/NTK/reminder letters, take reasonable endeavours to ensure that the person being written to is the correct party. 

Clause 23.1d - We have an expectation that members of the BPA’s Approved Operator Scheme who manage Debt Recovery follow the principles of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and in particular the outcomes listed in their ‘Fair Treatment of Customers’ schedule.  We would expect members to be able to evidence how they deliver these outcomes during audit. 

Clause 23.1e - In its written communication with motorist a statement that free debt counselling and/or legal advice is made available to motorists and how the motorist can find out more.  It is especially important that such information is provided on any letters before action or if it is believed that the customer may be vulnerable. 

Clause 13.2.a - Vehicles are not permitted to park under the grace period in spaces designated to specific users for example Blue Badge holders.  At all times vehicles must have appropriate and valid permit e.g Blue Badge on display for enforcement officer to inspect. 

Clause 10.1 - You must ensure your staff and agents are competent to carry out the tasks they are employed to do.

Clause 10.2 - You must provide good quality appropriate education and training to all staff for the general job specific and legal (for example, health and safety) elements of their role.  We may require you to evidence how you do this during an audit. 

Clause 10.3 - You will keep your employees’ education and training records for a minimum of 3 years and make them available to the BPA during an audit or on request.

Clause 2.15 - Where parking on land is subject to Byelaws you must ensure that your practices are in accordance with them or that you don’t operate a scheme that is prohibited by them.  For the avoidance of doubt, land managed under Byelaws is not considered as ‘Relevant Land’ under POFA.

Clause 9.5 - You must not use predatory or misleading tactics to lure drivers into incurring parking charges.  Such instances will be viewed as a serious and sanctionable instance of non-compliance and may go to the Professional Conduct Panel. 

Clause 19.10 - If an Operator seeks to use extracts from the ‘ParkingEye v Beavis’ judgement laid down by the Supreme Court, the judgement must be referenced and that extracts from it must be properly quoted.  Best practice would be adding the website link to the summary of the judgement, when making reference to it. 

Clause 21.8 - While we have an expectation that operators will seek to use the POFA legislation, it is appreciated that there will be occasions where this might not be possible.  If a non-POFA Notice to Keeper is being issued it must be sent out as soon as possible and no later than 7 months after the original parking event. 

Clause 22.9b - It must be made clear on any notices issued or on an appeal rejection letter that the motorist has to choose either to pay or to appeal (this also includes appealing to the IAS) – they can’t do both. 

Clause 22.12a - If an appeal is being considered by the IAS, the debt recovery process must not be commenced/recommenced until the outcome of the case is known.  We would expect operators to have systems in place to ensure that this does not happen. 

 

 

Amended Clauses

Clause 9.4 - Effective from 2 January 2018, the practice of offering financial incentives relating to the quantity of parking charge notices in new and existing employee contracts is prohibited. 

This clause was amended to incorporate all employee contracts.

Clause 13.1 and 30.1 - If a driver is parking without your permission, or at locations where parking is not normally permitted they must have the chance to read the terms and conditions before they enter into the ‘parking contract’ with you.  If, having had that opportunity, they decide not to park but choose to leave the car park, you must provide them with a reasonable grace period to leave, as they will not be bound by your parking contract.  

This clause was re-worded. 

Clause 13.2 and 30.2 - If the parking location is one where parking is normally permitted, you must allow the driver a reasonable grace period in addition to the parking event before enforcement action is taken.  In such instances the grace period must be a minimum of 10 minutes. 

This clause was re-worded. 

Clause 13.3 and 30.3 - You must tell us the specific grace period at a site if our compliance team or our agents ask what it is.

The word “should” was replaced with “must”. 

Clause 18.9 and 28.8 - So that disabled motorists can decide whether they want to use the site, there must be at least one sign containing the terms and conditions for parking that can be viewed without needing to leave the vehicle.  Ideally this sign must be close to any parking bays set aside for disabled motorists. 

The use of the word “should” was replaced with “must”. 

Clause 18.10 - Where there is a change in the terms and conditions that materially affects the motorist then you must make these terms and conditions clear on your signage.  Where such changes impose liability where none previously existed then you must consider a transition to allow regular visitors to the site to adjust and familiarise themselves with the changes.  Best practice would be the installation of additional/temporary signage at the entrance and throughout the site making it clear that new terms and conditions apply.  This will ensure such that regular visitors who may be familiar with the previous terms become aware of the new ones. 

Additional wording regarding best practice was added to this clause. 

Clause 19.7 - If prompt payment is made (defined as 14 days from the issue of the parking charge notice) you must offer a reduced payment to reflect your reduced costs in collecting the charge.  This reduction in cost must be by at least 40% of the full charge.

The word “should” was replaced with “must”.

Clause 19.9 and 34.8 - You must warn drivers that if they delay payment beyond a payment period of 28 days and you need to take court action or use debt recovery methods to recover a debt, there may be extra ‘recovery’ charges for debt recovery action.  However, you do not need to say how much these recovery charges are in advance, on your signs or notices. 

The word “should” was replaced with “must”.

Clause 21.7 and 33.2 - To give drivers early notice of your claim, you should apply to the DVLA for the keeper details promptly.  Usually this would be applying to the DVLA no more than 28 days after the unauthorised parking event.  When applying for Keeper Details you must ensure that you adhere to the DVLA’s guidelines and requirements. 

Additional wording regarding DVLA guidelines was added.

Clause 22.2 - Whenever you issue a parking charge notice motorists must first use your procedures for resolving appeals, before being able to refer them to an independent appeal service.  You must tell motorists at what stage the independent appeals service becomes available. 

Slight wording change but the clause says the same thing. 

Clause 22.3 - If the motorist asks for it, you must make available any photographic evidence you have.

The word “should” was replaced with “must”. 

Clause 22.9 - You must not ask the motorist to send payment of the parking charge with their appeal. 

The word “should” was replaced with “must”. 

Clause 22.16b - Witness statements were introduced as an alternative to the provision of a full/redacted landowner contract within an independent appeal evidence pack and as such these statements must be signed by a representative of the landowner or his agent, and not by a member of the operator’s staff. 

Added last point regarding operator staff.

Clause 22.16c - The independent appeal evidence must be sent or made available to the motorist on the same day as the independent appeal service receive it and the evidence pack to the motorist must be the same as the one provided to the IAS.  Failure to do this may be considered a Sanctionable Breach of the Code. 

Wording amended to reflect the use of the POPLA Portal. 

Clause 22.21 - The deadline for payment following an IAS decision in favour of the Operator is 28 days.

Slight wording change.

Clause 33.4 - Your letter to the keeper should point out the details of the unauthorised parking event and ask for payment.  It must also request details of the driver from the keeper.

Added the last sentence regarding requesting driver details.

Clause 37.6 - A parking charge notice may be challenged on the grounds that the vehicle was on hire or lease at the time the unauthorised parking took place.  If the rental or lease customer’s details have been provided to you by the hire or lease company, you must pursue your claim instead with their customer.

The word “should” was replaced with “must”. 

 

 

Clauses to be Removed

Clause 18.5

Clause 23.4 – Removed bullet point – you should also tell the keeper about how to complain, challenge or appeal. 

Clause 27.5 

Appendix F – whole section to be removed and replaced with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Code of Practice. 

The Glossary has also been updated.