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Note: Councillor M Lloyd Jones declared a Disclosable Other Interest in the following item of business as her husband was a Governor of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities, which provided Members with an opportunity to scrutinise the current car parking arrangements in place both at the Halton and Warrington Hospital sites and associated parking penalty charges. Ms Mel Pickup, the Chief Executive of Warrington & Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WHHFT) and Mr S McGuire attended the meeting to discuss the current arrangements.
The Board was advised that in 2014, WHHFT had entered into an agreement with Highview Parking Limited to undertake the control and enforcement of the car parks at Warrington and Halton Hospitals. As part of the car parking arrangements, any driver that currently overstayed in the car parks have been issued with a £75 penalty charge, reduced to £40 if paid within 14 days.
It was reported that since the introduction of these new arrangements, a number of issues/concerns have been raised by patients and their families with Elected Members, and in particular Councillor Thompson in his capacity as Ward Councillor. A copy of the letter Councillor Thompson had sent to the Chief Executive of WHHFT on 20 June 2015 outlining the areas of concern and requesting that the Trust urgently review the parking arrangements was set out in Appendix 1 to the report. Councillor Thompson, had also sent additional correspondence outlining information from patients and visitors in relation to their experiences of the car parking arrangements, along with two Freedom of Information requests in respect of the management and control of the Hospital car parks.
The following questions had been submitted to the Trust prior to the meeting:-
· The Tender Process – It was reported that a large number of charges had been issued due to motorists keying in registration numbers incorrectly. Parking systems existed to minimise these problems. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request on Bristol Eye Hospital revealed that no parking charges whatsoever had been issued in a three month period at their car park.
Question - Did any of the tender responses for the contract propose this or a similar type of technology? If so, why was it not chosen?
Question - Is it possible to switch over to this type of technology now? If not, why not?
· Government guidelines explicitly warned against awarding contracts let on any basis that incentives additional charges.
Question - There are 18 NHS patient, visitor and staff car parking principles. Has the Trust audited against these and if so what are the results?
Question - Did the Trust consult with other hospitals who had previously awarded contracts on the basis of incentive charges, especially ones which have had to sack the parking contractor because of the huge number of complaints and problems (e.g. ParkingEye at Northumbria NHS and Yeovil)? If not, why not?
Question - If the Government bans such models completely in NHS car parks, how long are the Trust stuck with the contract?
Question - Is the Trust aware of the Somerfield vs ParkingEye case? Has the Trust assessed the cost of early ... view the full minutes text for item 10.