NSL Commercial Director, Graham Williams, today delivered a strong message at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, where he was part of a panel discussing parking management and the high street, organised by the British Parking Association. He said when it comes to discussing parking, the use of inflammatory language vilifying and demeaning parking wardens (civil enforcement officers), by those with the power of a public platform should be avoided at all costs. He added that demeaning language used to refer to hard-working parking wardens fails to progress the parking debate, but instead targets unfairly those who are doing a vital yet thankless task in our communities.
NSL is the specialist provider of public sector services, and is the UK’s biggest provider of parking services.
The central question posed at the event was ‘Good parking management is essential for a healthy and vibrant high street. Do you agree?’ Graham made the point that good parking regulations are designed to aid traffic flow and ensure safety, but also to create space, safety, and access for ‘everyone’ in our towns and cities. But also – and this is an issue that can easily be overlooked – good parking management also ensures space, safety, and access for pedestrians and cyclists too. Graham also emphasised how good and effective parking regulations are:
- designed in consultation with a broad range of local stakeholders and are regularly reviewed;
- Are simple to understand with clear signage, and with several ways to pay;
- Is managed in a commonsense way using fair and transparent business rules.
However, Graham made the important point to the influential audience – that inflammatory language surrounding the parking debate is unhelpful; using terms like ‘spy cars’ and ‘stasi’ are vilifying. He added: “It is not Government Ministers, or anyone else who bear the brunt of negative messages by those with the power of a public platform – but the thousands of hard working civil enforcement officers, traffic attendants, and parking attendants who deliver this vital, yet often thankless, service in our communities.”
Graham relayed direct comments from an NSL Civil Enforcement Officer who serves as an Employee Consultation Committee (ECC) Rep in one of the regions in which NSL operates. Graham put the panel question directly to the ECC meeting, with all agreeing that good parking management is essential for a health and vibrant high street. But one particular colleague said that: “It’s not just parking. There seems to be fewer police on our streets; people see my uniform and ask me for help; for directions, or to report a crime, or to report something suspicious. We do all sorts. People really appreciate us being around.” Their unofficial ‘secondary roles’ strongly dispel the notion that they are some sort of ‘stasi’, but are hard working people, who take responsibility and are valued members of their communities and whom the public can depend on when needed.
For further information, please contact Luke Allen, Director of Communications, 07468 701361, or Luke.Allen@nsl.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
NSL is a leading UK company specialising in the delivery and management of frontline services in complex public sector and regulated environments. Our core services include business process management; enforcement; passenger and social transport; street management and technical design services. We currently have over 70 contracts with local, regional and central government, as well as with the airport and the private sector, and have delivered contracts for high-profile government agencies, such as The Royal Parks, DVLA, Transport for London and Transport Northern Ireland.