Case Study – Westminster City Council

Westminster is located in the heart of London and is home to quarter of a million residents as well as being visited by more than a million commuters and tourists each day, the city is a powerhouse in the British economy and is an international centre for government, business, tourism and culture.

Having provided on-street parking enforcement services since 2004, NSL had developed a close working relationship with Westminster City Council, shared its community focus and was actively helping to deliver its vision of being a city that works for all. Following a competitive tender, NSL was awarded a new contract in 2014 that included a wider range of services including Business Processing which would be carried out by a dedicated team at Dingwall in Scotland.

Parking Enforcement
NSL now provides Westminster with a comprehensive one-stop shop for all parking-related services which are delivered by over 300 on-street and back office staff. On-street marshals fulfil an ambassadorial role on behalf of the council helping drivers to find available parking spaces and assisting visitors by directing them to tourist landmarks rather than focusing on issuing penalty charge notices.

In addition to parking enforcement, the marshals undertake a number of other important duties:

• Reporting on parking compliance issues
• Managing parking suspensions
• Handling unauthorised suspensions
• Reporting instances of flytipping
• Assisting at major events such as the Notting Hill Carnival to ensure the streets are kept clear

“We have been impressed by the way that NSL constantly reviews its enforcement activities, changing beats and shifts to improve overall compliance,” commented Jonathan Rowing, Head of Parking Services at Westminster City Council. “The company has continued to operate as normal during the pandemic, helping to support us when things went wrong. For example, NSL changed the way that statutory documentation was sent overnight following a cyber-attack at one of our external suppliers to ensure we did not see a reduction in customer service levels.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NSL demonstrated its resilience and agility. After closing the Dingwall business processing site all employees were asked to work from home. Laptops were provided for all staff within 72 hours and working from home had very little impact on the service delivered. The on-street service carried on as usual and teams were deployed on a daily basis. Despite some issues with sickness and self-isolation this did not significantly impact on service levels.

According to Mark Hoskin, Group Business Development Director at Marston Holdings: “This contract demonstrates our ability to provide integrated end-to-end parking services from on-street patrols, issuing penalty charge notices, back-office processing including appeals and correspondence through to debt recovery. With the scale and infrastructure to manage contracts of this size, it confirms our leading position in the industry.”

Air Quality Initiatives
NSL has supported the council’s campaign to reduce pollution by introducing air quality marshals that are helping to tackle the avoidable air pollution caused by drivers sitting in stationary vehicles leaving their engines running. Asking these drivers to move or switch off their engines is helping to eliminate pollution and improve the health of the local community.

Air quality monitoring sensors are also being installed throughout Soho in July 2021 to provide the council with data to help formulate future transport strategies that improve air quality.

CCTV Enforcement
Videalert, part of Marston Holdings, installed over 33 CCTV cameras on behalf of Westminster City Council following a comprehensive analysis of a wide range of moving traffic enforcement contraventions including yellow box junctions, banned turns and restricted access. The Videalert platform delivers the highest capture rates, enabling the council to meet its compliance objectives as well as providing the highest availability. With future-proofing built-in, additional camera assets and enforcement applications can be cost effectively added as required.

NSL’s traffic experts play an active role in the identification of camera locations and conduct surveys to confirm they will have the required impact on compliance. This is an ongoing process and more that 40 new sites are currently under consideration.

“The cameras are playing a key role in helping to deliver Westminster City Council’s joint strategy with TfL, which aims to improve public spaces by reducing traffic congestion and tackling poor air quality,” continued Rowing.

Notice Processing
Over 260,000 penalty charge notices are issued each year, all of which are processed by a dedicated team at NSL’s Dingwall notice processing centre. In addition to reviewing evidence packs automatically created by Videalert’s digital video platform using footage automatically captured by installed CCTV enforcement cameras. Dingwall handles all parking payments and appeals as well as providing an adjudication service. Parking permits for residents, businesses and healthcare professionals are also processed at this location. Any complaints relating to parking or highway services are handled in conjunction with the council.

Debt Recovery
Marston Holdings is also the sole provider of end-to-end debt and enforcement services for Westminster. This includes pre-debt trace and collect, warrant enforcement, collection services for Scottish and International debt and Expired warrants. Further assistance is being provided to tackle persistent evaders. This is supported by the company’s London-wide fleet of more than 30 ANPR vehicles and enforcement agent network. A dedicated desk-top tracing team includes a persistent evader agent on-street for Westminster at all times.

Key Successes
NSL pro-actively reviews its operations in Westminster on an ongoing basis, suggesting the use of new services and technologies that can deliver greater efficiencies and cost savings. For example, the introduction of an unauthorised suspensions service is helping to bring an additional income of £2m per annum to Westminster City Council. Also, in 20/21 NSL delivered a cost saving of £375k to the council through a new management structure and reductions in services that were not previously delivering value for money.

“Our work with Westminster City Council demonstrates how Marston Holdings can deliver complete solutions that streamline every aspect of the traffic and parking management process from enforcement and PCN processing through to collections. This unique, integrated approach not only removes the risk element when working with outside contractors, but also enables councils to increase efficiency and maximise compliance in short timeframes,” concluded Hoskin.

Social Value
As part of Marston Holdings’ ongoing commitment to serving the local community, many social value activities have been undertaken. They include:

• Participating in Age UK’s annual Christmas parcel drop when a number of employees volunteered to deliver food hampers to the elderly.
• Offering work placements to long-term unemployed Westminster residents and as a result have employed 3 on a full time basis.
• Sponsoring both the council’s staff awards and the catering at the Westminster Social Enterprise week.
• Providing two grants of £750 each to local community funds.
• Delivering CV writing and interview workshops to local long-term unemployed people.
• Conducting joint police patrols across five separate housing estates to assure local residents that anti-social behaviour, drug and knife crime are addressed.

Transfer Up instruction form

This service allows you to apply for County Court Judgments to be transferred to the High Court for enforcement.

Writ of delivery instruction form

Our Enforcement Officers are well equipped and experienced in recovering all types of fixed assets whether it be a single car or fleet.

Money judgment enforcement form

We can enforce judgments obtained in the High Court and almost any judgment issued in the County Court.

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Landlords may instruct us to take peaceful possession of their commercial property.

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Trespasser removal enforcement form

We can handle the process quickly and resolutely. Our dedicated team will attend the scene on receipt of the warrant and effect eviction without delay.

Residential possession enforcement form

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Process serving and tracing instruction form

We specialise in process serving throughout England and Wales. Court and legal documents are served on a same day-basis when required. We also undertake trace enquiries.

Employment Tribunal Enforcement Form

Instruct us to enforce employment tribunal awards. We can apply to the court to register the award as a Judgment.

European Enforcement Order Instruction Form

If you have a Judgment from a Country outside of the Jurisdiction of England and Wales but where the Debtor resides in England and Wales then we can assist you.

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