Barnet’s parking service came under scrutiny last night after an audit report raised issues with the council’s contract with NSL.
Two high and four medium priority recommendations were made in the report on Barnet Borough Council’s parking contract with NSL, which has controlled the authority’s parking enforcement and appeals since May 2012.
The internal report criticised the Benefits Realisation Plan, which looks at what the authority is getting out of the time and resources being put into the service.
Auditors said “controls were not in place” to monitor and manage the planned benefits, concluding that the contract’s ongoing benefits plan “should be improved”.
The report also found that there is nothing in place to monitor any issues that arise throughout the contract. It was recommended that an "issues log" is created and regularly monitored and updated.
At last night’s Audit Committee meeting, Councillor Mark Shooter said: “We as a council have to be on top of this and make sure we’re getting these figures to see how well they’re performing and whether they can improve.”
He also questioned how the council will continue to monitor NSL to make sure they deliver a productive service when the contract has already been signed for a five year period.
He said: “Obviously they haven’t got that much incentive because it’s a five year contract that finishes in 2017 so they’re sitting pretty comfortably – they don’t necessarily have to listen to what we’re saying.
“What have we got over them to ensure that they reach these targets that have been set?”
Despite the contract review having a “limited assurance”, council officers said the “contract is performing” and that NSL has to reach performance standards set within that contract.
Officers also said NSL is working with the council “to improve” in certain areas, including its customer service which has previously been raised with the authority’s scrutiny committee.
The £14million contract has been agreed for a five year period, but the council will have the chance to extend it by two years.
Commenting on the report, NSL’s head of communications, Dr Belinda Webb, said: “NSL treats customer service as a priority and is working hard to ensure this is consistently the case throughout Barnet.”