Liverpool City Council has released information about parking penalty notices issued to elected members that were cancelled between 2015 and 2020.
The disclosure follows a Freedom of Information request.
It has taken a considerable amount of time and effort to pull together the response due to gaps in records.
Further work is ongoing to ensure that we are fully transparent and ensure that all documents that can be made public are disclosed. It is crucial to the Council’s improvement that transparency is embedded in our culture and practice
As part of our improvement journey following the publication of the Best Value inspection report by Max Caller in 2021, we have made many changes to our governance systems and processes.
Any elected member querying a ticket should have been directed to the standard appeals process for parking tickets. This process would have ensured that an authorised appeals case handler would have considered the response in a fair and appropriate way. Councillors receiving a parking ticket are advised to go through the standard appeals process.
An annual Internal Audit of Parking Services is being carried out to provide independent and objective assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of risks associated with its operation.
Mayor Joanne Anderson said: “The Cabinet and I have been working hard since my election as Mayor in May 2021 to change the culture of the council to one that is fully focused on delivering best value for its residents.
“We cannot change what happened in the past but it is vital that we learn from it and make sure we are as transparent as possible when it comes to decision-making, with the correct governance and audit procedures in place.
“I welcome the Internal Audit that is being carried out in relation to Parking Services, which will now pick up issues arising from this disclosure. The outcome will go to the Audit Committee for full transparency to see if we can further improve our systems and processes.”
Theresa Grant, interim Chief Executive said: “We have released historic information about parking penalty charge notices issued to elected members that were cancelled between 2015 and 2020.
“It highlights previous poor practice, relating to past processes and scrutiny of the way the council used to be run. It is, sadly, an example of the unacceptable culture that pervaded parts of the council in the past, as documented in the Best Value inspection report.
“I want to be clear that what happened historically is no reflection of the council’s current Parking Services staff nor management team.
“It is important to remember that much has changed at Liverpool City Council and we are now a more mature organisation, one that is open and transparent about decision-making.
“As part of transforming the council, so it is fit for purpose and well-run, we have made many changes to our culture, our management, our governance, and our systems and processes. We are determined to give our residents complete confidence that our services offer best value and operate with the highest standards of integrity, transparency and professionalism.
“The council’s Internal Audit team are carrying out an objective assessment of Parking Services’ systems – to give all of us – residents included – complete confidence in how the service is currently run.”
Mike Cunningham, Lead Commissioner said: “The information released today shines a light on the poor practices that have been all too common in Liverpool City Council.
“However, it is information that the public have a right to know and, although it has taken too long for this information to be shared, we welcome the transparent approach the Council is now taking to publishing it. It demonstrates the positive steps being taken to improve the Council’s handling of freedom of information requests.
“We will continue to work with the Council to root out poor practices and build on the improvements that we now see emerging.”