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Statement on dispute over the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) service

  • By Rosemary.Davenp...

Parking on Private Land Appeals Service (POPLA) – Resolution of Dispute between London Councils and the British Parking Association (BPA) over contract costs.

London Councils and BPA are pleased to announce that they have resolved a dispute about the apportionment of London Councils' central overhead costs which threatened to detract from the success story that is PoPLA.

For three years up to 1 October 2015, London Councils operated the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) service under contract for the British Parking Association (BPA).

For the first time ever, POPLA allowed motorists to have access to independent redress for private parking tickets and over 80,000 motorists took this opportunity.

At the end of the contract both parties remained in dispute over charges for additional central overhead costs which London Councils had applied retrospectively following a review of their central overhead recharge methodology.

Both parties agreed to progress to formal mediation in accordance with the dispute resolution procedure defined within the POPLA service contract. The mediation was held on Tuesday 27th September and was presided over by an independent CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) mediator, agreed and jointly appointed by the BPA and London Councils.

The mediation was successful, resulting in both parties agreeing a full and final settlement of the disputed costs and all matters relating to the POPLA contract.

The mediation financial outcome is summarised below:

Pre-mediation financial position £s excluding VAT
Total unpaid invoices at time of mediation 168,398
Less London Councils retention of underspent amounts 30,606
Less auditor fees met by London Councils 68,517
Total disputed amount 69,275
Mediation outcome £s excluding VAT
BPA final settlement payment 25,000
Total disputed amounts recovered 25,000

The £44,275 unrecovered amount is likely to be significantly less than the estimated costs (including legal costs) at risk if the dispute had gone to litigation.

The dispute did not relate to the direct costs associated with POPLA, only the recharge of existing overheads following the review of the recharge methodology. None of the central overhead amounts were greater as a result of providing the service under contract to the BPA. These costs existed regardless of the contract with BPA. The outcome of the dispute has not led to any additional costs to London Councils or its constituent authorities but has determined the overall contribution it has received from the BPA towards its already existing total central overhead costs.

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