A WHISTLEBLOWER says the town hall's parking enforcement firm threatens wardens with suspension and job losses if they fail to dish out enough tickets because of demand to keep numbers up for the council.
Nasir Ghaffar, an ex-employee of NSL, exposed the pressure his former bosses put on workers in leaked emails.
The former supervisor, says staff, known as civil enforcement officers, have to write up at least five or six tickets a day despite it being illegal to set quotas. If they fail they are monitored and if performance does not improve within two weeks they face disciplinary action.
He said: “In every single management meeting they’re worrying about PCN (ticket) figures. They say it’s Ealing Council asking for tickets although they don’t say tickets, they say revenue performance.
“There’s a high demand for the money raised through tickets and they don’t want to lose the contract.”
In one email addressed to Ealing supervisors, NSL operations support manger David Campbell described an average issue rate of below one ticket an hour for one warden as ‘shocking performance which needs to stop’.
In another he describes how to deal with underperformance. In capital letters he says to ‘really push them on the street’ and to never write a PCN (ticket) issue rate’. He says the issue rate can be mentioned verbally but not in writing, then it should be referred to as performance.
Mr Ghaffar said NSL is cutting staff, saying it needs to save money while using the redundancies to get rid of those missing targets. Troublemakers are suspended or fired, with seven suspended in the past few weeks alone.
He says he was suspended in September last year and fired by the council in February because he kicked up a fuss when three parking attendants were allegedly racially abused by a council officer who was cleared by the town hall.
He said the council inquiry was a whitewash and is now taking the council to a tribunal.
An Ealing Council spokeswoman said it sets the department’s budgets based on forecast income from tickets but this is legal and what all local authorities do.
She said: “Ealing Council has never asked NSL to meet quotas, nor do we pay incentives or impose penalties for the number of tickets issued.”
NSL spokeswoman Belinda Webb said they could find no record of the emails leaked to the Gazette and denied they use quotas, targets or incentivise their staff to issue tickets.
She said it was the only private contractor to call for a change in the law to make these practices illegal which were banned in 2008.
She said: “We do, however, measure how many tickets are issued. This helps us understand which areas have the highest number of contraventions so we can manage that location proactively, and to ensure that our officers’ are carrying out their duties correctly and to ensure all contraventions are dealt with at the time.”
She said the suspensions had nothing to do with quotas or targets and all were reinstated following investigations.