MD2038 Appeals services to the Congestion Charging Scheme

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2038
Date signed: 
20 October 2016
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Central London Congestion Charging Scheme became operational in February 2003.  It is a legal requirement of the Scheme that an independent arbitration and appeals service be provided so that motorists are able to appeal against Penalty Charge Notices that have been issued to them. The same is also true of the Low Emission Zone, which became operational in February 2008.  The contract for the independent appeals service for Congestion Charging and the Low Emission Zone is let by the Greater London Authority (GLA).  

The existing contract for the provision of appeals services to the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone expires on 9 December 2016. Therefore, a new contract is required in order that both schemes can continue in accordance with legislative requirements.  

 

Decision

•    To approve the award of a new contract  for the provision of appeals services to the central London Congestion Charging Scheme and the Low Emission Zone for a period of five years with the right to extend for a further two years at an estimated value of £5.6 million; and

•    To delegate powers to the Executive Director of Development and Environment, to execute the contract with the bidder submitting the most economically advantageous tender. 
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Congestion Charge became operational in February 2003.  Drivers entering the Congestion Charge zone currently pay £8 per day to do so (or less if they have purchased a monthly or annual pass, are eligible for an exemption or discount, e.g. taxis or alternatively fuelled vehicles, or are a resident within the zone).  

1.2    The Low Emission Zone became operational in February 2008.  The Low Emission Zone requires the payment of a daily charge if you drive within the Zone in a vehicle that does not meet the required emission standards and is not exempt from the scheme or registered for a 100 percent discount. 

1.3    Transport for London (TfL) operates both schemes. TfL may issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for either scheme if they believe the relevant vehicle has not paid either charge or is not exempt or registered for a discount.  The registered keeper of that vehicle will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).  On receipt of a PCN, the recipient is able to make a representation to TfL.  If this is rejected, they then have the right to make an appeal to an independent adjudicator.  

1.4    The provision of appeals services is in three parts. 

•    The provision of adjudication services.  Independent adjudicators are appointed by the Lord Chancellor and are reimbursed according to the time that they spend in undertaking this work;
•    The provision of the computer systems necessary to process the appeals.  This may be provided by a third party contractor or in-house;
•    The provision of administrative support so that the adjudicators are able to carry out their role efficiently and effectively and so that the outcomes of their decisions are correctly processed.  This will include the provision of office accommodation for the adjudicators, the administrative staff and all of the necessary IT equipment and paper records that will need to be kept.  

1.5    The contract for appeals services to the Congestion Charge was re-let to London Councils in December 2009 for a period of five years and was subsequently extended for two years to December 2016.  In order to ensure continuity of service, approval is sought to award a new contract for these services to most economically advantageous tender following a competitive and properly conducted procurement exercise.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    It is a legal requirement of the Congestion Charge Scheme and the Low Emission Zone that an independent appeals service be provided. The existing contract for the provision of appeals services to the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone expires on 9 December 2016. Therefore, a new contract is required in order that both schemes can continue in accordance with legislative requirements.

2.2    Changes to the either the Congestion Charging Scheme or the Low Emission Zone, such as the proposed Emissions Surcharge and Ultra-Low Emission Zone, can be covered within this contract as the service can be scaled to manage any changes in the legal scheme orders and associated changes in the volume of appeals. 

2.3    TfL will reimburse the GLA for the cost of this contract from the income received through the operation of the Congestion Charging Scheme, i.e. charges and penalties.  There is therefore, no overall financial impact on the GLA as a result of this contract being awarded.
 

Equality comments

3.1.    The contract includes the relevant provision on Equality and Diversity. There procurement process has been conducted in accordance to the responsible procurement practices. The service procured will ensure that members of the public have continued access to an independent tribunal should they received a Penalty Charge Notice. It is therefore not anticipated that the recommendation in this paper will have any unequal impact on equality groups.

 

Other considerations

a)    Key risks and issues 

4.1    If an approval for the new contracts is not completed in advance of 9 October 2016 there is a risk that the existing contract would lapse and that an independent appeals service would not be able to operate. This would in turn jeopardise the operation of the central London Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone.  In order to mitigate this risk, the GLA instructed TfL to conduct a tender process and allow sufficient time for the necessary approvals. 

b)    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

4.2    The requirement to operate the central London Congestion Charge Scheme and the Low Emission Zone is stipulated in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.  It is a legal requirement of the Congestion Charge Scheme and the Low Emission Zone that an independent appeals service be provided.

c)    Impact assessments and Consultation

4.3    As stated previously, it is a legal requirement of the Congestion Charge Scheme and the Low Emission Zone that an independent appeals service be provided.  Therefore, there are no direct or formal impact assessment or consultation requirements as a result of this procurement.
 

Financial comments

5.1    TfL will reimburse the GLA for the cost of this contract from the income received through the operation of the Congestion Charging Scheme, i.e. charges and penalties.  There is therefore no overall financial impact on the GLA as a result of this contract being awarded.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

Ongoing

Delivery Start Date

December 2016

Contract re-let or extension  

December 2021