What we do
We have been responsible for on-street parking enforcement within the city of Oxford since February 1997 when the Secretary of State for Transport granted orders allowing the decriminalisation of on-street parking (i.e. it is no longer the responsibility of the police).
Thames Valley Police remains responsible for the enforcement of all on-street restrictions for the remainder of the county. The exceptions are small areas in Henley and Abingdon which have localised arrangements in place, enforced by the town councils on our behalf.
Our Civil Enforcement team enforces the controlled parking zones throughout Oxford and is responsible for issuing permits within the city. The team is also responsible for enforcement of five bus gates within the central Oxford area.
The Civil Enforcement Group also maintains and enforces the Thornhill and Water Eaton Park and Ride sites owned by the county council
Our contracts and agency agreements
In order to achieve maximum value from the delivery of enforcement within Oxford, we contract out the service. Included within the contract is:
- parking enforcement, penalty charge notice processing and associated services in Oxford
- the operation and maintenance of access control barriers in Oxford city centre
- parking enforcement, management and maintenance of Oxford's Thornhill and Water Eaton park and ride car parks.
This was subject to tender in 2008 and is currently held by NSL Services. The above contract does not include any incentives for the contractor to issue penalty charge notices (PCNs). However, they do include penalties where PCNs have been issued incorrectly.
Henley and Abingdon
We have agency agreements with Henley Town Council and Abingdon Town Council to enforce small parking schemes in the towns. The relevant town councils issue permits on our behalf. Parking attendants patrol and enforce on-street 'resident permit holder only' bays and on-street 'pay and display' bays, issuing excess charge notices to vehicles contravening the regulations.
We also have an agency agreement with South Oxfordshire District Council regarding the management of on-street parking areas in Wallingford. The district council is wholly responsible for the proper operation and management of the designated parking areas. This includes the maintenance of ticket machines, collection of all excess charges and issuing reminders in the event of non-payment.
For information on how much it costs to run the parking services we supply, see the council's Statement of Accounts. Each year we have to report on our civil parking enforcement income and expenditure:
The council is a member of the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) Adjudication Joint Committee (which produces an annual statement of accounts which is subject to external audit), and The Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee:
- PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee - Annual Statement of Accounts
- The Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee - Annual Statement of Accounts
Under the Road Traffic Act 1991, money received from on-street parking fines (penalty charge notices) is 'ring fenced', and the regulations are very strict on what that money can be put towards. Money received from penalty charge notices issued within Oxford city is offset against the administrative costs of providing the parking enforcement service and in employing the contractor (NSL Services) to carry out the enforcement services.
Any surplus that remains can only be used to fund transport-related improvements within the city, which includes Thornhill and Water Eaton Park and Ride sites.
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal compiles independent reports on the performance of all local parking authorities.
If you have a question about a specific parking issue (eg a query about a parking ticket), please go to the appropriate web page in the Parking section to find out who you should contact. If you have more general comments or wish to complain about or compliment the service, then please contact us directly.