Recruitment issues mean Thanet has just 3 parking enforcement officers with 8 roles still vacant

Parking charge notices Photo RAC

Just three out of 11 enforcement officer roles for parking at Thanet council are currently filled.

The authority has been struggling to find – and then retain- people to take on the positions.

The figure was revealed in response to a question by Cllr Cedric Towning at a council meeting on Thursday (March 28).

Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods Cllr Heather Keen said: “There are 11 full-time equivalent civil enforcement officer posts in the current establishment with  three post are currently filled.

“However, we have four CVs submitted which we will be processing in the coming weeks and an ongoing recruitment open with a local agency

“It is common knowledge that these roles are extremely difficult to recruit to and this is a common problems faced by authorities across the country with a number of Kent authorities currently running campaigns.”

Cllr Keen said a number of people have been taken on for the roles over the past six months but “there has been a high level of turn over.”

Cedric Towning

Cllr Towning, however, questioned how people would apply for the roles when they were not being advertised either by the recruitment agency – HRGO – or being displayed on the Thanet council website’s vacancy page.

He added: “What is your plan now to move this forward to make sure these jobs are properly advertised and marketed.”

Cllr Keen admitted the vacancy has not been advertised on Thanet council’s website but said an advert would be online from April. She added that HRGO took down the advert after sending over the four applicant CVs but have now reposted it.

She said: “However, there’s still the difficulty in recruiting to these posts, it’s a country and county wide issue.” Adding: “It is a difficult job to recruit to because it is a difficult job to do.”

The civil enforcement officer roles are being advertised as temporary to permanent for £13,09 per hour  (approx£23k per year) on a 37 hour week. People would work on a three week rota between 6.30am and 10pm.

The job advert says: “As a Civil Enforcement Officer, you will perform a unique and innovative role, conducting street patrols within designated areas of the district.”

Requirements include knowledge of the Highway Code and Road Traffic Regulations, clean driving license, being fit and having basic computer skills.

In 2017 the then-UKIP led Thanet council applied to the courts for permission to use powers which allow secret surveillance  in connection to an investigation of its own parking enforcement department. The application was denied.

92 Comments

  1. No wonder there is so much illegal parking in Ramsgate, no one seems to take any notice of double yellow lines any longer.

    • They are a great deterrent to going into a town centre that’s for sure. I just won’t go into Margate town all the time I have to pay to park. It’s done a great job at making it a no go town full of left behinds.

      I also stopped using Ramsgate Harbour since someone had the great idea to extend the pay to park along the top of the cliff.

      • Ever thought of getting a bus? Probably cheaper than running a car now that fares are no more than £2.

        • How do you think that? If 2 of you go on the bus you have to be £2 each, each way. That’s £8 for a trip to a local town. Even more if you have a family. About 50p or less in a car. You people live in a ideological fantasy

          • How much does a car cost you per year? Almost certainly far more than I spend on trains, buses, cycle parts and walking boots.

      • As someone who lives on top of the cliff I’m happy with that as there is barely enough parking for residents as it is.

        • As long as you are happy Chairmain. Forget all the local businesses. Why did you choose to live next to a town if you were more concerned about parking?

      • Boundary rd is a nightmare especially outside the pub on the bend ,double yellows mean nothing, neither does parking on the path , it’s a joke .

    • P C, what a star! Not sure clamping is so good as it’d keep the vehicle as an obstruction. But I’d do this job if TDC got permission for its enforcement officers to enforce all aspects of illegal and anti-social parking.
      I’d also love a “3 strikes and out” rule. On the third poor parking decision instead if a ticket the care gets clamped and then removed to a store. As well as a levy to release the vehicle the offending driver would have to complete community service hours before being allowed to drive.

  2. Lets hope these roles are filled soon, always a good idea if you have a vacancy to fill, you advertise it. People aren’t mind readers. Keep two positions unfilled however and send Application forms to Mckinley and Gale, they are soon to be unemployed.

    • It really is a nonsense – and typical of TDC’s complacent attitude to so many things.

      It beggars belief that 8 vacant posts are not being actively marketed. TDC’s oft quoted excuse for failures is lack of staff – ironic isn’t it – more especially as it was raised by a Conservative member ?

      What was the point of TDC’s flag waving over policies to enforce activities and behaviour in public spaces – when it clearly does not have the staff to do so ?

      Labour is supposed to be the party for the workers – and yet they are not bothering to ensure the posts are filled. It puts them on an equal footing with the Conservatives . . .

      Was there the usual venomous spat across the Council Chamber with each side blaming the other ?

  3. You’d think they could pay a bit more, a residents permit in the Addington scheme has gone from 75 to 94.38, does it really cost that much to issue a permit? All for the ability to park near your own home, why the need for yet another money making scheme? Thats before you get the cost of visitor permits , now costing 3.70 each, that you dare’nt buy in bulk as they expire at the end of march? How can it not be possible to carry over unused permits? All very simple with the old books of permits bought over the counter.

  4. The problem isn’t the cost of the permits, but the diminishing money coming from Westminster which means local councils must generate money to cover the vast shortfall. So the more the Tories cut funding and favour tory run councils and cost increase councils must increase costs to cover. So the problem is one of Tory invention playing politics with people and there lives without care or regard, these are the MPs you repeatedly vote in and they role you over everything. First job of government is to protect the country and it’s people, these chinless wonders have never done that. More interested in lining there friends and family pockets with contracts awarded and having off shore interests and turn up once every election to smile and give a little back in the hope your loyal enough and gullible enough to vote them back in so they can screw you over again, while diminishing the country.

    • Steve…why would anyone take your comments seriously when your command of written is English is so poor. Obviously just another Labour supporter with nothing better to do than to write childish comments.

    • The issue isn’t the lack of money coming to local councils, it’s the corruption and mismanagement of our funds. I know someone who started working at Birmingham Council last year on a temporary contract . If I told he discovered it would make your hair turn white!! I’m talking Millions upon Millions of £££ being “mismanaged” with senior staff fully in the know. I won’t mention the nepotism that is utterly rampant in all their departments.

      And what did Birmingham Council do last month? they’ve just agreed to increase the council tax by 10%! Those poor constituents are already being robbed blind ….. and now they’re gonna have to pick up the bill for their councils continued corrupt incompetence.

      Parking fines are a money making scam

      • True, but on the sausage you don’t have to do anything. Which leaves time available for a side hustle. That’s the attraction.

        • This why so many of them have such low self-esteem, resulting in addiction and/or mental health problems.

          Hard work does people the world of good.

      • Pathetic childish politics aside, if that were the case why doesn’t TDC have residents parking permits everywhere? Nor do you explain why the mere act of issuing a permit costs so much, for example- than having bulk waste collected from your home and transported to the tip. Blatant profiteering by the council on the one hand and bountiful subsidy on the other.
        Nor have you addressed why visitors permits expire.
        However if we are going to play at daft political point scoring , will these charges be removed once we get a Labour government?

        • That should have come up as a reply to Steve.

          However , in respect of pay, the headline figure means little, all important tax credits etc mean differing overall earnings depending on benefit entitlement.

          Plus of course as pointed out elsewhere, much easier to livemon benefits and do a bit of cash in hand work on the side if you can be bothered.
          A prime example as to why there are so many vacancies and yet so many who are sitting at home doing nothing.

      • Ditto! We’d probably be better at the job too (employing a driver to do it is like employing a smoker to enforce a smoking ban!).

  5. Requirements include knowledge of the Highway Code and Road Traffic Regulations – if TDC or the agency, read those regulation they might learn how to spell driving licence.

    Pedantic, maybe – but if they expect people to apply the letter of the law on such a low wage, they ought to get the letters right themselves…

  6. It’s a wage higher than most hospitality jobs and retail jobs, and it’s a wage higher than the living wage and the minimum wage.

    Thanet consistently claims high unemployment figures and yet we cannot fill quite a few jobs.

    When I was a waitress I didn’t flounce around demanding a higher rate. I took the going rate.

    If a person is in need of work then any work is good work. Surely?

    • I’d rather be out of a job than do this job. Ruining people’s day everyday and getting abused would leave you feeling pretty negative and they are a hinderance to every business in the areas they operate because nobody wants to pay to park in our awful towns

      • You think an unregulated free-for-all is the best solution? With cars parked in hazardous and dangerous places? Obstructing other road users?

        • No I think limited time free parking and putting tickets on cars that are only parked illegal is the answer.
          Also these guys are chasing the wrong people a lot of the time. When Londoners flood down and shove their car anywhere they are nowhere to be seen

        • What ?

          The car enhances my live it enables me to go to work to pay my way in life. It enables me to visit family. It enables me to go on holiday. It enables me to travel around England watching City. The car has in mo way ruin my life, it has given me fantastic moments and memories.

          • I very much doubt Ms Pink needs to worry about earning money Manc. You have time to become that ideological without having a few quick in your back pocket that’s trickled down to you.

          • Strangely enough, I manage to do all that by train (including far flung places like Inverness)… and locally, by bus, cycle or foot.

  7. Alice is first to apply.
    Right?

    Because slapping a ticket on a drug dealer’s Range Rover checking up on his Northdown Road “operations” for £13ph is worth being a dead Thanet man walking?

    They might get applicants if their identity they can be concealed somehow but it a lot of slow trudging of your feet which most people (and Alice) feel is just too effort for that rate. High effort jobs are always recommended for someone else, right?

  8. What a ridiculous comment. You’re seriously suggesting being a parking warden in Cliftonville is a risk to life? Please.

    Walking around slapping tickets on cars is a lot easier than being a waitress.

    And if I needed a job then yes. Of course I’d apply.

    A job’s a job if you need one.

  9. In lots of areas in Ramsgate there are simply no where to park when shift workers arrive home after doing a 12 hour shift at QEQM so my neighbour who is a nurse she parks her car on double yellow lines and puts her car keys in west my letterbox. At 6, o’clock in the morning I then move her car to a parking space where another neighbour has gone to work off to work. The nurse doesn’t want to park streets away from where she lives and walk home late ate nigh so that’s why we have this arrangement I’m insured to drive her car. I would be happy to be a parking enforcement officer but I would be diplomatic and fair my background of working in a secure facility with dangerous people has put me in good stead to be fair but firm.

  10. Wondering why the jobs aren’t being applied for and then admit they aren’t actually being advertised by the Council.

    If the jobs aren’t attractive enough for applicants then offer more money. Councillors gave themselves a 16% allowance increase so why not these jobs too ?

    Parking in Thanet is becoming lawless. The longer TDC leave it without acting the worse the problem will be to solve.

    Interesting that they claim the problem is a county and national issue whereas none of our neighbouring Councils have these kind of jobs being advertised. They have presumably found a way to fill them.

  11. Residents parking permits, does NOT solve the parking problem, it just pushes the problem elsewhere

    • Too many cars is the problem. Households with 2 or 3 cars. Add to that the number of commercial vehicles tradespeople bring home with them. There just isn’t enough room in our Georgian towns to accommodate so many vehicles.

  12. Parking schemes in some areas not others pushes the problem around I agree.

    A total community parking zone across the whole area is the only sensible solution.

    Assuming new build flats with no parking rules will simply mean folks won’t own a car is naive and disconnected from the real world

    Then again, with almost no enforcement officers what does it matter?

    This is a 27k local government role. Very good pension and holidays. And policy entitlements way beyond statutory minimums.

    There are hundreds of ‘difficult’ jobs. To single these out as unemployable is ridiculous. Try working in HR, bus driving, teaching, housekeeping, credit control, refuse collection, social Work, the list is literally endless……

  13. Recently I was told by a Conservative TDC councillor that I need not bother to pay for parking in Thanet due to the lack of parking wardens as highlighted here. He told me he never bothers and has only been given a parking ticket once, the cost of which was more than covered by all the times he didn’t pay.

    I suppose this could be regarded as Tory enterprise as he is saving money, but at the expense of providing revenue to TDC.

    What are Reform UK’s plans concerning parking costs nationwide? Its predecessor Ukip always opposed parking fees. Perhaps, Amelia Randall, Reform’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the new Herne Bay & Sandwich constituency that includes Westgate & Birchington can peer into her crystal ball and enlighten us?

    For those of you who missed the investigation by The Mail on Sunday (31st March edition) Ms Randall is one of Reform’s ‘rogue candidates’ exposed as a psychic tarot card reader & seller of magic spells on a pornography website. She is featured wearing a crown, along with other dire candidates, including one convicted of animal abuse. Others were revealed to be racist, homophobic and misogynistic.

    Reform will not confirm or deny that Nigel Farage will seek election in East Thanet. Can we order a banishing spell to ensure it doesn’t happen?

    Can she cast her runes and predict the date of the General Election? It can’t come soon enough! Let’s rid ourselves of the shambolic Tories & reject Reform reprobates!

  14. I wonder if Cllr Keen will read any of these comments?
    In case she does I’m thinking that an overal strategy is what’s needed, not piecemeal efforts that we’ve seen to date.
    I’ve been writing to TDC CEO and the complaints people for ages setting out issues for Ramsgate and how the lack of vehicle parking enforcement is a breach of the Equalities Act, it is so don’t ask me to explain here.
    As TDC, KCC and the police have different powers I suggested they collaborate to have an officer from each agency, once a day, enforcing in Ramsgate. The areas covered would be informed by resident observations and photo evidence submitted to TDC’s existing data base system. They’ve refused respond other than with silly platitudes and excuses.
    While this would have an impact it needs to be part of the wider strategy. Hundreds of Local Authorities have implemented vehicle parking strategies over many decades. TDC has no excuse for not learning from this wealth of experience. They have no excuse for not properly talking to the community about what’s needed. They have no excuse for choosing (and it is a choice) to ignore the issues.
    So, Cllr Keen, lets get the ball rolling. In case you don’t read the IoTN I’m going to send this comment to you as an email with offers to help.

  15. There are 32/34 million cars registered depending on whose figures you accept.That’s a car for every two persons living in the UK.Much of urban Britain was laid out (not planned) in the 18th or 19th centuries, with various road ‘improvements’ added on since then.There is not room for them all in a compact Town like Ramsgate. TDC, as always are hapless and hopeless regarding recruitment to Cedric has a point.However, I doubt if there will be many takers,as who wants to be abused, spat on and threatened every day for low wages? I think technology should be in play with ANPR cameras deployed where ever possible and enforcement officers used where ANPR cannot be used.I think Ms Pink has a point about walking,cycling and buses (I know, this is becoming a habit).
    TDC could extend the car park at Thanet Parkway and use it as a park and ride, and run buses to Ramsgate and Westwood cross, which could reduce congestion,make some use out of Parkway and if Westwood cross was not being used as a giant car park,it could be used for housing instead of the farmland that everyone seems so concerned to save from the concrete mixer.Of course, there is another site that with the necessary infrastructure could be used as a park and ride, as it has oodles of tarmac on site.

    • I get abused, spat on and threatened every day on here without ANY payment! So, if I was (a) younger, and (b) unemployed, I’d jump at the chance of doing this job… except, for reason(s) unknown, TDC want someone with a driving “license” – something I’ve never had.

        • Best comment on here so far Andrew. A spelling mistake in a comment mocking a spelling mistake.

        • Read the article, Andrew – and then complain to TDC and/or Kathy:

          “Requirements include knowledge of the Highway Code and Road Traffic Regulations, clean driving license, being fit and having basic computer skills.”

      • My best guess would be they expect you to drive yourself to whatever area in Thanet they decide to send you to on any given day & likely you have to pay for the petrol yourself.

        • Surely there’s regular public transport to and from everywhere in Thanet – unless they’re thinking of putting parking wardens in Acol or Monkton? Anyway, if I was doing the job I would’ve cycled everywhere: well into my 50s I regularly cycled to Dover and back, so flat Thanet is a doddle.

        • It was a joke, dear fellow.

          Back on subject… would YOU work as a traffic warden if you weren’t retired and needed a job?

    • As for a park and ride, it would be utterly pointless in Thanet: the main shopping area (i.e. Westwood Cross) has plenty of free parking.

      • No, that’s why I suggested an extension of ANPR systems.
        Park and ride:Thanet has two main entry points the A299 and the A256.if we can reduce the non local traffic by nudging that traffic to a park and ride, local traffic including buses and emergency vehicles, traffic would flow more easily.
        Westwood cross is a planning disaster,just getting to it, is bad enough and at times the parking is insufficient.
        If the loop was extended to a park and ride and increased in frequency it would cover several issues.That useless station would have a purpose and Thanet would have tool to control congestion,as it is things will not improve. Public transport in Thanet has been cut like everywhere else in Kent.
        If Westwood cross was a shopping centre and not a car park, the available space could be repurposed for housing,thereby reducing the agricultural land take, which is something you have been complaining about.
        Of course if Manston was repurposed into a park and ride it could cover both main roads, but that would require a change of thinking,not something that Thanet is noted for.

        • No-one in their right mind would go out of their way to use The Loop. It is the one bus in Thanet I almost never use, thanks to the very low hygiene standards of the clientele (or “Loopites”, as they’re more commonly known).

          • How do you know if you don’t use it? As it has the newest vehicles which are due for replacement this year, it hardly fits your unpleasant and unsustainable argument.I offer a worked out set of options and you come up with the usual pinkism or Checksfield bullshine.

          • I use the Loop fairly often and haven’t seen a lack of hygiene as you claim. I find drivers and passengers generally polite and helpful.
            I wonder if you’re displaying snobby arrogance here Peter? It’s not nice but then you seem to delight in wind-ups.

  16. How strange that people don’t want to work anywhere between 6.30 AM & 10 PM, freezing their rear end off, being spat at, verbally assaulted, physically assaulted etc & get paid a bit over NMW.

    To boot TDC are so incompetent they haven’t bothered posted the vacancies on their website & even the recruitment agency given the task don’t want to advertise them.

    • Pirate Jenny, I too use the Loop often. It’s fine. An ordinary bus with the usual kind of passenger i.e. mostly quiet , friendly and helpful.

  17. I very much doubt that is the experience of being a parking ticket officer. How dramatic a view. When I’ve seen them wandering occasionally, once in a blue moon, there’s no sign of anyone spitting at them or assaulting them.

    Perhaps TDC could share the number of incidents experienced in this seemingly life threatening role in no-go Thanet according to various hysterical comments on here.

    And for accuracy, the roles are 13% higher than the national minimum wage. Plus a local government pension scheme. Employer contribution is c. 20%.

    Holidays? 5 days more than the legislation requires.

    Sick pay significantly in excess of SSP.

    Hardly terrible.

    • Second best comment on here so far Steve.
      When you make a statement for accuracy you really want to make sure that it’s not inaccurate.
      £11.44 + 13% is not £13.09.
      Personally I don’t agree with using the minimum of anything as a yard stick.

  18. Thanks for explaining the rules of online posting. I didn’t realise I’d entered pedants corner. 12.92%. Is that better?

    While I’m having my homework marked, the ‘average’ LGPS pension contribution by the employer sits nationally at 19%.

    Personally. I find comparators helpful, give it a go.

    • I don’t think it’s pedantic to question a word you used yourself to bolster your point.
      Unfortunately the maths is not better. Sorry.
      No idea what you mean by 12.92%. I don’t know if the confusion is that
      £11.44 + 13% = £12.92.
      Just for accuracy & to be pedantic. £11.44 + 14.43% = £13.090792

  19. The article says the jobs advertised are for ‘civil enforcement officers’. Maybe Thanetians haven’t worked out yet that is the new national job title for traffic warden.
    Years ago it was common knowledge that the traffic wardens’ job was a dangerous one, facing verbal abuse and physical threats on a daily basis. Maybe that’s why some wisecrack changed the job title.
    They need the driver’s license to drive the TDC vans I’ve seen them driving (the ones with Civil Enforcement printed on the side) so they can get to the parts of Thanet that the buses don’t reach. Otherwise they will be being paid to spend half their working day on the bus or walking between jobs.
    But don’t let that get in the way of opinion.

    • What the heck is Thanetians got to do with this subject? It’s a geologic timescale between 59 and 56 million years ago !!
      Are you trying to put this term as a name to the people of Thanet in a derogative way to make yourself look and sound better? It doesn’t work!

  20. We never had this issue when there were real Traffic Wardens working in Thanet employed by the Police, but since being devolved except I believe in big cities like London. The parking enforcement officers are not the same, they have different roles than Traffic Wardens and mainly employed to collect money from overstaying meters and car parks. Proper Traffic wardens would ticket you for parking on pavements, zebra crossing lines, double and single yellow lines, road junctions, etc, etc.
    Anyway, if TDC did adjust how these parking officers would work to protect pedestrians and other road users safety, as well as on street parking meters and car park meters, then how would just 11 parking officers be able to cope with the ever increasing size and population in Thanet with all the new estates being built all over the place with each having on average one vehicle? You would need an army of them to make any headway, especially during the Summer season with trippers parking wherever they like all day along the seafronts and promenades. Come on TDC get the application forms out and start recruiting many more than 11. Give them the ability to earn bonuses my working longer hours and fining owners of badly parked vehicles on safety grounds alone.

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