A glitch on Sheffield Council's website which has resulted in some motorists being charged double for their parking permit renewal has existed for 15 months, new information has revealed.
Sheffield resident, Dawn Van Mourik-Blount, is one of a number of motorists who are believed to have been affected by a glitch on the council's parking permit website which results in the applicant being charged £72 instead of the standard £36 fee for an annual residential permit renewal.
Information from a freedom of information request has now revealed that the over-charging problem on the local authority's parking permit website, which is supplied by Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions Ltd, has existed since the system was introduced in March 2017.
Parking Service Manager for Sheffield City Council (SCC), Ben Brailesford, said the council first became aware of the problem a 'few months after' the system was introduced 15-months ago and manual checks by council staff are being used to rectify the problem in the short-term while the council works with Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions to find a permanent solution.
However, a council spokesman told The Star that not every permit renewal is checked manually.
When asked how the council can be sure that motorists who use the website to renew their permit are not still being over-charged, given the existing problem and the fact that not every permit is checked manually, a council spokesman said: "Because there are more type of permits than just residential (i.e. green and business) and this isn’t hasn’t happened on those categories of permit."
Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and development at SCC continued: “The online system used to manage the permit application process is provided by an external supplier and we have been working with them for some time to improve the automation of this process.
We believe that this incorrect charge has affected very few people but we are making extra manual checks on what is still a relatively new process to ensure that any mistakes are rectified. We would like to apologise to anyone who has received an incorrect fee and are happy to look at anyone who feels they have been incorrectly charged by emailing email@example.com.”
The freedom of information request also stated that the council 'does not hold a record of the number of people affected'.
Ms Van Mourik-Blount, 49, says that when she phoned the council to query why the payment figure generated on the website was double what it should be the person she spoke to told her 'lots of people had been in touch about it'.
"In my opinion the council should be responsible for finding those people who have been over-charged, and should refund them the money," said Ms Van Mourik-Blount, of Bowood Road, Porter Brook.
She added: "A normal business wouldn't get away with having a computer system that charges its customers double, so why should the council?"
Sheffield Council said earlier last month month that the permit scheme could be extended to more areas of the city through a £50,000 scheme.