Monday Musing: My First Year


Dani Graham, PA and Corporate Assistant on her first year working for the BPA

How have you found your first year?

I have loved my first year at the BPA and cannot believe how quickly it has gone! I never knew parking had such a big impact – on everyone. It has been an eye-opening time and I am very much looking forward to the future. I have never been a part of something that is changing and growing so rapidly, and I am looking forward to watching the new Parking (Code of Practice) Act come into force. When I tell people that I work for the BPA, very few know what that is. Once I have explained who the BPA are and what we do, their whole perception changes.

What does a normal day look like?

No day is ever the same! Every day is different, and some people may class it as unusual. I usually start my day by going through my emails and the other inboxes that I manage leaving only outstanding actions in my inbox. I like an empty inbox, although that is very rare! I then move on to diary management for the Chief Executive, Director and SMT members; booking meetings (internal and external), arranging travel, catering and accommodation where required, and providing colleagues with any associated papers or documents they may need. Then, if there is an upcoming Service Board, Board or Council meeting I will prep all the necessary papers and distribute them, as well as organising catering and providing technical support. Following the meeting, I will write up and distribute Minutes to attendees. In between office duties, I answer telephone queries from motorists and assist the Governance Officer and HR Team as and when required. As long as there isn’t an emergency developing somewhere!

What was the biggest surprise?

To me, the whole sector was a bit of a surprise. It appears I was very naïve when it came to parking my car! I would turn up at a car park, park, pay, and leave. I never thought about anything else or what happens in the background to make that possible. My knowledge has grown, and I now have so much more appreciation for car parking facilities and find myself reading every sign and looking for the BPA logo every time I enter a car park!

What have you enjoyed the most?

I love the variation in my role. I get to experience some really interesting tasks, sit in (& minute) some great meetings and I have been involved in some thought-provoking initiatives. Some of the highlights would be attending Parkex and travelling to Europe to represent the BPA.

What’s the biggest challenge?

I have to speak quite broadly here, but I believe the biggest challenge is changing everyone’s perception about parking. It’s not just about driving up and leaving your car there’s so many other things to consider, like abusive behaviour, climate change, congestion and smart technology just to name a few. I believe it’s important to encourage everyone to think about parking as part of the wider fabric of life and to become more aware of their rights around parking. The KYPR website can help with this, but I would advise anyone issued with a Parking/Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) to read the information within the notice, almost everything you need to know is there. Hopefully, with initiatives like the Positive Parking Agenda, the Parking Act, and the  BPA of course, this will become less of a challenge and more a constructive collaboration between members and the public.

Is there anything you would change?

Parking, PCNs and Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO) can have negative connotations and I would like to see that change. Nobody enjoys receiving a PCN, but the rules are there to protect the public and other motorists. When they are broken, there are consequences. I have been shocked at the level of abuse that CEOs encounter simply for doing their job and that is so wrong. I have received a PCN myself and as frustrating as it was, I knew I had parked incorrectly, and I paid the fine. It was not the CEOs fault that I decided to park my car somewhere I shouldn’t have. By issuing me a ticket, they did their job – successfully.

Of course, there are times when PCNs are issued incorrectly and that is what appeals services are there for. There will always be anomalies and the BPA and its members do their best to manage these out and respond accordingly. Parking shouldn’t be a ‘taboo’ subject. It is something that the majority of the public do every day.

Any Final Thoughts?

In the last 12 months, I have learnt so much about myself as well as parking. I work with a great team of people and feel like I have grown and developed as an individual, as well as a PA! Roll on the next 12 months!!