Monday Musing: A Presidential visit for the House of Commons

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Last week was an exceptionally busy one for all of us here at BPA head office with the highlight of our event calendar, the President’s Reception. This year saw the inauguration of John McArdle, Chair of the London Regional Group as our new President, taking over from outgoing President Zulfi Ali.

The reception takes places at the House of Commons Terrace overlooking the River Thames. It is a suitable prestigious location with stunning views bringing together nearly 200 stakeholders from across the parking sector and beyond to eat, drink and mingle. It also represents the first opportunity for the new President to interact with the wider parking community and outline their priorities for their term of office.

Although we know it is coming it remains both an exceptionally busy and exciting time for us as we strive to ensure that everything is running like clockwork. From sending out guest invitations on time and making sure everyone is where they need to be and when they do arrive, they don’t get lost in the winding corridors of the Houses of Parliament.

This year we were blessed with clear blue skies and bright sunshine with the thermometer topping out at 24°C: it almost felt like we were on holiday. Certainly, the holiday spirit and sense of positivity continued as the speeches got underway.  

First up we welcomed Yvonne Forvague MP, the Shadow Local Government minister and sponsoring MP for this event. Yvonne spoke very well about her thoughts on the development of the parking sector over the last year and the Parking (Code of Practice) Act, before introducing John.  

We were then treated to John’s maiden speech as President in which he outlined his intention to encourage and improve diversity and highlight the parking sector as a career choice for people, not just a stop gap on the way to something else.  He went on to talk positively about the breadth of MP activities over the preceding year.

Following John, we were treated to a range of speakers from across Government including Rachel Fisher, Deputy Director for Infrastructure and Regeneration, at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Rachel outlined how closely the sector has engaged with government on the development of the Act and how they planned to continue this going forward. She then introduced a video message from Rishi Sunak MP, Minister for Local Government, who reinforced government’s commitment to continue working with the BPA and the parking community to deliver the new code

Last but not least, Michael Ellis MP, Minister of State for Transport highlighted the collaboration between the BPA and DfT as part of the Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) Discovery Project which has led to the publication of new guidance for Local Authorities when producing TROs, with the aim of saving both time and money with the eventual aim of developing of a new data standard fit for a future of connected and autonomous vehicles. 

While every Reception is a positive experience, this one felt especially memorable due to the level of interest and engagement from parliamentarians. In addition to our speakers there were many other MP’s moving amongst the crowd from across the political spectrum, and extremely gratifying to see.

The success of the event has provided a great motivation for the team as we head into our 50th year in 2020. We are brimming with new ideas and a renewed sense of purpose for this milestone and we look forward to an exciting year ahead and a return to parliament to do it all again next year.