Michelle Boshoff-Turner BPA Account Manager for Healthcare, Higher Education and Parking Structures recounts the latest joint meeting of the Healthcare and Higher Education groups.

Having recently taken over as the account manager for both the BPA Healthcare and BPA Higher Education Interest Groups, I was looking forward to the joint meeting knowing how important the stand-alone meetings are to our members. Both Ian Goodwin, chair of the Higher Education Interest Group, and Keith Fowler, chair of the Healthcare Interest Group, bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. This is invaluable to addressing key issues faced by both sectors, where there is a significant similarity in the challenges, they face meaning there are opportunities for best practice to be shared.

Heading into our 50th birthday year, I was keen to highlight our emphasis on growing our membership and the success of the newly introduced Corporate Individual Membership which has been hailed as ‘brilliant’ and a ‘no-brainer’ for an employer. We are hoping to drive a cultural change focused on professional development and improving the way we engage with our members.

At the meeting we were joined by Kelvin Reynolds, BPA Director of Corporate and Public Affairs, who led a discussion alongside Ian and Keith on ways we can improve the customer experience through the creation of tailored toolkits. These toolkits can include an infographic template designed to demonstrate parking income and expenditure. We agreed to launch this within our Healthcare group first and then within our Higher Education Group. Input from members is crucial to getting this right, so a member-led working group will be created to help advise on the creation of the infographic.

The development of our Resource Library was also discussed as part of the Technology, Innovation and Research Department’s and Knowledge Project, which aims to refresh and streamline the learning material we offer. Kelvin proposed that two Task and Finish Groups (one for healthcare and one for higher education) are set up to help develop case studies, fact sheets and checklists. These would work alongside the benchmarking studies which also assists with sharing knowledge and experience.

Grahame Footer from Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) helped address the concerns of some members present to the changes in eligibility rules for blue badges. However, during a workshop lead by Kelvin, it became clear that more work is needed to be done to support our members and a proposal for another working group to be created was discussed. This will be an online forum where members can discuss concerns and any issues encountered and feed it back to us at BPA HQ. We work closely with the Department of Transport and DMUK and when the Blue Badge Scheme changes are up for review, we will be the voice of our members highlighting the key points that need raising.

Our interest group meetings are not just a way to help address key issues relating to the relevant sectors – they are also an opportunity for members to share knowledge and experience by presenting at these meetings. We welcomed Chris Heddle from CleverCiti who discussed their solutions to help people find a parking space using technology and Mark Hyde from WAMITAB presented on the Principles of Parking Enforcement new Level One qualification to help newcomers into parking as a career.

The meeting was both insightful and interesting with members actively engaged, creating a real sense of community and wanting to work together. The strength of the meeting demonstrated that there is immense value in holding joint meetings like this and we will be looking at making this a regular meeting on our calendar.

Our members are at the heart of what we do, and their willingness to get involved and improve the parking experience for all became very evident during this meeting, with the creation of the smaller working groups. We look forward to seeing these develop. If you would like to become more involved by joining one of our new task and finish working groups or attend a meeting, please do get in touch.