New figures released show more than £8m was brought in as income to Aberdeen City Council through parking charges and bus fines.
Aberdeen City Council will hold a special meeting of the audit, risk and scrutiny committee next week to discuss a host of documents around the financial takings of the local authority.
One of the reports to be discussed by councillors outlines the position of the council at the end of the 2019/20 financial year in takings from car parking payments, parking fines, city permits and bus lane fines.
According to the figures, a total of £8.3 million was collected in the last year.
Penalty charge notices and bus lane enforcement notices both charge £60, with a reduction by 50% if it is paid within 14 days.
Charges for parking and permits differ depending on the length and area.
Data released shows that between April 2019 and November 2019 alone, 23,391 penalty charge notices were given out, with 16,359 paid – totalling £537,234.80.
However, there was 7,302 notices with fines outstanding – a total of £416,477.19.
During these months, 5,309 appeals were received and 941 penalty notices cancelled.
In the same time, 17,053 bus lane charge notices were issued, with 13,065 of those paid – a total of £427,412.43.
A further 3,050 were deemed outstanding, a total of £180,107.90, with 3,270 appeals received and 986 fines cancelled.
The report also addresses that figures do not match up the total net paid or cancelled, and as a result, the council is implementing a new system this year to ensure reporting of data is accurate.
A report prepared by auditors said: “Income from car parking and bus lane charges, collected from car parking machines, cashless parking transactions, vouchers and permits and penalty charges was £8.35 million in 2019/20.
“The objective of this audit was to ensure that procedures regarding income collection and the management of fines are adequate. Whilst there are comprehensive procedures in place, aspects of the Service are disaggregated across various Council functions.
“Debts are being pursued where appropriate. However, when Sherriff Officers recommend the write off of a debt, for example where the customer is deceased or sequestrated, Penalty Charge Notices are being marked as cancelled on the Parking System instead of being written off.
“Notices cancelled in this way are not reported to Committee as written off debts as required by the Financial Regulations, reducing visibility of the extent of debt which is no longer being pursued. The service has highlighted that legal advice had previously been obtained, and this will be reconfirmed to ensure this remains the correct approach.”
The audit, risk and scrutiny committee also discusses care for children through Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care.
There is a total of 91 active in-house foster carers in Aberdeen, 105 adoptive parents and 207 kinship arrangements financially supported by the service.
Payments to foster carers totalled £1.9 million for internal placements, and £9.3 million for external placements during 2019/20.
There was also payments of £0.48m for adoption allowances and £2.2m for kinship care.
The report, which will be discussed, states: “The objective of this audit was to provide assurance over Fostering, Adoption and Kinship Allowances paid. In general these are paid accurately, however minor recurring system generated errors were identified in a small number of cases, which are being corrected by the Service.
“A new system is being developed, for implementation in 2021, and this will be informed by Internal Audit’s findings to improve efficiency and reduce the scope for error in the future. In the interim, administrative support has been put in place to ensure the accuracy of payments.”
Councillors will discuss the reports when they meet next Wednesday.