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The British Parking Association’s Nick Teasdale provides an introduction to a radical new accreditation for healthcare organisations: the Professionalism in Parking Accreditation.
Many organisations offer parking services that are a cut above the average, but how many are truly excellent? The British Parking Association (BPA) plans to find out through a new, audited accreditation: the Professionalism in Parking Accreditation (PiPA).
Excellence in parking is a product of organisational professionalism, and this concept lies at the heart of PiPA. We are initially launching PiPA for healthcare providers such as NHS trusts and, in time, we will make this revolution in professional standards available to other parking sectors.
What, though, does it mean to be a professional organisation? It means you take seriously every aspect of your parking operation. It means you treat your parking staff as ambitious professionals and provide them with the support, encouragement and recognition they need to develop skills within parking.
It means you acknowledge your responsibilities in society and adopt the ethical ethos of an organisation that meets the needs of the wider community. It means you are committed to improving your parking services continuously, in response to car park user feedback. All of this will help to ensure that your customer service is peerless. Only a professional organisation can achieve that goal. Organisations that hold PiPA can shout from the roof-tops: we are professional, we epitomise excellence.
New dawn for healthcare parking
NHS trusts and other healthcare providers work tirelessly to deliver an optimal level of clinical care. For many healthcare organisations, that effort is reflected in their provision of parking. This dedication is exemplary, and it is high time that it was recognised. PiPA will go one step further than recognition: it will celebrate professionalism in healthcare parking.
We are launching PiPA in healthcare parking precisely because this sector is so important. No one enjoys a visit to a hospital or a doctor’s surgery. If someone does make that visit, it is generally because they are ill. Why, on top of that, should they feel stressed about parking? How does it help anyone if a doctor, nurse or surgeon is also stressed about parking? A professional organisation will take steps to help minimise anxiety in its car parks.
Accredited healthcare providers will become nationally-recognised role-models for parking professionalism and excellence. PiPA will help raise levels of customer service for patients, visitors and staff, and it will recognise the high standards that already exist. It will help increase patient, visitor and staff satisfaction and ease their worries about parking. It will improve the reputation of NHS trusts and other healthcare providers, and it will help to counteract adverse publicity in the media.
PiPA is a new dawn for healthcare parking. Yet for the BPA, it is the next logical step in our long march towards professionalism in parking. Founded in 1970, the BPA has always strived to increase professionalism: our articles of association declare that we will ‘work for the general advancement of standards.’ In partnership with the Association of Chief Police Officers, we run the Park Mark Safer Parking Scheme, helping to improve safety standards in car parks. We launched our Approved Operator Scheme (AOS) in 2007 and have steadily raised the bar for standards in private-land parking through our celebrated code of practice. Since 2010, we have also delivered two voluntary charters for parking, with one dedicated to healthcare parking.
Our healthcare parking charter has now evolved into the sector-specific sections of the new, audited PiPA standard for healthcare parking. We will build on all the lessons learnt throughout our 45 year history to create a comprehensive accreditation that is sensitive to the needs of the healthcare parking sector.
Although PiPA reflects the accumulation of considerable experience at the BPA, it also represents the beginning of an exciting new journey. As we embark on this journey, we are keen to take you with us, every step of the way.
Knowledge and expertise
PiPA is and will continue to be the product of collaboration between BPA members, key stakeholders and staff at the BPA. It is the ultimate synthesis of professional knowledge and expertise.
The development of PiPA for the healthcare parking sector offers an object-lesson in collaborative development and consultation. From the very beginning, we were determined to seek the views of our members in healthcare parking, ensuring that the first phase of PiPA truly reflects this sector’s needs. At last year’s BPA Annual Conference, we asked our members to determine the general direction for PiPA development.
Since then, we have gained valuable insights through meetings of our healthcare special interest group and through a dedicated PiPA development workshop. In collaboration with key partners such as the Healthcare Facilities Consortium, we have consulted NHS trusts through detailed electronic surveys, and a further survey provided us with useful intelligence from motorist and patient groups.
In parallel with PiPA development, we helped the Department of Health as it drafted the new Health Technical Memorandum for parking, and we considered this document and the ‘NHS patient, visitor and staff car parking principles’ while developing PiPA. Most recently, we have worked with two NHS trusts to test the PiPA assessment methodology. We have learnt invaluable lessons during the tests, which strengthened the PiPA standard and paved the way for a robust new accreditation.
There can be no doubt that PiPA reflects the deepest and broadest range of contributions from the healthcare parking sector, helping to make this the new benchmark for parking professionalism. As we roll PiPA out to other parking sectors, we will continue to consult at every step, capitalising on the unparalleled knowledge and expertise of BPA members and key stakeholders.
An audit you can trust
The PiPA audit for healthcare parking is rigorous but fair, and has evolved through the recent tests with two NHS trusts. Following your organisation’s initial application for a PiPA audit, the BPA will send you a special PiPA audit pack, and we will ask you to submit a pre-audit self-assessment form. One of our expert area managers will then review the form and ask you for any additional evidence during a site-visit audit.
The audit will focus on the nine key assessment standards for the healthcare parking PiPA: customer service and stakeholder relationships; safer and properly maintained parking facilities; fair pricing and easy-to-use payment services; fair enforcement of parking terms and conditions; impartial and fair appeals service, accessible to all; clear and comprehensive parking information; employee well-being, development and recognition; social responsibility and equality of service delivery and continuous improvement.
Throughout the audit process, you will have access to a guidance document, which will suggest possible evidence-types that you may like to consider for each PiPA assessment standard. The area manager will then submit your organisation’s audit results to a moderator, who will ensure that standards are met at a consistently high level.
Once you have achieved PiPA, your accreditation will last for two years, with an interim self-assessment to maintain standards at the half-way point. This approach to auditing combines high standards with the flexibility needed to meet the needs of a diverse healthcare parking sector. It is an audit you can truly rely on.
Join the PiPA revolution
PiPA was recently the focus of a reception at the House of Commons, and the campaign to spread the word about PiPA continues to gain momentum. NHS trusts and other healthcare providers can now seek PiPA accreditation, and interest is sky-high. If your organisation wants to ride the wave of support for enhanced professional standards in healthcare parking, contact us today.
PiPA is an accreditation that will make your organisation proud. So why not join us at the start of this revolution and help make professionalism the new norm in healthcare parking?
Are you a healthcare provider? If so, you can join the PiPA revolution today by emailing email@example.com for more information and to express your interest in becoming accredited.