Reserve Pool: Notes on applications and completion of the application form

The purpose of the pool is to alleviate the difficulties faced by departments where large numbers of staff members have strong cases for permits under the normal criteria, and/or where the availability of parking is a significant factor in the retention of staff, particularly lower-paid staff and those in posts which the department would find it difficult to re-fill.

In 2002, the cap on reserve pool permits was 50 – this equates to one per cent of the payroll eligible for central Oxford permits. As numbers are so limited, the working group charged with administering the reserve pool is clear that the pool must not become an "overflow" to extend departmental ability to respond to applications on demand, but must be limited to those cases where real difficulty arises as a result of demand exceeding supply.

Criteria

The working group would not normally expect to receive reserve pool applications for applications on grounds of disability or of operational need, except where operational need is given lower priority than family commitments, unsocial hours or work and/or inadequate public transport.

The working group therefore expects most applications to the reserve pool to be on grounds of one or more of the following:

  • Unsocial hours of work;
  • Family commitments;
  • Inadequate public transport;
  • Staff Retention.

Staff retention may only be cited as an additional reason why a permit should be granted. No permits will be granted for this purpose alone.

Procedure for determining which applications to submit to the reserve pool

Note: Applications submitted to the reserve pool must be demonstrably weaker than those already met by the department.

Applications which the Secretary of the CPWG and the University Sustainable Travel Officer consider to be stronger than those reported on the application form will be returned to departments.

This is to ensure that the CPWG is provided with all of the information necessary to enable them to make a fair and equitable decision, as illustrated at the end of these notes.

Where a department needs to apply mid-year, in response to an application by a new member of staff or existing member of staff whose circumstances have changed, the following procedure should apply:

  1. The department should assess where this application lies in relation to applications already granted, and those already rejected.

  2. If the new application is higher priority than one or more successful applications, the application should be granted and the member of staff at the bottom of the priority ladder notified that they may be required to relinquish their permit. The department may then wish to apply to the reserve pool on behalf of this latter member of staff.

  3. If the new application is lower priority than those already met, higher priority than those already rejected and considered to be of sufficient strength by the department, a reserve pool application should be made on behalf of the new member of staff.

  4. If the new application is lower priority than those already met but not higher priority than all of the rejected applications, the department will need to decide whether it is strong enough for the reserve pool. If it is considered to be so, it should be submitted along with the higher priority rejected applications.

Reserve pool and appeals

The reserve pool should not be used as an alternative to appeals procedures.

Where a member of staff has appealed against their application being turned down by the department, the department must first reassess its decisions, and then proceed according to the steps outlined above. That is, a department should only apply for a reserve pool permit on behalf of the appellant where it is satisfied that the case is weaker than all successful applicants, but stronger than those other applications which were rejected. Where the original assessment is found to be erroneous, any application for a reserve pool permit must be on behalf of the permit holder who would be displaced by the appellant.

Completing the Application Form

Page 1

This sets the departmental context. Please note the first question on the form asks for the number of applications received, not the number granted.

Page 2

This sets out the individual cases. The name of the member of staff should be provided for reference. The application will be anonymised before it is presented to the CPWG. The information required is the same as that provided in Section B of the main application, plus any additional notes the department would wish to add. Specifically:

Operational requirements 
A brief description and reasons why these cannot be carried out by foot, cycle, public transport or departmental vehicle
Unsocial hours of work 
Times of arrival/departure, frequency of bus services at relevant times, home address (i.e. an indication of the area in Oxford, or town or village outside Oxford in which the member of staff resides), reasons why bicycle or Park and Ride are not viable alternatives.
Family Commitments 
For children: number and ages of children;
For other relatives: nature/requirement of caring duty;
In all cases: home address, distances to relevant locations (e.g. school, nursery, hospital), reasons why a bicycle or public transport (including the Park and Ride) are not a viable option.
Inadequate public transport 
Home address, reason why the Park and Ride is not a viable option. Given the limited number of reserve pool permits, it is highly unlikely that the working group will be able to grant any permits solely on these grounds.
 Staff retention Departments should provide whatever information they feel is necessary, e.g. length of service, reasons why recruitment would be difficult.

Timetable

During Michaelmas Term applications for the year ahead are solicited to a deadline. These are considered as a batch and will form a benchmark against which subsequent applications are assessed. After January 1st each year, applications may be submitted as and when the need arises.

Applications which have already been turned down by the CPWG cannot be reconsidered in a later round.

Illustration

Consider applications from two departments with the following common features: (a) a PTP allocation of 10, fully issued in January; (b) a new member of staff with a medical condition making walking distances difficult.

The application form provides the following information:

Department A
B
Grounds for application
Family commitments
(Home address Witney, takes young child to and from school each day.)
Disability
Medical condition makes walking distances difficult
No. peak-time permits
10 10
Applications for peak-time permits
10 15

At this stage department B has the stronger case not only because of the criterion applied, but also because the demand for peak-time permits within the department outweighed demand.

However, what the application does not show definitively is that Department A has reviewed its applications, noted that the new member of staff has a stronger case than others, and has applied on behalf of the member of staff who would otherwise be required to give up their permit. Department B has not.

Actual weakest case

Family commitments

(Home address Witney, takes young child to and from school each day.)

 

Inadequate Public Transport

(Home address East Hanney. Journey by Park and Ride takes 50-70 minutes, compared with 40 minutes door to door by car)

 

It is now clear that Department A actually has the strongest case.

Although it is hoped that both applications could be met, had the group been forced to choose, the unwitting effect of its decision based on the application would have removed a permit from a member of staff with family commitments to allow another member of staff to continue to use the car rather than the Park & Ride to save time.