25 March 2015

Barnet Council not weaned themselves off PCN yet

Here is an FOI response (not Mr Mustard's question) which it isn't clear has been reported after removing the about 3,000 PCN a year issued to foreign registered vehicles (hardly a huge problem in which case).

What Mr Mustard finds interesting is that he was told that the annual PCN count had dropped from about 165,000 to 130,000 which clearly it hasn't.

Revenue raising is still alive and well in Barnet.

The number of PCN challenged at 46,324 is shockingly low as it is only 30% of the total and it needs to be double or treble that in order to bring the system grinding to a halt. Remember that you shouldn't give in at the first rebuff, you get 3 chances to challenge (for a PCN placed on your vehicle; 2 otherwise)

Mr Mustard will just have to give more talks. If you have a group that wants to know more about PCN please do invite Mr Mustard along for a free talk which could save you £110 each.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

24 March 2015

No allowance for age at Barnet Council

Here is another recommendation by a PATAS Adjudicator that the council declined to accept.

Mrs K appeals as she states that her disabled badge was displayed at the time that the Penalty Charge Notice was issued. The appellant provides a copy of her disabled badge.

The civil enforcement officer's photographs show the appellant's car parked on a double yellow line. There was a disabled badge in the car but the badge was covered by the clock that is issued with a blue badge.

I find that the contravention occurred. The disabled badge exemption only applies if the badge is properly displayed.

I have no jurisdiction to take into account the mitigating circumstances raised. However I accept the appellant's evidence that she made a genuine error. I note that Mrs K is 85 years old and I am satisfied that she did not intend to misuse the badge or to mislead the civil enforcement officer. I am satisfied that her badge was in the car when the Penalty Charge Notice was issued. In those circumstances I find that there is compelling mitigation and I recommend that the local authority cancels the Penalty Charge Notice.

Best not to get old in Barnet as you'll find the council dipping into your purse if you make a small error.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

23 March 2015

Does the Chief Executive decide & if not, who does?

When a PATAS adjudicator makes a recommendation to a council to cancel a PCN for a reason not to do with the application of the law (as other the adjudicator could cancel) the suggestion is meant to go to the office of the Chief Executive. Mr Mustard wonders if, given the love of outsourcing currently on display, the paperwork gets anywhere near the building, let alone to his desk.

Here is one recent such case;

1)      Mr. H attended the Tribunal to present his appeal. 
2)    The evidence clearly established that Mr. H had parked in a bay reserved for the loading of goods from goods vehicles. Mr. H was driving a car that was plainly not a goods vehicle.
3)    Despite the fact that the contravention is made out, I find that there are compelling reasons to recommend that the enforcement authority cancels the PCN.
4)    I was satisfied that although Mr. H was not using a goods vehicle, he was loading and unloading goods from a Hospice Shop. He had misunderstood the signage. The contravention was unintentional.
5)    Mr. H is in his late 70's and is proud of his previously unblemished driving record, never previously having had a parking contravention. He is unwell, and of limited means. He is in receipt of income support. He would find the penalty a very significant commitment.
6)    Given his personal mitigation and the unintentional contravention, I recommend that Barnet Council cancel this PCN. I also remind the enforcement authority that they also have power to pursue the mitigated penalty, even at this late stage of enforcement. (The adjudicator means the 50%)

What was the council's decision. To reject the recommendation. Not the way to treat charitable folk, now is it?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

21 March 2015

A Brent blunder

A lady has just received a Notice to Owner for a PCN she was supposedly issued with at 09:26 on 12 February 2015. The PCN was not found on the car. Mr Mustard wonders if this is because the traffic warden realised his/her error and hot footed it but didn't cancel the PCN due to operator error as there is a Key Performance Indicator for this?

The restrictions in this zone in Lydford Rd are really odd as MA is a cpz from 10am to 3pm and MW from 8am to 6.30pm but of course a marked out bay can be completely different to cpz hours which set the rules purely for otherwise unsigned single yellow lines (although usually the bays will be for the same hours).

Brent accept Ringo payments - why isn't that showing on the sign? The traffic warden checked location 5074 (not on the sign, the number must be on the meter). Is is a data protection breach for the council to exhibit a photograph of the screen shot of registration numbers of five vehicles which had paid for parking at that location? (four of them probably for the previous day as all their sessions ended at 10am).

Interestingly, if you put 5074 into Ringo it comes up as Mapesbury Rd which is the name of the cpz zone. You would need to know that fact as a visitor or you might thing Ringo had got it wrong. Mr Mustard has just tried, at 22:25 on Saturday to pay for 15 minutes parking. Ringo has asked him for 20p and said his session will end at 10:15 on 23 March so it automatically assumes the 15 minutes that you want are the next payable 15 minutes rather than the current 15 minutes. At the bottom of the screen it says "Pay for parking to start now" which clearly it doesn't. Mr Mustard is about to hit the "back" key especially as the default vehicle is an old one.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Tower Hamlets - 7/10

Tower Hamlets would have got 9/10 if the website said that the council was going through the payment records and refunding everyone of its own volition but they must be applauded for publicising this on their website. Hopefully there are also some publicity signs at the locations concerned (if not I expect a local resident will read this blog and erect some; a copy of this blog post would be the quickest to print out and tie to a lamp post). This will only affect a small number of PCN hence the official willingness to refund. If it was 100,000 PCN that were wrongly issued one would anticipate rather more resistance.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

20 March 2015

a Residents' Forum or three

The above poster contained less information than the previous ones, Mr Mustard noticed.

and the answer was that there is no mention of area forums on the current poster. Mr Mustard checked the council website to find this schedule for Wednesday evening:

Hopefully someone in the know will be able to add a comment as to what is not going on in our area committees. Why are there no decisions to take locally?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

18 March 2015

Haringey Council - grasping to the end

Eric Pickles has pushed for motorists to be given 10 minutes grace when their parking ticket expires as reported by the BBC on 6 March 15.

Have they listened in Haringey or are they determined to extract the last pound (actually £80 in this case) from a motorist who paid for 84 minutes of parking and was back at his car ready to leave 5 minutes after the paid for parking expired? The motorist's guess about the time he needed wasn't wildly out and Mr Mustard agrees with the 10 minutes grace period.

Here is the answer, in a letter dated 12 March 15.

This is a prime example of how nit picky council's are in order to revenue raise. Given the imminent change in the law local council's should adjust their policies now to cancel any PCNs that are challenged on the 10 minutes of grace basis.

Clearly as the PCN was issued at 15:51 the PCN was all pre-prepared in the handheld equipment of the traffic warden in order to spit out a PCN when the second hand ticked round to 5 minutes and 0 seconds.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard