30 January 2012

NSL are soft compared to Barnet Council ( Que Sera Sera )

Before you read this blog post you need a pleasant moment of reflection. Here is Doris Day singing Que sera sera ( whatever will be will be ) and that is exactly how many parking tickets should be issued in Barnet, the number that is appropriate to the circumstances that day and not to a target.

Mr Mustard has followed with interest the diabolical goings-on in Westminster which you can read about in full horrific detail at the Nutsville blog. Why not pop off there and read the whole report and then come back to Mr Mustard for some local numbers. Nutsville blog

Welcome back. That was an enlightening read was it not. Would "NSL management are a nasty piece of work" be a fair description? (feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment box); they certainly are not the type of management that the typical resident of Barnet would like to encounter, mind you we have the ex NCP staffer Mr John McArdle whose photograph wouldn't look out of place on the Nutsville blog once he removes his pork pie hat (if Mr McArdle could enlighten Mr Mustard on his hat style it would be greatly appreciated; it's very smart whatever type of hat it is). Mr Mustard isn't an expert on pork pie hats but the characters on the Nutsville blog look like they are experts on pork pies.

For clarity let us reprint here from Nutsville the NSL target number of PCN per hour. It is 0.9

One NSL manager categorically denied that there was any performance quota for the issuing of PCNs yet Judges accepted evidence that the managers clearly wanted more rather than less PCNs to be issued. This is corroborated not only by an email from Emma Collins, Regional manager within NSL to Jeff Miles and Andrew Davison (then contract manager) dated 9 November 2009 which reads as follows “there are still significant numbers of people issuing at a rate of below .9 per hour …. we should not feel uncomfortable to use the disciplinary process … etc”.
So what is the current rate of issue in Barnet? Let us see. The answer to Q10,  asked by the astute & hard working Liberal Democrat Councillor Jack Cohen at the full council meeting of 24 January 2012, (Mr Mustard was scandalously absent at a snooker match) showed that in 40 weeks of the council tax year which started on 1 April 2011 the total number of PCNs issued was 126,061

(Mr Mustard notes that in most weeks the number of PCNs issued was double that of the previous year; when did Councillor Coleman start to get interested in the parking department, does anyone know?).
Sorry, more maths, but Mr Mustard will take you gently through the numbers. You will soon all be expert mathematicians.
CEOs work 36 hour weeks. there are 52 weeks in the year.
Also note that, according to the delegated powers report number 1277 issued on 8 March 2011 which re-organised the Environment & Operations department (which has already been re-organised again and is now Environment Planning & Reorganisation - a misnomer as advance planning is far from evident) there are 48 Civil Enforcement Officers. 4 of the posts were vacant. There were also 5 CEO supervisors. There are 17 information officers. Information? They don't deal with information. They are there to deal with your appeals. There are also another dozen or so managers.
These overheads are what all the fines we have to pay go towards, ticketing a parked car in a CPZ does not reduce congestion or increase traffic flow; this is all a money making racket.

So now to the maths
126,061 tickets in 40 weeks = 3,150 a week.

Divide by a 36 hour week = 87 tickets per hour
Divide by 48 CEO ( assuming no sickness or annual leave; all covered by temps ) = 1.82 tickets per hour.

Barnet Council are therefore exceeding the typical run rate of NSL by 100%. Do you suppose that Barnet Council will want to go back to 0.9 tickets per CEO per hour.

Imagine that they did. Instead of 163,879 tickets there would only be  82,000 tickets.

Income from PCNs in 2011/12 (per the answer to Q59)- £4,663,112 so if the rate was 0.9 then this represents a potential loss of

£2,300,000. Mr Mustard can't see Mr Coleman voting for that.

So having shown that Barnet Council make NSL look like pussycats Mr Mustard is going to show you that Barnet Council are still not satisfied with a rate of 1.82

Surely not you cry. Oh yes. This must be why some of the CEOs have scooters, in order to increase the issue rate. They can speed from one car to the next. What rate do Barnet Council officers want? The answer is on this document which is part of the Parking Service Team Plan for 2011-12.

click to enlarge, back to return

So this page is concerned with maximising value from the staff. The reference to SCS Links on the left is to Sustainable Communities Strategies which Mrs Angry has her money on for being the new name for One Barnet ( at least One Barnet was short if not short lived ).

So not only do CEO have a tough job on the street they are subject to "rigorous performance management" from the Enforcement Manager and all for £20,205 p.a. Do you suppose that rigorous performance management or RPM is a euphemism for Rate of PCN per Minute? 

But look, what rate per hour is required. Not 0.9, not 1.82 but 2 PCN per hour. 
No you didn't get that wrong. 2 PCN per hour. More than twice the run rate of NSL.

How will this be achieved?

Step 1. Remove all the parking meters and make it near impossible for some sectors of the community to be able to pay.

Step 2. Stop issuing reminders to residents to renew their permits so their permits expire without the resident noticing.

Step 3. Let NSL run riot.

Step 4. Refuse every informal appeal; make it too much trouble to appeal so that many residents give up and pay rather than go to PATAS ( Parking and Traffic Appeals Service ).

Step 5. Don't answer 40% of phone calls to the parking department.

Step 6. Take away free bays.

Is this the sort of borough we want to live in? One where motorists are treated as cash cows?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Didn't follow the maths as it made my head hurt but I am sure you are absoutely right. Parking policy in Barnet is simply seen - at least by the Tory leadership - in terms of income generation, with no regard to the proper management of parking or traffic flow.
    Why is the Chief Executive/CEO being expected to ride around on a moped giving out parking tickets? Don't get me wrong, I think it would do him good to do a hard day's work & be at the sharp end of the catastrophic parking policy, but a surprise all the same.
    If only real life were more like a Doris Day film, Mr Mustard.

  2. Mrs A: "I've always been rubbish at maths" is usually accompanied by a cheeky grin.
    The subtext is "I'm no boffin."

    That's as in:

    Mind, you, Mr M and Mrs A:
    "In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing." ~Mignon

  3. no, baarnett: really I always HAVE been rubbish at maths. Still, it has not got in the way of me becoming a top class auditor, and now partner at GThornton. In fact,in that respect, it has been a postive bonus, as an ability with maths tends to get in the way, we find, especially when dealing with LBBarnet accounts.

    and please don't encourage Mr Mustard's amorous nature: it's nearly Valentine's Day, and he will soon be beside himself with excitement.


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