25 September 2012

Councillors do have hearts

An unusually positive heading from Mr Mustard you might think but only after he had learnt via twitter of a parking ticket being upheld in sad circumstances that made the parking ticket manifestly unjust. This made him really sad & very mad but has been tempered by some councillors' emails. We are meant to live in a civilised society. Parking tickets are not a sign of one.

If you do have to die, and we all will one day, then one of the most calm & comforting places in which to do it is the North London Hospice. Mr Mustard does his bit to support them and most of their income does come from donations. You could help, click here by giving time or money. Read the rest of this blog first before you decide.

You might need your hankie and a cup of tea is also recommended.

Mr Mustard tries to write short letters as everyone is busy but sometimes you just can't. There was so much wrong that he ended up on page 7. It was very wet on Sunday so Mr Mustard avoided the vegetable patch and got typing. He didn't stop for 4 hours and 5 mugs of tea.
Letter about a parking ticket sent to Barnet Council by Mr Mustard

For those of you who don't know Ms Pam Wharfe is the interim Director of Environment, Planning and Regeneration (paid £132,480 p.a.) which is the Directorate which contains the remnants of the parking department, 5 people, as enforcement and processing has been contracted out since 1 May to NSL.

The outcome of this email which was copied to every councillor was that within a few hours Mr Mustard had received emails from three councillors, one from each party as it happens, not that Mr Mustard cares, which showed that they do care and do know right from wrong.

Mr Mustard isn't going to tell you who wrote but the messages included:

To Ms Wharfe:
The facts make me despair. I have no doubt you will be contacting NSL to seek an explanation for this shambles. Please will you copy me in to your correspondence. If contact is made by phone will you confirm the date and time of the phone call? Please will you provide me with the response, if any, you get back from NSL.. I anticipate that at the very least the PCN will be cancelled.

I ask, in light of this email having been sent to me, that you revisit the position with regard to this PCN

to Mr Mustard:
I have just read the first letter – I am shocked – I hope the notice is cancelled.

Sod's law is that Ms Wharfe is not in today so my email has been passed by her PA to the Assistant Director of Highways, Declan Hoare (£86,823) to deal with. Let's see how long it takes.

Lessons to be learnt - One Barnet

The appointment of NSL as parking enforcement contractor was voted on by Cabinet Resources Committee on 14 December 2011. You can find the papers here. Basically without reading the multiple pages it was alleged that NSL were going to do a much better job than the in-house service and more cheaply to boot (look, no-one likes traffic wardens but if you have your own you can directly and swiftly influence what they do and you might just get them to use a more balanced and even-handed approach and inculcate some local knowledge and discretion) and yet the performance report for the first quarter for EPR (Environment, Planning & Regeneration) about which Mr Mustard will blog shortly shows that car park income is down from a budgeted £979,000 to an actual £376,000 (and the council blame the recession. Remind Mr Mustard when the recession started. Whenever it was, 2 or 3 years ago, it was well before the budget was set) and the special parking account is down from a revised budgeted £7,067,000 to £5,847,000 so is £1,220,000 behind budget. That is simply a disaster. This One Barnet nonsense scaled up from a £3m p.a. contract to £100m p.a. will be hideous leading to losses of possibly £36m p.a. instead of savings. Time for councillors to think very carefully.

So councillors, NSL, the outsourcer acts, and you take the flak. You can't out-source the risk can you?
You can't outsource the responsibility either?
You can't control what the outsourcer does.
The savings aren't yet coming through on a simple contract.
Will they come through on the really difficult ones like DRS & NSCSO?

Is One Barnet a panacea for all our ills? No, I thought now.

Grab the reins councillors and show us what you are made of. Maybe the time has come to start actually looking at the in-house option. You can control that and it may cost less than you think.

It may be the only way to stop Mr Mustard from exposing all of the failures that outsourcers make.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

#29 especially for basketball players

#30 - that 9ft or nearly 3m to you

#31 around the corner, an 8 hour bay in a 1 hour zone

#32 - obviously not a Barnet Council or NSL slogan

#33 - mind the pedestrians as you study carefully the change of zone signs

#34 - Do you see a parking bay?

#35 - Shouldn't there be a 60cm by 5cm white line here?

#36 - remember your lines!

#37 - a yellow line across a crossover - who would understand that? note faint white lines

#38 - nice Aprilia 1000cc V4 but no bay marking lines

#39 more confusion; is that a bay or not?

#40 - is that car in a bay?

#41 - the pole seems a bit short (left of brick wall)

#42 - a typical North Finchley sign - not legible

#43 - there is a parking bay here somewhere

1 comment:

  1. For once words fail me ... despicable is the only one which comes to mind.


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