5 November 2012

Help the Homeless - a PCN should do it!


Roger at the Barnet Eye regularly helps at a homeless shelter and Mr Mustard did volunteer for a few years at Crisis at Christmas shelters and both know that being homeless is a terrible thing which can cause your whole life to spiral downwards.

There are self evidently some heartless baskets at NSL and/or Barnet Council who don't share that view, or if they do, they don't act as if they do.

In order for a case to reach PATAS it has to go through a formal appeal process. The decision on the formal stage has to be made by someone at Barnet Council. If informal representations were made in the first stage then someone at NSL Ltd will have decided upon them. The evidence pack to go to PATAS would have been put together by NSL.

It seems that the attitude for all parking tickets is that they have been issued so that is money due to the council and the PCN must be paid. There is no thought of clemency or that the motorist might actually be correct in what they say.

Now read this short but upsetting conclusion by a PATAS adjudicator ( PATAS is the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service who hear the final third stage appeals)

Miss X appeared before me in person.

She explained that she suffered a series of problems this summer, resulting in her being rendered homeless on 15 June 2012. Temporary accommodation was provided for her by the council in Woodhouse Road. She has spent two days sleeping in her car with her two-year-old daughter before she moved into this accommodation. She has consistently maintained that she spoke to a council employee - Elizabeth - and specifically asked about parking in Woodhouse Road, and was assured that she could park temporarily at that location.

The council has simply stated they are unable to verify this.

I accept Miss X's account and in the circumstances find that she was given an assurance which she was entitled to rely by a council official. In the circumstances, the council may not enforce the penalty and the appeal is allowed.

The council, and/or their agent NSL, are so mercenary that they have lost all semblance of humanity. Full marks are due to the PATAS adjudicator, in this case a Mr Alastair McFarlane, who has not become jaundiced by seeing hundreds and probably thousands of parking ticket appeals and who has evidently not lost his human side.

Barnet Council though are content to kick someone when they are down even though they could have checked the point about temporary accommodation if they could have been bothered (although this may also illustrate the problem of communicating with out-sourced colleagues when they aren't your real colleagues, they are in a processing centre in Croydon and don't know any Barnet Council employees outside of the 5 in the parking team. This is one of the huge drawbacks of the One Barnet approach which leads to jobs exported out of the borough and a lack of coherence). What we need is proper leadership and a move away from the idea that the expected income from the Special Parking Account should be achieved at the cost of losing ones moral compass.

Barnet Council are forgetting why they exist. 

They exist to serve the people of Barnet. 

They do not exist in order to make people's lives a misery with parking tickets, all 160,000 of them a year.

The parking team should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for putting a lady, who was having a housing crisis, through a simultaneous parking ticket crisis.

What sort of employee thinks it is OK to let a lady with a 2 year old sleep in a car and doesn't make sure she gets some help from the correct department?

This is a disgusting episode in the history of Barnet Council.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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