2 November 2012

The Friday Joke - Teething troubles

Last week Mr Mustard sat through the Budget & Performance Overview & Scrutiny Committee. He watched Cllr. Alan Schneiderman gamely try to get an answer as to how much compensation the council would get for the dismal performance of NSL Ltd in the first 2 months of their contract, the period for which the figures showed that the Special Parking Account was £1.2m behind where it was expected to be.

(It isn't all down to NSL as they weren't signed up to the contract until 1 May - the contract was a month late being implemented as it happens - and partly because they do not set the parking tariff which affects supply & demand and NSL don't issue permits, the council do). 

The fob off was basically that the teething troubles were now behind us. Here is the interim Director, Pam Wharfe, who is paid £132,480 p.a. saying so on 25 October 2012.

Now Mr Mustard repeats below the conclusion of an Adjudicator of the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service the very next day, 26 October 2012. (All adjudicators are legally qualified and have seen thousands of parking tickets)

The appellant appeared before me at the personal hearing listed for today.

The local authority have issued a penalty charge notice "for being parked without payment of a parking charge".

The appellant states that he was helping his father who is disabled to the chemist and was gone for less than a couple of minutes. He also states that he did not receive the original penalty charge notice or see the civil enforcement officer, and categorically denies that it was "handed to the driver" as alleged. There is a direct conflict of evidence on this issue. However I find the appellant to be a credible witness and accept his representations.

In addition there have been several procedural errors in the case.

The local authority served their evidence for the appeal late. This tribunal only received the evidence on 24th Oct and the appellant says he received it "yesterday" the 25th October, which is less than three clear days before the hearing.

The local authority, by their own admission also served the charge certificate prematurely.
In light of the above I am not satisfied that the penalty charge notice was properly issued or the appeals process correctly administered, and therefore allow this appeal.

(An allowed appeal means that the parking ticket gets cancelled. Note that the poor motorist has had to waste at least half a day going to Islington and back which has a time and money cost. The charge certificate is when the penalty gets increased by 50%.)

If that is a properly managed contract please don't show Mr Mustard one that isn't.

The parking contract is a joke. Misleading councillors isn't.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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