25 June 2013

PATAS appeals surge



At the Contract Scrutiny committee meeting of Barnet Council on Tuesday (Mr Mustard watched the film afterwards, and well done to the Barnet Bugle for being there once again) a council officer had to explain away an excess over budget of £40,000+ for extra appeals filed at PATAS. Each one cost £44.46 in the year in question. His answer was that this was not down to (and Mr Mustard will have to paraphrase from memory here as he really can't take watching it again) more incorrect tickets being issued (do try not to laugh) but rather to the plethora of free advice sites which help people to challenge their parking tickets, or exercising one's democratic right to challenge as Mr Mustard prefers to call it.

The answer will inevitably be more complicated than a single reason but the timing is interesting in that the surge in appeals broadly coincides with the appointment of NSL on 1 May 12. There is a time lag of generally 3 to 6 months before cases reach PATAS. Websites offering advice wouldn't exist unless there was a demand for them and it is Mr Mustard's view that the public are fed up with being used as a cash cow and strongly object to tickets that they see as unfair of which plenty of examples have appeared here, on the Miss Feezance blog, on Pepipoo and on lots of other websites, and are now fighting back. The more they find out how easy it is and how many mistakes the council makes, the more the appeals will rise.

Here are the numbers of appeals for which payment is made to London Councils (and 10/10 to them for providing an answer to Mr Mustard's request within 24 hours, just as they did last year and no stupid redacting - take note Barnet Council how information should be provided) who have responsibility for PATAS.

So that is fantastic work by you all and Mr Mustard thinks that a similar increase will be seen in 2013/14.

If you want to understand the appeal process, download the guide which is to the left of this blog.

Questions about that scrutiny meeting's effectiveness are why NSL were not asked to send a representative so that they could be questioned about day-to-day matters and where was the parking manager? Putting forward Directors who spend much of their time in meetings, and for whom parking is only one of their areas of line management, isn't going to lead to effective scrutiny.

Once the council realise that issuing parking tickets at the margin is uneconomic they will stop as it is money which motivates them.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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