On Monday Mr Mustard attended the Budget & Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee. It is not as dry as you might think. Mr Mustard was there because he has been expecting the budget to be broken for 2 years because the way the council was overrun with consultants and temps had to eventually have consequences. All those Judicial Reviews for radical and/or stupid decisions also carry a fair cost. The Special Parking Account is short by £1,081,000
There were also other items on the agenda like reviews of parking in North Finchley (with Edgware and Chipping Barnet to be reported to the committee soon).
That item led to Cllr Alan Schneiderman, who is in opposition but is always working hard asking questions about parking, as it is in his shadow portfolio, wanting 30 minutes free parking in town centres (some ruling councillors agreed but with the hole in the budget that would create it will be a long time coming) and he also wanted less zealous enforcement. The Director of Place, Pam Wharfe, went into Yes Minister mode and said that he should of course bring her examples of such a thing and she would look at the specifics. Of course the whole of Barnet knows that enforcement in 2012-13 was much worse than in 2011-12, you only have to look at the 25% increase in the number of PCN to see that or read this blog but hey, let us help Ms Wharfe out. Here is the report of an adjudication that took place at PATAS very recently, it is case number 2130357773.
The appellant, who appeared before me today, said that his vehicle had been parked outside his house he being unable to move it because its battery was flat he submitting that there was a fault with the battery he maintaining his vehicle properly he stating that the whole of the incident had been filmed by a cctv camera installed in his premises he having put that footage on his iPhone he playing it to me at the hearing.
The footage showed the appellant pushing the vehicle from its parking space the attendant being at the location on a bike & not as he claimed serving the notice by handing it to the driver the appellant pushing his vehicle away from the location the attendant leaving it. It was clear on that footage that the attendant had been untruthful about that aspect of his evidence.
I was satisfied that the appellant had been prevented from moving his vehicle through circumstances beyond his control finding that the exemption in this regard applied and found that the penalty charge notice had not been served.
So there we have it. Proof from a member of the public that one Civil Enforcement Officer (on a scooter so that cuts it down a bit) or traffic warden as they are commonly known, is a lying toerag.
From the PATAS report you can see the PCN number, AG32027447, and from that the council can look up the badge number of the warden. Then Mr Mustard might suggest stripping him/her of his/her badge (actually Mr Mustard has only seen male scooter riders) and epaulettes and sending him/her on their way as we do not want dishonest traffic wardens in Barnet.
However, it probably isn't the traffic warden's fault. We are forever being told that there aren't targets for the issue of PCN but there almost certainly is pressure on CEOs to issue a certain number of tickets otherwise the budget for parking income will not be met (there is that small matter of a million pound shortfall) and NSL have been under pressure for their performance with KPI not being met in the year to March 13. Mr Mustard is more inclined to think that NSL put terrible pressure on the traffic wardens to dish out parking tickets and thus this sort of behaviour happens. Mr Mustard is sure wardens are not instructed to cheat but they are certainly issuing more marginal and/or questionable parking tickets and leaving the motorist to appeal their way out of the problem. Without cctv it is the motorist's word against the traffic warden's.
Luckily our honest hero motorist, who lives in Park Road (not sure which one, there are four Park Roads in Barnet?) provided incontrovertible evidence. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that this is the only case of cheating by a traffic warden.
If the motorist is reading this you have a perfect case for claiming costs as the council has been wholly unreasonable or vexatious in issuing and pursuing the PCN.