17 October 2013

A high risk occupation

New signs soon to be installed at all entrances to Barnet
Some occupations are dangerous, here are the top 5:

1. Fisherman
2. Bomb disposal expert
3. Oil rigger
4. Construction worker.
5. Lorry driver

and now to be added to the list, at least in so far as the danger of getting a parking ticket is concerned, we need to add, NHS worker.

Here is a report from a recent adjudication case at PATAS:

The allegation in this case is that the vehicle was parked in a residents or shared-use parking place or zone without clearly displaying either a permit or voucher or pay and display ticket issued for that place. Miss N. does not in fact dispute this but she says that she was relying on her Health Emergency Badge which she clearly displayed. She does not dispute that she had failed to enter the address she was visiting but says that even when she does this she still regularly receives PCNs. She has now provided the address she was visiting and supporting evidence to establish that this was an emergency.

The Enforcement Authority have provided copies of photographs taken by the Enforcement Officer which support the assertion that there was no address entered on the Health Emergency Badge displayed.

The rear of the Health Emergency Badge contains a description of the scheme and conditions of use for the Badge, one of which states
"The house number (or flat number or house name) and the street name must be written on the white area''.

Although the use of a valid Health Emergency Badge does not establish a formal exemption, I would not expect any Enforcement Authority to seek enforcement of a PCN where a Health Emergency Badge was being used in accordance with the rules of the scheme. The failure to enter the patient's address means that on this occasion Miss N. was not using the Badge in accordance with the rules.
Miss N's account amounts only to mitigation. The Enforcement Authority may cancel a PCN as a matter of their discretion. The Law does not give Adjudicators the power to allow an appeal which establishes mitigating circumstances only.
Having considered all the evidence, I am satisfied that the contravention occurred and that the PCN was properly issued and served. I am not satisfied that any exemption applies.

The adjudicator cannot be faulted for applying the law, as that is what they are there to do. They could have recommended this case for compelling mitigation but they have chosen not to. 
To Mr Mustard's mind this is rough justice. A badge given to qualifying medical staff to make their job easier is used as a stick to beat them with and as a profit centre.
Faced with the choice of a job in a nice warm hospital or one on the road at the mercy of traffic wardens and pedantic council officers, which one starts to look more attractive?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. I so agree. I don't know what the health emergency was, of course, but some problems could escalate in the time it would take to write the address! I also wonder displaying the address - where any neighbour passing by could see it - would amount to a breach of patient confidentiality!!!


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