|Parallel Universe aka Croydon (click for original picture location)|
Now Mr Mustard is a bit sad sometimes and he reads the PATAS reports for Barnet every day. Barnet council, acting through their contractor, NSL, also have to read them as they get sent them in order to deal with the fate of appealed parking tickets. What they are also meant to do is to learn from them; they don't appear to.
In April 2013 Mr Mustard and a parking manager at Barnet Council had an email debate about whether or not a visitor voucher on which a pen had been used was "scratched off or not". Mr Mustard said "yes", the parking manager said "no" but cancelled the PCN anyway which Mr Mustard viewed as agreement but the parking manager would say was just extending goodwill (and saving the fee of £40 he would have had to pay for the PATAS appeal as Mr Mustard has never failed to take a PCN appeal to the end of the line).
He didn't mention it later when an adjudicator at PATAS, the ultimate arbitrator of what is right or wrong said the following:
Miss L produced the original visitor voucher which was on display in her vehicle at the time in question. Clearly visible are the blue ballpoint scratches which have been made across the relevant day date and year to show that it was valid for the day in question. I conclude that a valid visitor voucher was displayed.
The officer appears to have issued the Penalty Charge Notice on the basis that the voucher had not been scratched out properly. This seems to me to be utterly without foundation. It is clear from the marks on the voucher that in scratching across the relevant items with the pen Miss L had put the voucher well beyond a second use. In the circumstances there is no doubt at all that she had complied with requirements.
Mr Mustard hasn't mentioned this case to the manager concerned but he will now. This is because he has another case where a man of over 80 has been given a parking ticket in identical circumstances. He does not have the time or nerves to challenge but luckily he has been introduced to Mr Mustard who has a limitless supply of energy with which to contest stupidity and/or improper behaviour. The informal representations have been rejected on the grounds that "the details were not scratched out, a pen was used. This invalidates the voucher..." which based upon the earlier case is incorrect.
What Mr Mustard thinks should happen in response to the daily reports from PATAS is that the back office should look and see what types of appeal they lose and then stop contesting them or change the lines and signs which are defective etc. In addition, traffic wardens should be educated to not issue a PCN when a voucher has clearly been put beyond reuse and at doubtful locations until they are fixed.
A cynic would say that they don't want to learn because 50% of all PCN, right or wrong, get paid in the first 14 days. The appeal trend is a growing force though and as people appeal to the adjudicator and win, they are emboldened the next time. It seems to Mr Mustard that Barnet Council are going to get themselves to the top of the adjudicator appeals league table by their policy of issuing marginal parking tickets and not learning from their past mistakes. If every single parking ticket was appealed all the way to PATAS the fees to pay in a year would be £6,600,000 - just imagine that.
Private message. AG18043068