23 July 2014

They looked like lost pet notices!

Barnet Council, and their sub-contractors, have a lot to learn about the art of communication. Seeing a yellow PCN envelope on your windscreen is enough to bring many people out in a cold sweat or cause their heart to miss a beat. That feeling isn't forgotten when you open up the envelope to find, not a wretched PCN, but a notice of road lining works, the damage has been done.

Was it Advance notice?

Just. The PCN plastic envelopes were stuck to every car at the weekend in advance of works on the following Tuesday so 2 or 3 day's notice was given. Luckily Mr Mustard's informant came back from holiday just in time or they would have been given a PCN for not having moved their car.

Were the works really only decided upon at the last minute? Of course not. There will have been an interminable number of surveys, meetings, emails, quotations etc. working out which roads would be done when and at what cost. It should have been possible to give advance notice of at least 2 weeks to residents.

Was it adequate notice?

No, as only those people with vehicles parked in the road at a weekend would have been notified. The set of vehicles parked in the road at a weekend could very well be quite different to the set who park there in the week. No consideration has been made for the occasional visitors of residents as these notices were not put through letterboxes.

What should the council do?

Two weeks before the chosen day they should put signs up on all posts.

At the same time they should put letters, in envelopes, preferably by street address, through letterboxes. Having just rolled out individually labelled blue bins across the borough the council should have a good database of home addresses that they could make more use of.

In the two days before the chosen day they should put warning notices on cars of the proposed lining works. These should be in envelopes marked "Useful information about street lining works on dd/mm/yyyy".

If on the day there is the odd car in the way they should knock on a door or two to see if they can locate the owner and ask them to move as there may be a good reason why that car has not moved (hospitalisation, working abroad, on a long holiday etc) rather than just issuing a PCN for being innocently in contravention.


If you are going to apologise, at least spell it correctly. Apologise does not have two "p's".

NSL really do need to be a lot better at communicating; not just by PCN how they usually do.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


Mr Mustard asked his informant about signs on lampposts and this is what they had to say:

There were some photocopies sellotaped around lamp-posts. None of them looked official or professional. They looked like lost pet notices. And they were wrapped round rather than flat and prominent. It would have been very easy to miss them or not understand what they were.

I've written to Barnet asking for an explanation. I'm yet to hear.

In any event, none of these things were there on Friday morning. I was away for the weekend. Came back Monday lunchtime and the fake PCN was there. I wasn't given any notice that a yellow line was about to appear outside my house
(a separate matter, a new yellow line which has never been there before, no consultation, no advance warning).

There were no cones out.


  1. can i just point out, albeit, extremely picky, but the branding of letterhead they have used ceased to be printed here approximately 5 years ago, and the council no longer have investors in people standards, as this was lost a while back!!!!!! i know this, because i work in this area

  2. it also should have passed through the communications team in order to be printed and put up anywhere. and the fonts used are not standarised - god, i'm being picky, but c'mon, do the job properly, or don't do it at all!!!!!


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