Performance & contract management - 1 September 2014
In the first quarter performance report a variation of £1.64m is reported in the Special Parking Account out of a total StreetScene overspend of £1.68m
The report states that the shortfall represents 12% of the budget of that delivery unit although that isn't strictly accurate as the gross budget is £21.6m and so £1.7m is merely 8% although that is still a substantial percentage and speaks volumes about the council's reliance on parking & penalty charge income.
Of the budget for StreetScene some £7.6m comes form the Special Parking Account and the council are hooked on issuing PCN as they are a vital third of the budget for the delivery unit. The problem is that now you will put together a parking income project with the aim of recouping that income shortfall which will almost certainly lead to more PCN being issued. In my book that is called revenue raising.
In the first quarter of 2014/15 the council did issue 10,000 fewer PCN than in the previous year and so the income from that source is likely to be about half a million pounds lower. The council will view this as failure but they should view it as success. Don't take my word for it, take the Secretary of State for Transport's statutory guidance as your cue. It says
"The purpose of penalty charges is to dissuade motorists from breaking parking restrictions. The purpose of Civil Parking Enforcement should be for 100% compliance, with no penalty charges."
Oh dear, the council is issuing 150,000 PCN a year so is completely failing on that measure of success.
Why is that? it is because the council doesn't spend a bean on educating motorists as it would rather have the income from, for example, new drivers who learn expensive lessons from their slightest mistake.
Mistakes that recent motorists have made have been to have their car stolen and only when the council found themselves about to be in the local paper did they decide the lady was telling the truth. She had already given the council a police crime reference number but that wasn't good enough as the income of 11 parking tickets was at stake.
A workman loading his car in North Finchley on double yellow at 10.30 at night got a parking ticket which I am still fighting and is going to the adjudicator at a cost to the council of £40. He had worked 15 hours that day, does he really need a parking picket to finish off his day?; he was perfectly safely parked and loading on double yellows is allowed where it isn't specifically banned. The standard 5 minute observation period was cancelled and the parking ticket issue started after 5 seconds.
A lady has been ticketed for not having her blue badge on display. She keeps it sellotaped to the windscreen and the photographs taken in the dark unsurprisingly don't show it. She is a retired barrister. Who do you think he adjudicator will believe, her or the traffic warden?
Those are just 3 examples of how revenue generation are put before the public.
It is time to change councillors, and I'll tell you how:
- take the Special Parking Account out of the budget, use this year's surplus to fund next year's one off projects
- start believing motorists who aren't habitual offenders
- spend money on educating new drivers and regular offenders to try and reduce the number of PCN issued.