30 September 2014

Parking policy - review

Please do not park like the car on the right
The council have been tweeting away to try and get people to respond to the consultation about their draft parking policy which you can find here. Mr Mustard needs to warn you that there are 16 appendices. He read the whole thing and found it mostly rather vague and so he drafted up his own points that he felt should be considered by councillors and they are below:

Suggestions for Barnet council parking policy from Mr Mustard (Derek Dishman)


The purpose of penalty charges is to dissuade motorists from breaking parking restrictions.

The objective is 100% compliance, with no penalty charges.

Source: Secretary of State for Transport.

My policy suggestions are divided, as far as they can be, into stages of the process.

Before any PCN is issued

Have a choice of payment methods to provide for the needs of all customers. PayByPhone, cash at a meter, vouchers, credit card at a meter (insert and contactless), PayPoint, Oyster and/or Barnet Payment card (a Barnet Payment Card could take the place of cash completely provided it was flexible enough i.e. it must not have a cost to provide and can be charged up with any payment amount, is widely available and the nearest stockist is signposted at every bay where payment is required).

Don't issue PCN on Bank Holidays except for on crossing zig-zags and dropped kerbs on request by a resident.

Reduce the hours during which PCN are issued. Traffic wardens should not be roaming the streets from 7am to 11pm.

Stop treating the Special Parking Account (SPA) as a target i.e. if quarterly projections show it will be missed, don't take steps to generate missed income from elsewhere.

Don't issue Visitor Vouchers with a 3 year life. The money paid for them didn't expire.

Issue all correctly applied for permits and blue badges in 24 hours.

Organise courses on how to park legally in order to help people to comply with what is a complex parking regime.

Remove the CPZ entry signs (except the Saracens ED zone) and put signs on all single yellow lines. Only 10% of the borough has a CPZ and they are widely misunderstood or the entry signs are missed.

Reduce the vast size of the Saracens ED zone and change the time of it to one hour at the usual kick-off time.

Make a note of vehicles parked that would be in contravention if still there when the suspension sign is erected so that any PCN issued to them can be cancelled. Put up clearer suspension signs as ones that say 2 bays outside numbers x and y of a street will not be clear if three cars could park outside those two residences.

Publish the list of pavement parking locations which are not enforced even though the pavement is not marked out for them. This was promised to me in the Environment Committee meeting of 24 July 2014.

Use some of the SPA surplus to educate drivers about the most common parking errors. How many motorists, for example, know that you can't park on the pavement, except where marked out, anywhere in London? Not enough given the number of PCN which are issued for this contravention.

Traffic wardens (CEO)

Don't issue a PCN for a missing registration mark off a parking voucher (especially if it is only for 1 hour as it isn't very likely to be re-used) and remove the requirement from the next print run.

Don't issue a PCN for a Visitor Voucher that is out of date and remove the expiry date (3 years) from the next print run.

Make less use of Regulation 10 (drive-away) PCN as inadequate observation time is being given as to what the motorist was doing.

Allow 14 days grace for an expired resident permit. Give the car a leaflet that the permit has expired.

Give 10 minutes grace for all offences (except on crossing zig-zags and genuinely dangerous parking).

Issue a warning for minor contraventions if the driver returns. (Para 40 Sec of State Guidance).

Don't issue a PCN for being outside the bay marking when the two halves of the car are both in bays which the car is entitled to be in.

Don't let traffic wardens park their car or scooter in any manner other than legally (although without payment is OK)

Don't issue code 24 PCN (not parked correctly within the markings of the bay or space) unless one wheel is wholly outside the parking bay (London Councils CEO handbook)

Don't issue PCN in the first or last 2 minutes of a restriction (London Councils CEO handbook).

Don't issue PCN for being parked on the footway unless a complete wheel is on the footway, not just partially on the kerb.

Provide offices at which cash payments of PCN can be made.

Don't issue a PCN where the signs or lines are clearly defective - report them instead.

Back office

Cancel a PCN if it turns out that a valid permit exists but wasn't on display for some reason. If the traffic warden has this information about there being a permit he should not issue a PCN in the first place.

Cancel the PCN if there is a delay in processing at any stage of 6 months (this is the law for a Notice to Owner to be issued) i.e.

1    between the Notice to Owner and the Charge Certificate
2    between the Charge Certificate and the Notice of Recovery
3    between the Notice of Recovery and instructing the bailiff

Accept reasonable instalments if offered up to say 6 months. These motorists would not qualify for the 50% prompt payment discount.

Write a policy about how vulnerable individuals should be treated.

Cancel PCN where the wrong vehicle or wrong location has been paid for.

Cancel all permit issue delay PCN.

Cancel PCN if a permit reminder was not sent.

Cancel a PCN issued within the Saracens ED zone to any motorist who is resident within it and issue a permit to them and tell them about visitor vouchers.

Inform all medical workers who challenge a PCN on the grounds that they were attending to a sick patient about the Health Emergency badge scheme in case they may qualify for it.

Do a DVLA address check at both the Charge Certificate and Order for Recovery stages as people move a lot and otherwise may not receive these vital documents. I think the cost is about 20p per application.

Tell motorists if their formal representations are being disregarded as being outside the 28 day time limit from service of the Notice to Owner.

Make the decision about all challenges in-house as the law requires (even if NSL then issue the decision)

Put the email address on the PCN (para 70 of Sec of State guidance) and provide a telephone number for the use of the disabled who may not be able to communicate in writing.

Produce an Annual Report (Para 114 Sec of State guidance).

If the council get it wrong, apologise sincerely and compensate the motorist.

Find out why regular offenders are regular and offer them help and advice to avoid parking wrongly rather than clamping and/or removing the vehicle and negotiate settlement of their outstanding PCN by agreement if possible. Your power should be wielded with discretion.

If a motorist tells the council that the Charge Certificate is the first notice received the council should offer the opportunity to pay the PCN at the full rate (not +/- 50%) (para 224 London Councils Code of Practice)

Update the cancellation policy that was used prior to NSL being contracted (copy attached).

Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) - Northampton County Court

Don't oppose out of time witness statements where the customer says they have not received documents and are not clearly lying.

The council is allowed nearly a month to decide upon these. During this time the motorist may have been deprived of his car. The policy should be to decide upon them within 48 hours.

A council officer should decide on these, not a contractor.


Don't send bailiffs to Old Age Pensioners, Blue Badge Holders or Motability car drivers as they are a vulnerable section of society and other methods would be better i.e. phone them up if they don't pay to see what the problem is. A bailiff is not meant to take a car of a blue badge holder and certainly can't touch a Motability car as it doesn't belong to the debtor so avoid error and put temptation out of the bailiff's way.

Parking management, not NSL, should monitor the activities and charges of bailiffs to make sure they behave in a proper manner and do not overcharge.

Cases should be sent to bailiffs every month and without delay once the process of challenge has been exhausted.

Before instructing a bailiff in a case where the motorist has not engaged in the process at all make telephone, postal (Signed For service) or even personal contact with the motorist to find out why they have not responded. They may have moved away, had an accident or died.

Management should monitor the success rate of each firm of bailiffs. A success rate of 17% as in Enfield (Barnet's not known but likely to be equally dire) is no success at all. Either the bailiff is cherry picking the cases they are pursuing or the quality of what they are being given is too low.

Do not allow a parking enforcement contractor to use a bailiff that they own or a sister company as there is an inherent conflict of interest if the parking enforcement contractor makes the decision as to whether or not a particular car can be removed. In addition it is not possible for the parking enforcement contractor to independently investigate a complaint about a bailiff. The council should in any case make the investigation, using an independent person to make a recommendation, as they owe a duty of care for the behaviour of their bailiff (the warrant is in the name of the council).

Bailiffs have to take care of goods in their possession. One that was impounded for more than 6 months was not washed, its tyres were allowed to deflate and the battery was discharged and had to be replaced. This requirement should be stipulated in bailiff contracts (even though it is a well known requirement).

If the council decides to release a vehicle that has been impounded without payment, the council should deliver the vehicle back rather than make the motorist collect it from Nazeing (where Newlyn send vehicles to be stored).


Now you could go through the questions on the survey that the council have asked which include "do you like our policy as it is set out"? (pretty please) but Mr Mustard thinks that you might prefer his.

If that is the case you could send an email to paul.millard@barnet.gov.uk (he is the rather grandly titled Parking Improvement Project Manager - he's probably a consultant brought in just to do this project) saying that you agree with the all of the proposed policies that Mr Mustard sent to him on 26 September (c.c. mrmustard@zoho.com please) or you can copy and paste the ones you would like to see and send an email containing those alone to Mr Millard. The more people that respond the better as parking affects most people in the borough, the current policies are dire and some are simply aimed at raising revenue and this is your chance to make parking policy fairer.

Feel free to come up with your own policies if you don't like Mr Mustard's either. That's democracy. You have until 28 October but why not do it now?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. "Parking Improvement Project"? Does that make Mr Millard a PIMP manager?

  2. Not quite but pakring does give people the PIP


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.