24 July 2013

Fourth Objection - Income targets

No pictures of fourth objection available so here is one of the fourth plinth
Mr Hughes chased Mr Mustard up for any further objections after number 3. 

Mr Mustard thought that the accountability worked in the opposite direction but this is Barnet where the opposite is often the case and public servants forget what the word servant means (not thinking of it in any menial sense, only as in "to serve"). Well the bloggers do provide an excellent and free service of information spreading, armchair auditing, critical friend, check and balance, democratic oversight, etc .

24 July 2013

Mr P Hughes
Grant Thornton
Melton St

Dear Mr Hughes

The London Borough of Barnet
Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2013
Fourth Notice of Objection

1. Unlawful PCN targets within parking enforcement contract.

I request a public interest notice as per section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 that Barnet Council has signed and sealed a parking enforcement contract with unlawful collection targets, activity levels and incentives set within that contract contrary to law.

2. Unlawfully derived income from PCNs issued

I request a public interest notice as per section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 that Barnet has unlawfully derived income from 150,150 PCNs issued with an estimated issue value of £15,122,500 for the financial year 2012/13.

I request you apply to the courts under section 17 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 to have the income derived from the £15,122,500 of PCNs issued declared illegally derived income.

I will supply documentary evidence of the unlawful targets. A copy of this Notice of Objection has been sent to Mr C Naylor and to Cllr Monroe Palmer, Baron Palmer of Child's Hill, OBE, FCA. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

Whilst he was writing Mr Mustard thought he would point out the bleeding obvious in a covering email to the external auditor, and the Chief Operating Officer, Chris Naylor, that the contract is not being adhered to by NSL and in that situation perhaps it would benefit from some auditing, just in case they weren't keeping up or Mr Mustard hadn't been clear enough.

It is clear to me that this One Barnet outsourcing contract with NSL is a complete and utter fiasco. In the limited time available to me, and given the difficulties in extracting information from the council, I have only been able to touch the surface as to what is wrong with the contract. It needs auditing (internally or by a contractor) with some thoroughness in the following areas, in particular:

-     How many PATAS evidence packs have not been produced leading to an automatically cancelled PCN and not receiving the service that has been paid for.

-     How many PCN are being pursued where the Notice to Owner was issued after the 6 month cut-off date which means the PCN must be cancelled.

-     How many PCN are being pursued where formal representations have not been responded to within 56 days which means the PCN must be cancelled.

-    Have bailiffs been instructed when a contract was not in place.

-     Have the contracted deployed hours been checked and provided or a price adjustment made for any under-deployment

-    Have unqualified Civil Enforcement Officers been employed.

-    Have 90%+ of all bus lane contraventions been captured?

-     Has all money due to the council been properly accounted for.

-    How many informal representations (between the PCN and the Notice to Owner being issued) have simply been ignored.

The problem for the council is that Mr Mustard probably knows more about the workings of the appeal process (despite gvernance banning him from asking questions about parking, parking tickets or CPZs which you won't find it is possible to do under the FOI Act - but hey this is Barnet where the impossible is possible) and the things that are going wrong in parking than almost anyone else at all in Barnet so fobbing him off isn't going to be easy or sensible. Did Mr Mustard mention that in the spirit of localism he has been keeping the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP informed? no; well he has so be careful with your next steps Barnet Council as the wrath of Eric is probably best not encountered.

Of course what the auditor will say is that there aren't targets for PCNs which is sort of true but there are other targets which can only be met by issuing a certain number of PCNs so we are in a game of chase the lady.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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