26 December 2013

That's enough Christmas cheer; have some statistics.

March 13
March 12 March 11
PCN issued – London-wide 4,895,252
4,931,816 4,810,561
Appeals made to PATAS 66,810
74,568 69,580
Percentage appealed 1.36%
1.51% 1.45%

Appeals processed 57,888
64,903 69,132

Barnet PCN issued 165,569
148,118 124,139

Barnet PCN appealed 2,393
1,548 1,183
Barnet PCN appeals processed 2,253
1,322 1,277
Barnet PCN % appealed 1.45%
1.05% 0.95%
Barnet appeal ranking – volume 7
19 22

Barnet appeals allowed 1,684
841 580
Percentage appeals allowed 75%
64% 45%
Ranking 2
14 19
Highest % allowed 78%
98% 98%
Borough City of London
City of London City of London
Lowest % allowed 25%
26% 26%
Borough Kingston
Croydon Greenwich

Appeals not contested by borough

Barnet 30%
28% 12%
Highest % not contested 42%
77% 83%
Borough City of London
City of London City of London
Lowest % not contested 6%
5% 2%
Borough Enfield
Greenwich Kingston

The stats for PCN appeals at PATAS for the year to 31 March 13 came out just before the Xmas break, and Mr Mustard has extracted some of the relevant ones for you.

At the top we see that on a pan-London basis the number of PCN was down on the previous year although it was up on the one before that. No valid conclusion can be drawn on a variance of a mere 2.5%. Just look at the number of PCN issued, five million (that is the real scandal, not whether it has gone down a  few thousand in a particular year which will be the one statistic that always gets quoted).

The number of appeals made to PATAS varied a whole lot more and is really low. The proposed change to the rules so that prompt payment after losing a PATAS appeal would lead to a discount of 25% would see a whole lot more cases going to PATAS. It is a civilised place and not at all formal and everyone with a PCN should go there at least once in their lifetime for the experience. If you go on a Wednesday morning you'll probably bump into Mr Mustard.

The number of Barnet PCN going up was already known to regular readers. The larger jump comes after the appointment of NSL on 1 May 12. Mr Mustard finds it hard to believe that the pattern of motorists' behaviour changed markedly at that time; could it be the approach taken by NSL that has led to the jump in PCN numbers?

It is interesting to contrast Barnet with other similar boroughs, such as 

Enfield with 72,857 PCN
Harrow: 70,623
Croydon: 97,169

It can't be the motorist who is greatly different in their parking habits in Barnet, can it?

What is unsurprising is the jump in appeals being made to PATAS (when you ask in response to a PCN or Notice to Owner to have your PCN cancelled they are not appeals but representations, by the way) with a greater increase after the appointment of NSL, and the jump in the number of PCN issued, than beforehand. Mr Mustard puts this down to more marginal PCN being issued. The sad truth though is that 50% of all PCN issued are paid without demur and so the temptation must be to issue PCN like a drunken sailor as the income from an extra 30,000 PCN, of which 15,000 will be paid just like that, makes the extra time, cost and trouble of another 900 appeals a relative flea bite.

The number of appeals to PATAS is already well up for 2013-14 (well done everybody) with 2,751 processed in 37 weeks with a projected final number for the year to March 2014 of 3,866. Barnet have already got themselves from 22nd out of 34 boroughs in terms of absolute volume of PCN appeals up to 7th, which is an impressively bad performance.

If we look next at the percentage of appeals that are won by the motorist at PATAS then Barnet's poor performance is laid starkly bare. Even before the move to NSL the wheels were starting to come off, probably caused by all the time spent on getting ready to outsource with the council going from being in the better bottom half of the table of London boroughs into the top half at 14th worst. Then NSL take over and rocket up the league table to 2nd, behind only the City of London who have long had a reputation for not contesting appeals. The City issued a mere 47,555 PCN in the year with 702 going to appeal and 78% of them being won mainly because the City didn't bother to fight 42% of them. You can see that Barnet's failure rate is similar to the success rate of other boroughs with Kingston currently being a good place to park properly.

Some boroughs fight you all the way to PATAS which indicates a confidence in their argument and proper resourcing of the parking department. Barnet on the other hand don't contest 30% of all PATAS cases and this means that their possible two rejections of your representations could have been spurious, or a bluff or signifies a lack of resource for preparing appeal packs.

The lesson that you, dear reader, can learn from the statistics is that it is worth going the three rounds with Barnet council as you will probably beat them in the end. You just have to persist a little. You can present the same argument in your second representations as in the first and then the same at the PATAS appeal. There is a brief guide to the process available to download at the top left of the blog. Let's see if we can get appeals to 4,000 this year and then at least 5,000 next. At some point the wheels will well and truly come off the NSL machine.

All the best for 2014.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

On 28 January Mr Mustard realised, thanks to the external auditor sending him some statistics that are much more out than he is!, that he had forgotten to include 13,317 bus lane tickets in the figures to March 12 and they are now included.

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