23 July 2014

(PO) Boxed into a corner

no value in writing to Worthing
The above address is the return address from an envelope that came with a Notice to Owner in the last few days. It is very odd as the Notice has an address to send your challenge to of PO Box 197, Lowton Way, Hellaby, Sheffield S98 1LW and so we could reasonable expect the envelope to bear the same address.

Now either NSL haven't told their printers (they outsource bulk printing of documents as far as Mr Mustard can see, to a company called Infinity Print?) or NSL or the printer has acted like cheapskates and decided to use up the existing stock of envelopes rather than waste them (they could be given to charity to find a use for).

Why does it matter? It matters because if a document is sent to you by NSL on behalf of Barnet Council which you don't receive it will take an age, if ever, to be returned via the special sorting office for undelivered post at Royal Mail Belfast to the Sheffield address inside. If you end up filing an out-of-time witness statement due to non-receipt of a vital document the council, acting by their agent, NSL will file a statement of truth that mail sent by them was not returned undelivered. It was impossible for the item to be returned if the PO box on the envelope was no longer in use. This is the sort of truth which is not the whole truth.

Mr Mustard thinks that the Worthing PO Box has been quietly abandoned as the test item he sent there by the 1st Class Signed for service on 17 July 14 has not yet been delivered.

If you have written to this Worthing address in the last month send your letter again to the Sheffield one as it is going to go into a black hole. If you have had an item returned please send copies to Mr Mustard so we can work out when the PO Box was closed as Mr Mustard suspects it has been for some time. Mr Mustard also asked the Royal Mail to confirm the delivery address and they couldn't find a live record for the PO Box in Worthing.

He rather thought that this was just an NSL (or their agent) failing but finds the council to be equally behind the times. He looked up their website and look, no mention of Sheffield! The address on the link will change as soon as Barnet Parking read this blog page so Mr Mustard has cut the address out of it as it stands today:

So you are not getting 100% consistent information from either NSL or the council. It's a poor show.

What should have happened is that the council should have had a pop-up box or flashing information panel about the new address on the PCN web entry page and a cautionary note should have been enclosed with every communication on a piece of coloured paper so it doesn't get missed. It isn't too late for the council to make partial amends by doing this now. The council also need to accept as valid any representations that were sent to Worthing in error when the motorist didn't see that their PCN said Worthing and the Notice to Owner said Sheffield.

Silence which leads to motorist error is simply not good enough. A Rabbi fell foul of the fax machine being withdrawn overnight in 2012 and he sent 4 faxes for all of which he got delivery receipts and the council denied receipt of all 4. He ended up paying the bailiff. Don't find yourself in the same boat.

If the entire parking service was managed in-house Mr Mustard feels sure that this change of address would have been carried out in a more joined up manner.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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