31 May 2015

Resident is Brauned* off about permits

One of the other Barnet bloggers told me that Cllr Braun's surname is pronounced Brown. If it isn't, the title doesn't work. The resident is still entitled to be browned off given that reply came there none. If Braun is pronounced Brawn then it isn't pronounced Brain, or Polite.
Brown not Braun
Taking money for a permit and issuing it should be a walk in the park. Why I keep getting examples of complete ineptitude 2 years after Crapita took the process over is a question you can answer for yourselves.

Dear Ms Braun,

I am a Hendon resident. For the last 4 years I have had a resident’s permit for my car, parking in Sunningfields Road. Prior to that, parking was free in my road. (Due to the giveaway of the Coptall stadium)

Today I came out of my house to discover I had a parking ticket. Apparently my resident parking permit had expired at the end of March.

I had not noticed this as I have always received a reminder notice from Barnet Council, asking for payment for the upcoming year. (Reasonable expectation is an argument that should find favour at PATAS)

This year I received no reminder and so did not notice that the permit had expired.
I phoned Barnet council, only to be put through an extremely long-winded automated system, several times, in my attempts to speak to a human being.

When I finally did speak to a member of Barnet Council staff I was told that they had changed systems, and, as an experiment, they were not sending out reminders in order to ‘see if people remembered to renew’

I cannot express how annoyed/upset I was to receive this response.

They also said that it was not part of the ‘Terms and Conditions’ to send out reminders and that I should have read these terms to see that. I pointed out that in all probability very few residents had read these.

Also, it surely sets a precedent when you send out a reminder for 3 years in a row; obviously people then expect a further reminder.

In fact the Barnet website permit renewal screen actually still requests that you fill in the ‘pin code’ received with your renewal letter, in order to renew it. (Ooh, a forensic resident. Spot on)

As I did not have such a code it took a member of staff about 30 minutes to try and set up an account and get my payment.

Total chaos. (and total ineptitude).

To add insult to injury, once I had paid I received an email confirming payment, as my email address was already in their system. It would have been just as easy to send out a reminder in this form. (Which is exactly how Mr Mustard is reminded by the council)

If I had parked illegally then I would accept it, but I feel Barnet Council are totally unjustified in changing their policy on reminders without actually telling the public. (They do this every time they change a system. It displays an institutionalised disdain for the public).

I was told that this had just come into force, so I am fully expecting hundreds of residents to get similar parking tickets, as I am sure most people will not realise the date of expiry had passed. (There was a surge in these types of parking ticket a few months ago but it had died down)

I would be most grateful if you would take this up with the council, who I believe are acting in an extremely high-handed way, against the interests of the public. (High handed? Barnet Council? indeed)

A Hendon Resident

The next email was to Mr Mustard

Dear Mr Mustard

I recently had a parking ticket from Barnet Council. My residents permit for my car parked outside my home had expired and I had not received a reminder from Barnet Council, so did not notice. See my below correspondence with Councillor Braun, for details.

It was a bit of a strange situation. I could perhaps have thought that I had been unlucky and that the reminder letter had got lost in the post, but when I phoned Barnet Council to query this, they confirmed that they had not sent a reminder ‘as an experiment to see if people paid without being sent a reminder’. However, 2 weeks later, my immediate neighbour did receive a reminder. In fact she received 2 reminders!

As I have paid online on each occasion I do not understand why they could not have sent me an automated email reminder in fact, but that is a separate issue.

I appealed the ticket and the appeal has just been refused. What a surprise. They just said that is was my responsibility to check. I argued that I had always received a reminder in all previous years and so relied on receiving a notice, and therefore Barnet should have warned residents if they intended to stop this practice.

I wrote to Councillor Braun and received an acknowledgement but have heard nothing further.

I will now have to pay the ticket I realise. However, I am writing to you to see if you are aware of this happening to other residents? It seems most strange that the council admitted to me that it had stopped sending out reminders, but then immediately started sending them out again. Was this due to the response from people getting tickets I wonder, or some other factor? One of the several Barnet staff I spoke to admitted (when I asked him directly) that the system had recently been started and that they had received other complaints similar to mine.

Kind Regards

A Hendon resident

Mr Mustard's fingers flew to the keyboard. Firstly, he told the Hendon resident not to pay & not to worry and then he emailed a parking manager to ask for a cancellation as all PCN issued in this circumstance are to be cancelled by order of the leader of the Council as this published answer from the full Council meeting of 23 September 2014


It took a few days but after a gentle reminder (as Mr Mustard's emails to parking management do usually get pretty quick responses as he stops the rot from spreading for them) NSL were instructed to cancel the PCN.

Now the question that comes to Mr Mustard's mind is why NSL don't know what Mr Mustard knows about the policy that the Leader has set? Is it incompetence? (NSL & incompetence in the same sentence, that isn't a first) or is it a deliberate policy to raise revenue? We should be told. (The usual excuse of a one-off error is not available as Mr Mustard knows of several instances).

Mr Mustard's PCN workload is heading towards the 100 PCN mark and he could do without any really difficult ones at the minute but these ones are easy so if you have one the same, do send it to Mr Mustard and he will get it fixed for you, sometimes within 24 hours.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Are there no limits to the incompetence of Barnet Council ? Sorry, pointless question, as the answer is an obvious 2-letter word !

  2. Top marks to Capita, though: blue sky thinking of the highest order, 'experimenting' to see if people would remember to pay. Hmm. How about an experiment to see if they remember to send round the bailiffs if we forget to pay council tax?


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