30 January 2016

Barnet's Boxing Day bonus

Confusion abounds as to when Boxing Day falls especially when it comes to parking. Legally it was 28th December 2015 which left 26 December as a normal Saturday although many motorists thought that it was already Boxing Day (the Boxing Day sales having started) and got caught out.

Mr Mustard thinks that someone at NSL, who manage the parking enforcement operation for Barnet Council, may have over-indulged on mince pies and festive spirit as they clearly didn't know what day it was because the PayByPhone system refused payments on 26 December. NSL then sent traffic wardens out to carry out their dastardly duties and they duly ticketed the cars of people who had tried to pay and been unable to. Mr Mustard knows of a challenge which has been made on the basis that it was impossible to make payment and the challenge has been rejected. Mr Mustard thinks if that lands on an adjudicator's desk they will not be amused.

The numbers are not huge. Mr Mustard found them in the response to a Freedom of Information request on the whatdotheyknow website.

It is not relevant what it says on the council's website. A motorist has the right to be informed by signs near to where he/she has parked.

The sum at stake isn't huge but it is clearly wrong of the council to profit from its own error (or that of its contractor). Mr Mustard was told that the council did stop ticketing that day as they, quite rightly, received howls of protest by telephone; one thing the British public will not stand for is unfairness.

Codes 11 and 73 are for being parked without payment, #11 on the road and #73 in a car park. Any PCN issued in a shared use bay is also suspect.

It is disappointing that the council are not honest enough to correct their error and automatically cancel these PCN and refund any that have been paid without awaiting a challenge which may never arrive.

Mr Mustard will give council parking management an opportunity to do the decent thing and if they fail he will make a formal challenge to the statutory Accounts of the council after the year end. That will cost anything up to £10,000 in extra audit fees and so as only £2,160 (36 PCN at £60) is at stake the council may find it pragmatic, whether they agree or not that they should be honest (they have a general duty at law to be fair), to issue refunds as they will oitherwise find that dishonesty does not pay.

If you have one of these PCN or any other PCN issued on 26 December 2015 you can enlist Mr Mustard's help by emailing a copy of your PCN to mrmustard@zoho.com

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Barnet are now beyond parody. The sheer incompetence of this council should be a case study in books on public administration.

  2. This borders on being fraudulent. Thank goodness for people like Mr Mustard that stand up to these faceless council officials. People of Barnet need to wake up and keep these fools in check.


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