28 December 2017

Revaulting decision by Barnet Council

One day Mr Mustard hopes that he won't have to read stupid, immoral, money motivated and unreasonable council arguments in the parking ticket tribunal register. He suspects he always will.

So let us be clear here. You have parked your car legally before the restrictions started at 4pm. You have been held up in the bank behind a locked door, whether due to a mechanical failure or a robber waving a gun around we don't know, but whatever the reason you could not leave the bank to move your car.

Mr Brown will have made formal representations to that effect and Barnet Council, assisted or not by their contractors NSL Ltd, have refused the representations and made you take your argument to the tribunal where the adjudicator will have struggled to curtail his incredulity and judging by the shortness and simplicity of the written decision, it was arrived at very easily.

Barnet Council, in common with many others, simply have too much power. They are required to exercise their discretion in situations such as these without thinking about the money represented by the PCN. They simply aren't independent enough and are swayed by the prospect of receiving £110 from a motorist without the guts or time to fight. Luckily Mr Brown had principles & could be bothered to fight. Mr Mustard salutes you.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

p.s. The PCN register is a public document.

Mr Mustard can spell revolting.

24 December 2017

Blunders abound - updated, but not compensated

Although Mr Mustard is very busy working and really hasn't got the spare time for PCNs he can't leave wronged motorists without the necessary help.

A PCN was issued to a Scotsman for code 87: Parked in a designated disabled person's parking place without displaying a valid disabled person's badge in the prescribed manner. The photo above was taken by the traffic warden.

Although the clock is displayed and shows a time of about 11:05 it wasn't necessary to display it as blue badge holders park for fee all day in this car park. The gentleman in question had driven down from Scotland to visit his brother in Barnet General and then nipped up to the town centre where, after finding the PCN on his car, he was lucky to be spotted by a friend of Mr Mustard's on his way to band practice (he plays the tuba whereas traffic wardens just play the fiddle) who passed on the necessary mobile phone number.

The motorist has done nothing wrong, he has clearly displayed a valid blue badge the correct way up. Now he has to fight a PCN and make a charity donation for Mr Mustard's help so will be out of pocket even if the PCN gets cancelled the instant that Mr Mustard's complaint goes in.

Mr Mustard has seen more instances recently of complete lash ups by traffic wardens. Service really needs to improve as being wrongly threatened with a £110 penalty is not cricket. This is another example of an instance in which the motorist should automatically be compensated for the inconvenience.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Here is the council response: 

The arrival time does not appear to Mr Mustard to be wrong (and the council don't actually know the time of arrival) but what usually happens is that the traffic warden looks to see if the clock time is later than the current time & if it is assumes that the motorist was trying to gain extra minutes. The snag with that thought process, if indeed it is one rather than simply mechanical, is that the rules say you just have to set for the quarter hour within which you parked, so arriving at 11:01 you can properly set your clock for 11:14

Note that there is absolutely no mention of compensation. The council do not have to compensate you by law for their errors so the council won't pay any. Bah humbug. When PCN laws get refreshed Mr Mustard will be pushing for automatic fixed sum compensation for council errors.

24 December 2017

12 December 2017

Barnet Council have slipped up since 2009

Above is Barnet Council's assessment of their performance faced with the worst snow fall for 20 years and it sounds pretty good. Mr Mustard doesn't remember any particular problems from that time, his work diary looking pretty normal.

You have to ask what has changed since 2009?

The depot has moved out of the borough (a shortsighted decision).

There has been a massive shift away from directly employed staff to outsourcing. The traffic wardens no longer work for the council so unless reusing them for salt spreading was in the contract (Mr Mustard has read it & doesn't remember seeing such a clause and certainly hasn't seen or heard of traffic wardens doing anything other than being as zealous as ever in issuing PCNs) that isn't going to happen. It would also need to be in the employee's contract. Refuse crews are still in house - others will hopefully know what they have been doing.

Winter planning was outsourced to Crapita - Coventry had it much worse than Barnet so the Capita staff at that location may not have made it to work?

Probably due to recent mild winters contingency planning hasn't seemed so important
 Budgets have been cut left right & centre. Street scene has not escaped

Feel free to add other factors in the comments box.

Whatever the reasons we are all suffering the effects of the council's poor planning. 

Q. Why do we pay council tax? 
A. To receive communal services.

Q. Are we getting them?
A. No

Q. Can you get better service for less money?
A. No

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update 12 December 2017 at 19:54

No traffic warden has been out gritting pavements which they could usefully have done as we have 50+ of them and they couldn't issue PCNs on Sunday.

11 December 2017

A snowball's chance in hell of your road or pavement being gritted.

Gritting by MisterMustard on Scribd

If you start with the notion that something is almost impossible then you are hardly likely to be brilliant at it. Perhaps it is this lack of conviction (apathy?) that has led to such a poor gritting performance this weekend in the borough of Barnet.

Mr Mustard does not think that Barnet Council have met their statutory duty this weekend as in some previous years the performance was more effective which demonstrates that a better performance is reasonably practicable.

Priority 1 roads were not regularly gritted. This evening coming home from his snooker match Mr Mustard found that buses on Barnet Hill were staying well out from the kerb due to lack of grip and that a pedestrian was walking in the road in the High St near Normandy Avenue because the footpath was an ice rink.

Priority 2 & 3 (=no priority at all) roads were not gritted as all Priority 1 roads had not yet been done. Priority 3 roads in this study were only gritted 2% of the time of Priority 1 roads. They have a snowball's chance in hell of being gritted.

'Clear snow early in the day when fresh' & 'Apply salt before night to prevent refreezing' are two piece of council advice that the council should take heed of.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Pay but get PCN; valid challenge gets refused!

What, you are wondering, has Ski Sunday got to do with a PCN? 
It is that service is going downhill fast.

Mr Mustard's client, let us call her Miss R, parked her car near to her place of work and immediately paid for her parking at the correct location, which she knows well, and for the correct car (she may in fact only have the one). The payment was made at 08:34. The location being North Finchley, where the traffic wardens hunt in packs as their base is just up the road, a traffic warden clocked her car the moment she arrived. He/she checked for payment which of course takes about a minute after parking (you must not try to pay whilst still driving along). He/she then waited until 08:39 and issued a PCN for non-payment. Mr Mustard thinks they forgot to check for a payment at the end of the 5 minute observation period in their haste to clock up another PCN towards the non-existent target (something makes them really keen to issue PCNs).

Having found the PCN when she went to use her car a bit later, Miss R thought she wouldn't trouble Mr Mustard with such an easy challenge, she would make it herself. She duly did so and the council denied that any payment had been made for that car that day which is odd as Mr Mustard could see the payment in her on line account.

Mr Mustard therefore intervened and sent a complaint to parking management, who know that Mr Mustard is always serious and almost always correct, and has heard back very swiftly today (the complaint was only made on Saturday) and the PCN has been cancelled.

This response nails the lie that payments made to PayByPhone appear instantly on the hand held equipment of the traffic warden.

Whilst that is a quick and sincere apology, one small part of Mr Mustard's email did not, as per usual, get responded to. It read:

NSL back office have incorrectly stated that no payments were made that day. Motorists really shouldn't have to suffer two errors on one ticket, it is stressful, exasperating, wastes their time and costs them a £25 charity donation for my help.

The council really should compensate motorists when they have got it so wrong. You don't let motorists made even one teensy weensy parking error without expecting to extract a penalty of £60 or £110.

The blog for the last few entries has highlighted one cock-up after another. There is another good (bad) one (two) coming shortly.

How much should motorists have to put up with?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard