2 May 2018

the Contractor's sub-contractor

Barnet Council can't see through this nor see what their contractor's sub-contractors are up to
Mr C made a mistake in a yellow box, it happens. He received a PCN from the all seeing computer and within 4 days, he had paid it. He received a letter confirming that the PCN was at an end.

His troubles were only just starting except that Mr C didn't know it.

2 hours later someone went into the computer record and reopened the file

Half an hour later another user set the PCN to move forward in the process the following day

The next step after an unpaid postal PCN is a charge certificate. One was generated.

The penalty charge has not increased to £195 as £65 has been paid. That is mistake number 1.

The PCN grants periods of 28 days (from issue date or receipt date respectively) for the PCN to be paid or challenged. After 9 days (the 18th is day 1) the 28 day periods have clearly not expired. The Charge Certificate is a nullity and an unlawful demand for payment. One questions why the software is not programmed to stop stupid errors like this one.

The charge certificate may well have been generated but it didn't reach Mr C who stayed in the dark.

Next up comes the Order for Recovery. The batch in which that was generated and sent to liberty by NSL contained an error.

That email, of 11 December 2017, was not processed by NSL. How many documents were in those batches? not just Mr C's?

In October 17 the details of the PCN were sent to a bailiff for a pre-debt check. This was a data breach as Mr C was not a debtor or even a potential debtor.The bailiff decided he was worth powder & shot so the PCN continued through the process.

The council's record shows that the PE3, Order for Recovery, was produced, but not that it was posted. Mr C did not receive it and that is because it was not mailed to him.

The next thing that Mr C knew was that he was contacted by the bailiff, for a PCN which he had paid months prior at the discounted rate.

This is what can happen when you contract out your responsibilities and they then get sub-contracted to another company (Liberty in this case, owned by Crapita, but not so crap in this case). It looks like a failure by NSL but the address to which Liberty sent their email has been redacted, for no good reason so Mr Mustard can't be 100% sure.

Now that Mr C has been to his councillor he has received an apology for his PCN being mishandled but no mention of any compensation for the fright of a bailiff sending a demand for payment which simply was not due.

This is why Mr Mustard is against the way in which Barnet Council outsource services. he doesn't have a problem with it per se as he himself offers outsourced debt collection, the difference being that he is staggeringly efficient and his clients receive a weekly report of progress and any problems, so they know what is happening.

Barnet council outsource and then let the outsourcer outsource some more so are two steps removed from knowing what is going on. Throw in extreme automation of processes and the lack of human involvement and injustices like this one happen.

Even then once a cock-up occurs the administration doesn't cover itself in glory by offering a fulsome apology and making a payment in compensation. No the explanatory letter which Mr Mustard has seen goes on about how correct the initial PCN was, as if this is some comfort, in order to deflect attention from how dire everything was that happened after that, and says not a word about the data breach nor offer any compensation for receiving a threatening letter from the bailiff when absolutely no money is owed to the council.

This is just one reason why Mr Mustard will Vote Labour tomorrow. Should Labour get a majority tomorrow Mr Mustard will offer his services as Parking Czar to them in order to stop PCNs becoming a revenue stream, in order to bring fairness & commonsense to the system and to reduce automation and put the human touch back to the forefront.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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