4 November 2020

Barnet Council's PCN bailiffs not properly scrutinised

Here is a report by the Local Government Ombudsman. The first 15 paragraphs have been omitted as they don't add anything useful to the story.

The decision catalogues a litany of errors. It seems to Mr Mustard that NSL, contracted to provide back office services to Barnet Council, aren't properly supervising bailiffs employed by Marstons and yet decisions taken by NSL affect the income up stream. Perhaps this is because NSL now belongs to Marstons. You can't properly supervise your bosses if you want to keep your job. Perhaps Marstons shouldn't be appointed by any council which already employs NSL? or vice versa.

In addition, Barnet Council haven't covered themselves in glory either. They aren't properly supervising NSL or managing their own internal processes. The trouble is that very few cases reach the Ombudsman, not because everything is perfect, but because most people give up the fight once their car is clamped, whether legally or otherwise, as depriving a person of their possessions is a very powerful action. This will not be the only case where bailiffs have exceeded their authority, Mr Mustard sees it all the time.

What is really needed is a panel of independent persons who can consider all complaints without having an interest in the PCN revenue and by that method the council could improve its procedures and reputation.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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