Tuesday, 18 December 2012

PATAS - taken to the (dry) cleaners

This is one place people go to avoid parking tickets. We will miss our High Streets when they are gone.
The week starting 10 December was a quiet one at PATAS for some reason with 19 parking tickets cancelled and 6 upheld.

The Monday started with 2 parking tickets cancelled by order of the adjudicator. This usually means that NSL have not bothered to send in the evidence packs on behalf of Barnet Council.
An interesting case in Wildwood Road. The dropped kerb has not been lowered far enough to meet the carriageway so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A loading exemption was allowed for a person who was loading a suit, 4 shirts and a pair of trousers from the dry cleaners. This was described as a marginal case which it was although that dry cleaning is a slippery beast to handle and you don't want to get it all dirty by accidentally brushing against something. Usually anything that you are loading has to be heavy, bulky or somehow awkward to handle thus forcing the necessity of being near to your loading point.
Tuesday saw one case cancelled by order.
Another 4 cases on Wednesday cancelled by order and then 7 more on Thursday. What are we paying NSL for exactly?
On Friday there was an interesting case about the wording of a parking ticket for being in a loading bay as it did not refer to goods vehicle as being the allowed class. Parking tickets must be tightly worded if they are to succeed. This one was cancelled.

Only one more week to Christmas. Be careful around Christmas as some restrictions are still enforced. See the council website for details.

Keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 13 December 2012

PATAS - Loading a toilet isn't loading

for those flush with cash - a toilet shaped house
Yet another bad week for Barnet Council at PATAS with 52 parking tickets being cancelled and 23 being upheld. Notable cases as follows:

On Monday 3 December a person who was unloading furniture and who denied being served with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was found to be unloading and had their parking ticket cancelled. There seem to be a lot of cases where the traffic warden says the ticket was HTD (Handed to Driver) and the driver says it wasn't. It is rare for a traffic warden to have to attend PATAS and so they can tell all the lies they like with impunity.

Someone thought they should be let off a parking ticket because they were visiting their landlord to pay the rent. That is nowhere near a valid reason. You have to think of something better than that.

A parking ticket was cancelled because NSL failed to produce adequate evidence of the type of bay that was at issue. The adjudicator said about the evidence from NSL "Method of presenting is less than satisfactory".

In another case of payment being made by phone and applied to the wrong vehicle, which is quite common, the mistake was held to be that of Verrus as they had evidently made the mistake. If you have more than one vehicle and more than one credit card I would pair them up so that you won't be the victim of this sort of error. The PCN was cancelled.

NSL sent a letter saying a parking ticket would be reduced for prompt payment from £60 to £30 and if unpaid it would be increased to £110 which is wrong, the correct answer would be £90. This is a procedural impropriety and for that reason alone the parking ticket was cancelled.

Another case of overhanging a dropped kerb by a tiny (de minimis) amount led to the parking ticket being cancelled.

Tuesday started with 5 parking tickets being cancelled by the Adjudicator probably thanks to no evidence being supplied by NSL.

A PCN for being in a loading bay was cancelled as the PCN was not specific enough about what class of vehicle was allowed. In a similar case the notes and the photographs didn't prove that the vehicle was in a loading bay and so again the parking ticket was cancelled.

Wednesday saw another loading bay case. The evidence on behalf of Barnet Council was described as "thin" and there were no photographs so yet another parking ticket was cancelled.

Evidence seems to be a problem for NSL as it was described as "vague and uncertain" and the parking ticket was cancelled. The motorist faced with a financial penalty is entitled to see justice is done.

Evidence was almost certainly completely absent in the five parking tickets that day which were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator and another one were the PCN was not produced which amounts to the same thing.

Thursday got off to a good start. Four cases saw parking tickets cancelled by order and the next because there were no photographs and no note of the road fund licence number.

Another motorist was loading equipment and so their parking ticket was cancelled.

The absence of sufficient signs to say the times of operation of yellow lines (at least every 60m) was sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the parking ticket.

A cheque for the 50% amount was not received at the parking office and so the poor motorist has to pay the whole amount. Might I recommend that payment of £1.55 for the signed for service is a good investment to avoid any doubt. We wouldn't want NSL to lose your appeal letter, now would we?

NSL or Barnet Council made a blunder when sending their evidence to the Adjudicator. the first copy PCN said the believed offence was for parking at the wrong time and the second copy PCN (of the same ticket) said it was for foot way parking. They invited the Adjudicator to disregard the first PCN copy supplied in error. He declined and cancelled the parking ticket. Procedural errors seem to be the usual order of things at NSL.

Friday started in the usual way with the Adjudicator cancelling three Parking tickets "By Order" almost certainly because he had no evidence to consider from NSL.

In one of my favourite cases the Adjudicator could see from the photographs that the driver was in the car with the brake on and the engine running. the traffic warden had not made a note of the tax disc number and there was no evidence of the service of the PCN so it was cancelled. the inference is that the traffic warden was over zealous in issuing without sufficient time of observation.

In another cracker the pavement works agent asked residents to park on the other side of the street to make doing his job easier. They complied and got issued with parking tickets. The Adjudicator said that in complying with the reasonable request of the agent of the council there was an expectation that they would not be ticketed and so cancelled the parking ticket.
The argument put forward that a motorist was loading a toilet into their vehicle was not accepted a loading which seems rather harsh as they are heavy and hard to handle. However, there had been a failure to extend the 50% discount period in response to informal representations and that amounted to a procedural impropriety which meant that the parking ticket got cancelled anyway.
Yet another administrative blunder saw a Notice of rejection issued on 31 August followed by a Charge Certificate on 3 September. This was far less than the 28 days that should have been allowed. The Adjudicator described the Charge Certificate as "an unlawful demand for money" and thus a procedural impropriety and the parking ticket was cancelled.
Do keep the appeals coming. Sending cases off to PATAS is not profitable for the council. Each appeal at PATAS costs them £44. The average ticket is worth about £90. So they paid out £3,300 last week and will recover £2,070 at the most as not everyone will pay the upheld parking tickets.
Yours appealing
Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

PATAS - Saturday 1 December - Mr Mustard informs councillors

My friend Mr Mustard is not shy. He likes to keep councillors informed of how badly NSL are doing at PATAS as otherwise they probably wouldn't know.

remote management; it won't work like this

Dear Councillors

Sorry about the delay in keeping you up with cases at PATAS but their website was down for a day or two.

Friday 30th November 2012

On Friday 30th there were 7 cases. one was for parking on the pavement so quite correctly the parking ticket was upheld. The other 6 tickets saw no evidence packs sent to PATAS by BNSL. They are giving One Barnet a bad name. Is anything being done about it?

Saturday 1st December 2012

Saturday saw 8 cases. They would, on the average, end up with 2 parking tickets cancelled and 6 upheld. Not so in Barnet. Only 3 tickets were upheld. The 5 parking tickets which were cancelled all had very interesting comment by the Adjudicator (spelling errors left as typed) or circumstances of wider interest.

1. The adjudicator said about a note by a traffic warden that the "parking ticket was affixed to the vehicle but not secure" that "How the Council felt able to proceed on the basis of this evidence is something of a mystery".

2. The Appellant's case is that at the time of th observation the driver was in the process of obtaining the visitors permit, which has been produced.

On parking a vehicle in any bay the motorist is of necessity permitted the time required to do what is necessary to validate the parking whether to go to a machine and obtain a ticket or, as in the present case to enter premises and obtain a visitors permit. The time involved will in normal circumstances be brief and the motorist is required to act promptly. In the present case the very brief observation period does nothing to suggest that the driver did not do so and an explanation has been given for the delay, such as it was. I am satisfied the vehicle was parked within this allowable period. As it transpires the vehicle was not in contravention and the PCN was incorrectly issued.

3. The authority's case is that the appellant's vehicle was seen in a pay by phone bay at 12.05 and that a Penalty Charge Notice was issued at 12.08. This was handed to the driver. There are no photographs (presumably because the driver drove off before any could be taken) and the information about the vehicle is limited. There is no record, for example, of the road fund licence number or its expiry date.

The appellant says that he only stopped to pick up his wife. He also denies ever receiving the PCN. As the vehicle was parked in a phone bay, I am quite surprised that a PCN should have been produced after only three minutes. It does take some time for a CEO to check whether or not a payment has been made. I note the lack of the road fund licence number and conclude, at the least, that this PCN must have been hurriedly prepared. I am not satisfied that it was correctly served and for that reason I will allow the appeal.

4. This is a personal appeal attended by the Appellant who does not dispute that he had driven in the bus lane. It appeared from the still CCTV images filed that his car had been driven in the bus lane for some seven seconds.

In his initial challenge, the Appellant explained his medical condition and that he had a panic attack at the time of the alleged contravention. The Appellant's evidence filed prior to this hearing confirmed that he was under the care of the Brent Adult Mental Health Psychology (Complex Care) Department for Psychological Therapy, and he filed additional medical evidence at the hearing confirming that he suffered from Bipolar Affective Disorder.

It is relevant to this case that I consider whether any exemption applies having regard to the circumstances but the Enforcement Authority has failed to include with its evidence extracts from the relevant local Traffic Management Order setting out the exemptions that applied. They ought to have done so in the light of the evidence already filed by the Appellant and, due to that omission, I am unable to be satisfied whether the Appellant's actions may, on this occasion, have been exempted under that Order. I must therefore allow the appeal.

5. The Appellant attended before me today to explain the contention personally.

The Appellant denies liability for the Penalty Charge Notice on the basis of the prevailing circumstances as contained in his written representation, which he reiterated and comprehensively detailed at the Hearing, supported by a copy garage invoice.

I found the Appellant's oral evidence to be cogent and credible and I accepted it in its entirety.

The Enforcement Authority who assert that the said vehicle was so parked contrary to an operative restriction are obliged to adduce evidence to the requisite standard to substantiate that assertion, including an accurate copy of the Penalty Charge Notice.

The evidence upon which the Enforcement Authority rely comprises the a copy Penalty Charge Notice which the Enforcement Authority state "emulates the information and layout of" the Penalty Charge Notice, and computer-generated screen prints purporting to be the contemporaneous notes made by the Civil Enforcement Officer, together with photographic evidence: still frames revealing the said vehicle in situ.

The Enforcement Authority also adduce a Google street view image, which is of limited evidential value since the knowledge of the annotator is not known, and it is not possible to correlate the same to the position of the said vehicle.

Notwithstanding that the allegation relates to an incidence of parking adjacent to a dropped footway, the copy Penalty Charge Notice bears a contravention code number 01 which, despite the wording on the copy document, relates to a different contravention.

Further, the photographic capture does not demonstrate the level of the kerb viz a viz the carriageway and I cannot assess the contemporaneaity of the civil enforcement officer's record from the computer-generated screen prints.

Evidentially therefore I cannot be satisfied that this contravention occurred, accordingly I allow this Appeal.


So what we can see from these 5 cases is that the there is no proper control over what NSL are doing. It is the law that formal appeals are dealt with by the council. Either they are and they are not being given sufficient and mature consideration, perhaps because of the desperate desire to meet the expectations of the Special Parking Account figures, or they aren't and they are being dealt with by NSL on the quiet which is purely and simply wrong.

What we also see from Friday's cases is a lack of adherence to the terms of the contract and zero comeback on NSL (as far as I am aware, if you know different do please tell me). This will be much worse for any failure on NSCSO as it is so complicated by comparison to a simple parking contract.

An outsourced provider isn't necessarily any better, or any worse, just more remote and thus much harder to manage. If you have a vote on Thursday evening, do please think hard before you exercise it.

I will see you there.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

So it is as I tell you every week. Keep putting the appeals in as you stand a better than evens chance of winning your case.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 3 December 2012

PATAS w/c 26 November 12

Freddie Flintoff tried his hand at boxing this week having previously played the game of cricket.
NSL traffic wardens could have been the people who gave rise to the saying of "It's just not cricket" but they don't do boxing matches either.

Chess is much more genteel
NSL are so afraid of the opponent, or due to their lack of training, that rather than even turn up for the matches at PATAS they throw in the towel before the start of the round.
I can't tell you about Saturday's results as the PATAS computer is having a rest. If there is anything notable I will add it later.
Monday's matches saw NSL throw the towel in 8 times so 8 motorists got their parking tickets cancelled.
Tuesday saw 5 more episodes of towel throwing. Two tickets were upheld. One for stopping on zig-zags because your blind son is choking in the back of the car. The second for a technical argument which had no merit. 5 other cases were considered. In the first the motorist has to stop in the road to open the gate to his property. There was another car in the way which he moved, the independent Adjudicator saw this as a merely incidental delay and cancelled the parking ticket.
A failure by NSL to deal with an informal challenge was a procedural impropriety so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A badly parked car was given a parking ticket, parking parallel to the kerb does look neater, but isn't a reason to be given a parking ticket. All of the car was not 50cm from the kerb and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A motorist paid-by-phone and a B was recorded as a V in the car registration (a Spanish operative at Verrus?). The error is more likely to be by Verrus the provider and so the parking ticket was cancelled. Why Barnet Council and/or NSL take this miserable approach to what is an obvious administrative error is a question that needs to be answered.
The final cancelled parking ticket concerned a motorist who paid £3 and then another £5 to pay-by-phone and still got a parking ticket in the Lodge Lane car park. The motorist produced their bank statements and mobile phone bill. Barnet Council were asked by the Adjudicator to comment and none came.
Wednesday saw NSL throw the towel in 11 times so 11 parking tickets were cancelled.
Thursday was very busy with 4 parking tickets upheld and 26 cancelled. In 13 of these NSL threw in the towel. Other notable cases included a blue badge that was not displayed on the dashboard because the motorist couldn't reach it. It is always clearly displayed in the side window and so would have been easy to see if the traffic warden wanted to see it. The blue badge scheme rules say that if there isn't a dashboard in your car you must put the badge in a place where it can clearly be seen. A side window is an obvious choice. The independent Adjudicator thus cancelled the parking ticket but what sort of society do Barnet Council and/or NSL inherit which allows them to treat the disabled like this? My suspicion is that the traffic warden deliberately didn't take a photo of the side of the car.
A removal company got a parking ticket in the "High Street". They asked the council which one. Answer came there none. The Adjudicator noted that the local authority had been unhelpful. I think the independent adjudicators are starting to get a bit hacked off with Barnet Council.
There were 2 cases of parking tickets not having been properly served which happens quite a lot.
Friday 30th saw another 6 flings of the towel. There was just one case in which the parking ticket was upheld, for parking on the pavement. Defences to that offence are not easy to succeed with. Please stay off the pavement.
You can see what a complete mess NSL are in so it is well worth the trouble to appeal to PATAS. Keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance