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

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