These local authorities are droppping like flies...Tendring District Council is the latest.
My letter to them went on 13th September 2006 and a reply is still outstanding. Copy in blue at the bottom.
Dear Councillor Sambridge,
Thank you for your recent e mail concerning the above.
Following the recent Barnet ruling, Tendring District Council immediately sought clarification on the implications of this and how to best proceed with regard to outstanding Penalty Charge Notices that may be deemed "non-compliant", from the Highway Authority Essex County Council. As you are aware, Tendring District Council only acts as an agent for the Highway Authority in these matters.
Unfortunately, it has taken some time for Essex County Council Legal Services to provide the advice. However, this has been received as of today and therefore I have copied it in to this e mail (see below) for your information.
As a consequence ,we will no longer be pursuing any PCN's issued prior to the 16 August 2006 unless there are further rulings with regard to this matter which alter the present position.
Assistant Head of Technical and Procurement Services - Parking Services
Tel: 01255 686982
The Barnet case cropped up in discussion here over the last couple of days which has resulted in a firm decision from our Legal Services that I should pass an instruction to you all immediately.
Any outstanding PCNs that do not conform according to the Barnet ruling must not be pursued.
I know from discussions at EWG most, if not all, of you have already taken that decision but they feel it prudent that we, ECC, should take a stance.
In addition I have to ask each of you to forward to me a specimen PCN that you are currently using in order that approval can be given as to its legality. I apologise if this sounds a little strong but, although they didn't actually say so, the indication is that ECC, as the Highway Authority with DPE powers, should have approved or provided guidance on all legal documents arising from the DPE process. Considering the time we and they all spent discussing the Agency Agreement I did pass comment that they have left it a long time to make the suggestion.
From: xxxxx xxxxxx Sent: 31 October 2006 10:43
To: xxx xxxxxx
Subject: FW: parking
Would you be able to respond to this directly please?
Tendring District Council
Tel. 01255 686969
Fax 01255 686422
Minicom 01255 422470
From: Parking Services Sent: 31 October 2006 10:00To: xxxxx xxxxxx Subject: FW: parking
From: Charles Sambridge [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tue 31/10/2006 06:41
To: Parking Services
Cc: Cllr.xxxxx xxxxx
I have today been contacted by motorist concerning a visit by the company Collect Services on behalf of TDC in order to collect an alledged PCN. The PCN issued was declared a nullity and as such non-compliant PCNs cannot legally be pursued regardless of the stage they are at in any enforcement proceedings, I also ask you to inform me of how many other charges you are pursuing from PCNs that were invalid at the time of issue
Any attempt to knowingly pursue monies from a PCN accepted as invalid / declared invalid could lead to allegations of maladministration at best and misfeasance at worst. Should you not take notice of this lest you leave the council open to these charges
Here is an extract from the Moses High Court Judgment:
The High Court has ruled that without a valid notice no action can be taken.
The decision in Moses v Barnet 2nd August 2006 Justice Jackson states that:
The 1991 Act creates a scheme for the civil enforcement of parking control. Under the scheme, motorists become liable to pay financial penalties when certain specified statutory conditions are met. If the statutory conditions are not met then the financial liability does not arise.”
“In the present case, the PCN issued by TDC did not comply with section 66 of the 1991 Act. Accordingly, the requirements of section 66 were not satisfied and no financial liability was triggered either by the PCN or by any subsequent stage in the process such as the Notice to Owner.”
Head of Service
Tendring District Council
PO Box 8259
13th October 2006
Dear Mr. xxxxxx,
I have forwarded a Tendring District Council Penalty Charge Notice and it appears to have been confirmed following a telephone conversation with xxxx xxxx at 10.10am today that there is no date of issue on the Tendring District Council PCN.
I wish to put you on notice that as Tendring District Council's PCNs do not have a 'Date of Notice' (or Date of Issue) in the main body of the PCN as well as the date and time of contravention then it is the case that the Penalty Charge Notices do not comply with the requirements of Section 66(3) of the 1991 Road Traffic Act and I request that you suspend your Decriminalised Parking Enforcement operation immediately until you have corrected this fundamental error.
It is a requirement of the Act for two dates (notice and contravention).
In the recent case heard before Justice Jackson on 1st August 2006 (Moses v Barnet) the Judge mentioned in his judgment that the requirement of the two dates had been mentioned by adjudicators on more than one occasion. He emphasised that the statutory requirement of the form of the PCN were simple and clear - compliance was not difficult and a specimen had been available for more than 10 years. Enforcing authorities therefore had no excuse for non-compliance.
He deemed non-compliant PCNs a nullity.
I would be grateful for answers to the following (please treat as a Freedom of Information Request wherever necessary):
1. Can you please confirm as a matter of urgency that Tendring District Council's PCNs are non-compliant and that you will suspend enforcement of its DPE regime forthwith until your PCNs have been made compliant?
2. Can you confirm that Tendring District Council will not pursue ANY outstanding PCNs (and Notice to Owners, Notices of Rejection, Charge Certificates and Warrants) which are incorrectly worded and will withdraw any bailiff's actions?
3.Please confirm the date Tendring District Council received the National Parking Adjudication Service Circular MacArthur v Bury (BC 188) regarding the wording of PCNs and please explain why the PCNs were not altered then and the contents of the circular not acted upon?
4. What does Tendring District Council intend to do with regard to non-compliant PCNs issued which have already been paid?
5. Can you please advise as to the number and value of PCNs which have been issued since the inception of DPE which do not bear the two dates described above?
6. Can you please advise as to the number of Tendring District Council PCNs that have gone before the National Parking Adjudication Service?
7.Do you intend to challenge the competence of the National Parking Adjudication Service who have similarly failed to identify the flaws in the Tendring District Council PCNs, the most fundamental piece of evidence in the whole process, despite, in the words of Justice Jackson, 'a specimen being available for more than 10 years'?
8.Can you detail the amount of money paid to the National Parking Adjudication Service by Tendring District Council since the inception of DPE?
9. Can you please indicate the council officer / officers responsible for signing the Global Certificates or 'statements of truth' that accompany the documentation passed to Northampton County Court Traffic Enforcement Centre?
I appreciate the enormity of the task of suspending DPE but as non-compliant PCNs have been declared a nullity by the High Court any attempt to continue to enforce using such unlawful documents is a very serious matter indeed and may lead to formal complaints of Misfeasance / Misconduct in Public Office being made to the Police and complaints of maladministration to the Local Government Ombudsman.
I trust I will receive a reply by return to the main points raised as the matter is most certainly in the public interest, and will expect this matter to require further detailed internal and external investigation
Please confirm receipt of this e-mail and confirm that a copy will be forwarded to elected members and the Chief Executive and can you please furnish me with the contact details for the District Auditor responsible for the Tendring District Council accounts.
12 Frederick Street
Tel. 0191 565 7143
Mob. 07776 202045