Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Information was supplied by us at the eleventh hour to Glowzone Ltd and the local authority 'is consulting lawyers.'
The news will be reported tomorrow, but suffice to say Brighton and Hove Council have perhaps bitten off more than they can chew.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
While many are quite happy swilling litres of beer in Germany whilst watching the World Cup, the absurdity of the Metrication Regulations is that it is a crime to do so in this country...even in a German theme bar in the former Capital City of European Culture!
Our new Metric Martyrs website, currently undergoing revamping, is at www.metricmartyrs.co.uk
Please support this campaign.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Today’s Journal reported the scandal of the mismanagement of yet another of Sunderland City Council contracts.
Further to this report below, it is the Corporate Hospitality tent where the Councillors drown themselves in free beer...no wonder the bill is £30,000! Oh, and don't forget, while the Councillors slosh down the brown stuff the rest of the public are forced to watch the show in the Sea Front's Alcohol Free Zone.
No investigation. No punishment, just lame excuses again.
Many have claimed that this council couldn't run a p*** up in a brewery. I believe that this is the only thing they could run! The contract however, might be on a nod and a wink tho'
Going to be interesting, with only 5 weeks to go how contracts can be checked and approved.
Might end up with the Airshow Caterers serving nothing fancy ...just beer and plane crisps.
CONTRACTS AT AIR SHOW BROKE RULES
Council did not tender properly for lucrative deals
By Ross Smith, Regional Affairs Correspondent
Lucrative contracts for catering at the prestigious Sunderland International Airshow were handed out in breach of council rules, a civic centre chief admitted yesterday.
Sunderland Council paid nearly £30,000 to a local firm to cater for the event over the past two years. But chief executive, Ged Fitzgerald has admitted that the council broke its own rules by not getting four competitive quotes for either of the contracts.
In a letter to independent councillor Mike Tansey, who has probed the contracts, Mr Fitzgerald wrote:
“The hospitality catering for the 2004 and 2005 Airshows were not procured in accordance with the requirements of the council’s contract procedure rules, in so far as the reasons for not seeking other quotes were not formally and appropriately documented and certified.“In the circumstances, I have instructed the officers concerned to ensure this year’s contract is the subject of competitive quotations.”
The contracts, which were given to Boldon Farmhouse Pantry, were for corporate hospitality. There is no suggestion that the firm itself did anything wrong.
An advert for tenders for this year’s contract was placed this week, just over five weeks ahead of the event on July 29 and 30.
Coun Tansey said yesterday;
“The leader of the council is running round France and the USA this month trying to forge business links, when the council he runs has denied small catering businesses in Sunderland the opportunity of quoting for tenders that are pretty lucrative to small companies.“If he’s so concerned about business in Sunderland he should be looking after the interests of the small businesses who pay rates in the city. Charity begins at home.“It’s the role of the leader and cabinet to ensure they run the city in accordance with the constitution.”
Sunderland Council said last night the sums involved were small compared to the £12m the airshow brings into the local economy.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
The case involves one of the country's biggest enforcement agencies and some startling revelations are expected detailing illegal practices.
More will be revealed in time including the company involved and the location.
The last tribunal involved Arsenal Whittick in Bournemouth and he won a £20,000 pay out after being dismissed for refusing to issue tickets in an area where there were no Traffic Regulation Orders...ie. where the Council had no legal authority to issue.
Read the Tribunal Report here
Glowzone Ltd. is a gas and heating engineers employing 13 people with over 11,000 customers and has been plagued with oppressive parking enforcement by Brighton's draconian NCP enforcement contractors.
It now appears to be backfiring as the Council is thrust into the national spotlight after we assisted Director Mike Gurney and pointed out that the Charge Certificates were not lawfully worded meaning that the documents supplied to the court misrepresented the true legal position.
As local BBC and national ITV film today it is expected that a satisfactory resolution for Glowzone is not far away.
Sky News have been running the story all day and both Robin Decrittenden, myself and members of the London Motorists Action Group have been covered.
Local BBC and independent radio ran the parking story as lead news and just finished filming for ITV.
Robin Decrittenden is head to head with NCPs Tim Cowan at 7.30pm on Sky News.
I am on Nick Ferrarri's LBC Breakfast Show at 7 in the morning.
This Transport Committee is only the beginning and it is quite staggering that despite the massive flaws in DPE the recommendation is that it should be rolled out across the whole country!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Andrew Wright seemed a little shocked when he was given the information. Marilyn Waldron of TM1 in the DfT has been copied in with many others to the information about the 'Parking Court' in Northampton and the information provided to the District Judge.
She has been asked to pass the information up to the Minister and Dr. John Patterson, Clerk to the House of Commons Transport Committee has been asked to forward everything to the Committee Members.
Trouble for the Department for Transport is that they provided the specimen Notices that Chief Parking Adjudicator Caroline Sheppard has now deemed unlawful.
With so many factors in the equation and too many worms released from the can it will be difficult to cover this one up.
With so many people aggrieved after suffering at the hands of bailiffs it will be only a matter of time before thousands of actions are launched against the local authorities for compensation.
I stated on the Mike Dickin Show on TalkSPORT that this lawless Decriminalised Parking Enforcement scam would be abandoned within 12 months. As the more vultures begin to circle more whistleblowers are passing information to the campaign.
Contact us on email@example.com if you have any information on parking malpractice in any local authority or parking enforcement firm.
To read the notice sent to the Department for Transport click here
0191 565 7143
A call has just come in from a Parking Attendant in Sunderland...it looks like free parking on the streets this afternoon with only 4 PAs on the street and the rest off home to watch the match.
The PCN count is going to be non-existent in the City soon, and the NCP managers are already screaming at the PAs to get more tickets.
DPE not revenue driven...my arse!
This has nothing to do with the free flow of traffic and everything to do with raising revenue for NCP.
Rumour has it that NCP think that 'Citizen Smith' (NCPs radio code name for Herron) has a radio or a scanner and that is why he knows which Traffic Regulation Orders are not in place and parks in areas where PAs have questioned whether to issue or not.
Sorry to disappoint NCP but it is not as complicated as that. You have two problems:
- It is hot in our office and we have to have the windows open...and your new PAs have the radio turned up to full volume as they walk down the street from your base 50 yards away from our office...and we can hear everything. And yes I know that you have them using their mobiles to ring in and check but they have complained about the cost. I am sure the council will now check the call costs you now submit 'cos you have to ring them back on their mobiles with queries. I know it's unworkable and everyone's complaining and morale is low...but you came into this with eyes wide open.
- You have more than one whistleblower within the DPE operation in the city. How else would we know about the conflict between the two managers? How else would we know about the final written warnings for a Senior PA mocking people with disabilities on a training course?
We are aware of a ticket issued by a Senior PA to a woman taking her disabled child into a restaurant...at 5.45pm yesterday. A Blue Badge was clearly on display.
Could it be that this was the same PA who was disciplined for using his wife's Blue Badge to get free car parking in one of the City Centre car parks while he was at work?
Days are numbered for all these companies that have filled their boots for so long.
Days are numbered for all the local authorities that have abused members of the public for so long and treated them with total and utter contempt. Just remember that Misfeasance in Public Office is a serious offence and there is evidence pouring in. It is no longer the little guy against the system but a growing movement of severely 'disillusioned' honest, hard-working individuals who are becoming better funded and more informed.
Civil Servants must remember thast it is they who work for us and we are not there to provide tax fodder for their incompetence and grandiose social engineering.
Keep the stories coming 'cos we know that we still have some good guys still in the system who have morals and principles.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
NPAS and PATAS in disarray and facing allegations of breaching Article 6(1) of the Human Rights Act.
Local Councils blindly ignoring the mandatory legal requirements of the 1991 Road Traffic Act.
The Court facing allegations of issuing bailiffs warrants without examining ANY of the paperwork.
Over the past few months we have started investigating and exposing 'lawless' local authorities who have shown a blatant disregard for the law and shown total and utter contempt for the motorist.
Justice and fairness are alien terms to the operators of DPE which has simply become a licence to extort money from the unsuspecting disguised as parking enforcement.
Now, digging further it has also come to light that local authorities have been misleading the Court and the adjudication services, NPAS and PATAS have exhibited an incredible degree of incompetence and ineptitude.
It was our first intention to prove DPE unconstitutional in order to create a conflict between DPE and the Metric Martyrs Judgment, but examination of the technical aspects of DPE has produced evidence of maladministration, misfeasance and fraud.
The penny is starting to drop for the press and the media that DPE is nothing but a lawless scam and the power mad local authority officials, the 'men with badges' have lost control of all sense of fairness.
The case in Brighton typifies the arrogance of the officials. A local business with 13 employees and 11,000 customers is having to defend against a High Court action by the council to force it into bankruptcy over £3000 of disputed parking fines.
Hopefully the cavalry has arrived as we have exposed the fact that the Council has issued incorrectly worded Charge Certificates which have therefore been deemed in a recent adjudication decision as to 'not exist at all.' Therefore there can be no High Court action because there is nothing owed.
Let us hope that the exposure of Brighton will serve as a lesson to the rest of the mad officials...be wary when you take on the people 'cos the little guy might just have a few more well-informed supporters than you bargained for.
The following e-mail was sent:
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 2:15 PM
Subject: Urgent: For the Attention of District Judge Murdoch, Northampton County Court
To Mark Ayres
Civil Listing Officer
Northampton County Court
85 - 87 Lady's Lane
Dear Mr. Ayres,
Further to our telephone conversation this morning please find attached the letter to District Judge Murdoch.
I would be grateful if you could please confirm receipt of this e-mail.
The People's No Campaign
12 Frederick Street
Tel. 0191 565 7143
Mob. 07776 202045
cc. Katie Collins, Helpdesk Manager, Northampton County Court Bulk Centre TEC
A copy of the letter can be read here
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Brighton and Hove Council have a steady stream of potential 'customers' visiting the south coast tourist resort and the NCP vultures can most certainly fill their boots to the tune of £5m - £10m a year.
However, many local residents and businesses are wanting to run NCP out of town as the report in the local newspaper reports
Motorists Want a New Direction on Parking
Argus 27th Feb 2006
But more recently the whole business of parking enforcement has escalated to a new level with Brighton and Hove Council attempting to force the winding up of a successful local business, Glowzone Ltd. over £3,000 worth of outstanding parking fines.
The Council has issued a High Court winding up order which could have the effect of closing the business and putting its 13 staff out of work.
The story made front page last Saturday
'All parking fines invalid'
Argus 10th June 2006
A call to our office from a campaign supporter put us in contact with Glowzone Ltd.
Their solicitor was ready to use the Section 66(3) of the 1991 Road Traffic Act defence in the High Court with regard to Brighton's PCNs...as Brighton, as in Sunderland, Westminster, Camden and many other local authorities, amongst other flaws, had no 'date of notice' on their PCNs (as had been uncovered in MacArthur v Bury, Moses v Barnet and Aldridge v Westminster).
I requested a copy of a Brighton Charge Certificate and one was faxed through to our office by Mike Gurney Glowzone's MD.
What we were able to reveal to Mike was that the Charge Certificate was not correctly worded. We were able to refer to and provide a copy of Lukha v Aylesbury Vale decision of 9th May 2006.
NPAS Chief Adjudicator Caroline Sheppard confirmed today that the Lukha decision had not been released as a NPAS Circular nor had any local authority been passed the information. Indeed, we only became aware after Wayne Pendle's decision in the case of Westover v High Wycombe made reference to Lukha and I submitted a Freedom of Information request to NPAS as it would be used as the ultimate defence in the pending Sunderland appeals.
Brighton and Hove's Charge Certificate states
"Failure to pay the full balance outstanding above within 14 days of the date of this Notice will result in the council registering the outstanding balance as a debt at the County Court. A warrant will then be issued to bailiffs to recover payment. "
However, the legislation (paragraph 7 Schedule 6 1991 Road Traffic Act) states
Enforcement of charge certificate
7. Where a charge certificate has been served on any person and the increased penalty charge provided for in the certificate is not paid before the end of the period of 14 days beginning with the date on which the certificate is served, the authority concerned may, if a county court so orders, recover the increased charge as if it were payable under a county court order.
Therefore, the Charge Certificate does not comply with paragraph 7.
This was confirmed by the National Parking Adjudication Service Chief Adjudicator Caroline Sheppard in Lukha.
She goes on to state that Mrs Lukha is under no obligation to pay a Penalty Charge demanded on a non-compliant notice.
Now a number of problems follow on from this and a number of questions arise. I will deal with them in no specific order, but each will be interconnected:
1. It is apparent from this ruling that Mike Gurney and Glowzone Ltd. are under no obligation to pay any of the outstanding PCNs therefore, the problem for Brighton Council is that they must now admit this to be the case OR face a very costly defeat at the High Court and then face an action for harassment, intimidation, loss of business, defamation and any loss of reputation etc.
2. Problem for Brighton Council is if they are forced to back down they will be forced to admit that ALL their Charge Certificates (and possibly Notices of Rejection as we haven't yet had sight) are not correctly worded and therefore will be deemed not to have been served...in EVERY instance... a dilemma which will not only be costly but could result in investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman for maladministration or more seriously for the criminal offence of Misfeasance of Public Office.
3. Problem for enforcement contractor NCP and their shareholders is the fact that they have a corporate responsibility to take account of advice and legal instructions from the DPE authorities. With regard to the 'Date of Issue' problem following MacArthur v Bury they were instructed by Sunderland City Council Solicitor on 16th June 2005 to change the PCNs 'without delay.' They were instructed to change Langdale's electronic version (software firm). This they finally did in Sunderland on 30th November some 5 months later. However, it was another four months before they changed Westminster's and we are awaiting for confirmation for their other contracts.
4. Questions must now be raised regarding the competence of NPAS who has deliberated and adjudicated on tens of thousands of cases for over 5 years and yet it was not until 9th May 2006 that they spotted the flaw in most local authorities Notice of Rejection and Charge Certificate and potential flaws in the Notice to Owner.
5. Have Brighton Council unwittingly committed perjury by issuing a 'statement of fact' to Northampton County Court with regard to notices which are non-compliant? It looks like all the other DPE authorities are in the same position and the Association of London Government Transport and Environment Committee's Notices of Rejection and Charge Certificates are similarly incorrectly worded.
6. How will the Department for Transport fare when it is investigated because Local Authority Circular 1/95 Guidance on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement gives a specimen Notice of Rejection which is wrongly worded (Annex 14.4 p. 126) and a specimen Charge Certificate which is also wrongly worded (Annex 16.1 p. 130).
However, the local authorities cannot be heard to complain as all have supposedly competent legal departments and all should have checked the legislation and not simply relied on the 'guidance' issued by the Department for Transport...and it should not be down to a former market trader to advise them, and the court of the law!!!
7. As for the Northampton County Court Traffic Enforcement Centre blindly rubber-stamping paperwork from Local Authorities (1.7m registrations during 2004-5) without anyone ever checking whether the Statement of Facts or paperwork complied with statutory requirements. To fail to check the compliance with Section 66(3) regarding the wording of a PCN is bad enough but to fail to check that a Charge Certificate was correctly worded is unforgiveable especially in light of the subsequent implications for anyone on the receiving end of a warrant of execution and bailiff action. It appears that there has been a gross dereliction of duty by Northampton County Court TEC and there must be an immediate suspension of all its activities.
Traffic Enforcement Centre Northampton Codes of Practice (June 2006) requires:
5.4 Rules of court require certain details to be certified for each registration. As it is considered impracticable to require individual certificates to be filed, a 'global' certificate, covering all items in a batch of requests, certifying:
- that 14 days have elapsed since service of the charge certificate(s) by the local authority
As Chief Adjudicator, Caroline Sheppard stated in Lukha "there is no obligation to pay a non-compliant notice..." yet the Traffic Enforcement Centre has failed to check IN EVERY INSTANCE whether the Charge Certificate is compliant with paragraph 7 of Schedule 6 of the 1991 Road Traffic Act and therefore failed to perform any checks as to whether it has been served.
This 'Global Certificate' (5.19) verifies the validity of the data submitted.
Charge Certificate: A document served on a respondent by the LOcal Authority after a Penalty Charge Notice and a Notice To Owner have been issued and no response received. It informs a respondent of the consequences of not paying a penalty charge notice. If ignored, the charge certificate may be registered at the TEC 15 days after the date of service of the charge certificate.
Annex 2 Registration Details
The following details for the registration of an unpaid penalty charge shall be given to the TEC:
- Date Charge Certificate served (this means that if the Charge Certificate is non-compliant then it has not been served and therefore the global certificate verifying the validity of the data is also incorrect aand the TEC should not be in a position to complete the rest of the process).
Annex 3 Global Certificate for Batch of Registrations Request to Register a Batch of Penalty Charge Notices
I certify that
- 14 days have elapsed since the service of the charge certificates listed in the batch ( therefore, if the Charge Certificate states " failure to pay the full balance outstanding within 14 days of this Notice will result in the Council registering the outstanding balance as a debt in the County Court" it means that the statement issued to the Court is a false one and misrepresents the situation. It is expected that most local authorities have made this fundamental error and the TEC has failed to spot the error...which must amount to a gross dereliction of duty and an absoloute failure of process. For the many hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered at the hands of bailiffs as the result of the draconian enforcement of DPE across the country and who have been deemed to have committed parking contraventions this evidence will be absolutely staggering ... that the local authorities had no right to do what they did as they failed to observe due process).
This is only a first draft analysis of the problems about to face Decriminalised Parking...and has massive ramifications for every local authority operating DPE, Transport for London, PATAS, NPAS, Northampton County Court Traffic Enforcement Centre and all the certificated bailiffs in the process, the Department for Transport, and at the top of the tree...the Secretary of State who must now issue a statement along with the Lord Chancellor.
If you are intending to use any of the information that we provide free of charge please bear in mind the fact that we are reliant on public support to keep us going.
As the Chief Adjudicator Caroline Sheppard states "...since it (the Notice of Rejection) does not comply with paragraph 4 (of Section 6 of the 1991 Road Traffic Act) then it does not constitute a Notice of Rejection at all."
Therefore, if it is not a Notice of Rejection then everything subsequent cannot stand as due process has not been followed.
How many bailiffs actions have followed on from Warrants of Execution spewing forth from Northampton County Court?
How many hundreds of thousands of people have had goods seized or been forced to pay following visits from bailiffs?
How many local authorities have confirmed to the Northampton County Court that all their paperwork is correct and has been served correct?
This lawless decriminalised parking enforcement scam must be halted before more innocent victims are harassed and intimidated by agents of local authorites who have clearly exhibited a total disregard for the law.
Monday, June 12, 2006
It can also assist anyone with an NPAS or PATAS appeal pending or even if you are at the bailiffs stage.
The recent Lukha v Aylesbury Vale decision stated that the Notice of Rejection must contain the words ' 28 days from the date of service of this notice' and simply stating '28 days from the date of this notice' is not acceptable.
We are busy preparing a pro-forma letters to be used in such instances, and it appears that most of the local authorities have dropped this clanger.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
It appears that most local authorities have followed the Department for Transport 'Notice of Rejection' which appears to be wrong.
There is a difference between the 'date of notice' and the 'date of service of the notice,' and the legislation refers to the latter but most local authorities mistakenly use the former.
If you have an appeal pending to NPAS or PATAS then check the Notice of Rejection contained in your evidence.
Any doubts, give us a call on 0191 565 7143
Saturday, June 10, 2006
They refer to the Lukha v Aylesbury Vale case of 9th May (will be posted shortly).
Trouble is, that when I spoke to NPAS Appeals Co-Ordinator Kerry Colbourne on Friday, she confirmed that this had not been released as an NPAS Circular.
How then, did Sunderland Council know that I had the information and would be using it as a defence in all the appeals?
We had become aware as Wayne Pendle's victory (Westover v High Wycombe) had had a reference to Lukha v Aylesbury and given the incorrectly worded PCN as the reason (even though Wayne had never even appealed on that point) as to why his appeal had been upheld.
I requested a copy of the Lukha decision.
Could it be that Sunderland City Council were 'tipped-off' by NPAS?
Seems like desperate times require desperate measures...but the trouble is, that nearly every other local authority has also made the same mistake.
If you have, or know of anyone who has an appeal pending then e-mail us at email@example.com
Friday, June 09, 2006
My cases to NPAS were listed for 30th June for a 'pre-tribunal review.' A full day in Sunderland had been set aside on 7th July to hear my submissions which would expose the illegality of Sunderland's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Regime once and for all.
NPAS' Chief Adjudicator, Caroline Sheppard and Tribunal Manager, Andrew Barfoot were to be called as witnesses to explain the incompetence of their organisation along with the claim that I was 'mad,mad, mad,' (Barfoot's words regarding our constitutional case against DPE...see previous post's about 'That Phone Call.')
Sunderland Council's Solicitor and other officials were to be called to give evidence regarding the cock-ups and cover-ups.
However, a complaint went in to the Council that they hadn't served the papers correctly (they forgot to put a stamp on it! ... but we also had evidence that the wording on the Notice of Rejection in mine (and every other pending appeal) did not conform to the legal requirements of paragraph 4 of Section 6 of the 1991 Road Traffic Act. Therefore, the NoR was not served correctly, and would in fact not constitute a NoR at all.
NPAS confirmed today that all my cases had been dropped.
The Council confirmed that all other cases which we had been preparing have also been dropped. A letter is in the post.
Trouble for the Council is that if these legal 'Notices of Rejection' do not exist (ie. non-compliant) then they cannot have been deemed to have been served at all. Therefore, everyone misled into paying must be refunded.
Problem for NPAS is that their Chief Adjudicator, Ms. Caroline Sheppard has failed to train the Adjudicators correctly. None of them have discovered this in any of the evidence previously supplied by Sunderland. They had already failed to pick up the Date of Issue point until it was brought to their attention by Roger MacArthur.
She herself only appeared to pick up on the point in a recent case heard on 9th May and made reference to this in the Westover v High Wycombe case (Wayne Pendle's).
We will be calling for Ms Sheppard's resignation and the NPAS operation to be suspended, which will have the effect of suspending all DPE enforcement across the country.
The trouble for the Northampton County Court Bulk Enforcement Centre is that they have been 'rubber-stamping' bailiff's warrants of execution...all based on documentation that is not legal.
The enormity of the collapse of DPE has not yet sunk in for the local authorities and agencies concerned.
The guns are now rapidly turning on this lawless DPE scam... it is only a matter of time before the whole thing collapses.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Read the press release:
"Blackpool Council's Parking Tickets are illegal claims campaign group"
...£millions must be refunded to motorists.
Blackpool Council is put on notice to suspend Decriminalised Parking Enforcement immediately.
Read the notice served on the Council here
It is intended that we recover all the monies paid illegally to motorists in Blackpool. If you have had, or know anyone who has had a Penalty Charge Notice in Blackpool between September 2003 and the current date, then e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
However, there is an even more serious and glaring error on their PCN and one which will have very serious consequences for them.
Their tickets misrepresent their legal status giving the impression that the driver has committed a criminal rather than a civil act.
As you can appreciate, this a very serious misrepresentation and could well fall foul of the 1968 Theft Act and the 1996 Theft (Amendment) Act as a great deal of money, running into millions, has been demanded from, and paid by, motorists who have been misled into believing that they have committed a more serious misdemeanour.
The Blackpool Gazette has all the information and we have embargoed it from general release until tomorrow.
A copy of the letter putting Blackpool on notice that they must suspend enforcement will be posted later today along with a copy of the Freedom of Information request which will detail the magnitude of the 'misrepresentation.'
All will be revealed in the press release exactly what the major error is.
The next big question is, "Why didn't any of the National Parking Adjudication Service adjudicators pick up on this most fundamental flaw in the primary piece of evidence?"
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
'Scrap fines for criminals who cannot afford to pay'
SCOTTISH POLITICAL EDITOR
The Scotsman Tue 6th June/06
CRIMINALS on low wages or benefits will escape court fines, under plans drawn up by legal experts.
The Scottish Sentencing Commission published its recommendations for an overhaul of the fines system yesterday. It called for the scrapping of fines for offenders with low disposable incomes, replacing them with supervision orders or community service.
Anybody who defaulted on a fine of up to £5,000 would no longer be jailed, but would also be kept under supervision or made to do community service.
This drew a blunt rejection from the Tories. They warned that some offenders were making a "mockery" of the current system by refusing to pay their fines and that if a court decided a fine was an appropriate sentence, it should be collected from wages or benefits.
Ministers will study the report before announcing whether or not to adopt the proposals.
About 85,000 fines are handed down by the courts in Scotland every year, accounting for almost two-thirds of all punishments. But about 6,000 Scots - 7 per cent of those fined - are imprisoned every year for non-payment.
Unease in political and legal circles over the issue led to the commission's investigation.
Lord Macfadyen, the SSC's chairman, said the commission had decided against a move to the continental "unit" fine system, where fines vary according to an offender's income.
He said this was impractical under the Scottish legal system, as information about an offender's income cannot be made available until after sentencing. This meant earnings-related fines would require external reports and cases to be returned to court, which would not be cost-effective for small fines.
But he went on to support the idea of dropping fines for those with low disposable incomes - even though he had insisted there was no reliable way of determining such income.
Lord Macfadyen refused to set any guidelines for "low disposable income", preferring to leave that to the courts' discretion.
But he said: "Imposing a financial penalty in such cases is, in our view, simply setting up the offender to fail."
Oliver Adair, the convener of the criminal law committee of the Law Society, said the proposal seemed a "sensible option" and it would "update the system for today's society".
Mr Adair, a solicitor, said:
"A large percentage of the prison population are there because they have defaulted on their fines, when there is no way they could have paid them in the first place. This provides an alternative punishment."
Annabel Goldie, the Scottish Tory leader, agreed that efforts should be made to prevent criminals from going to prison simply because of unpaid fines, but argued that the fines should be paid in full - straight from the offender's wages or benefits.
She said: "
If supervised attendance orders are the right sanction for a crime then they should be given by the court, at the time, instead of a fine. But if a fine is the correct penalty for a particular crime and criminal, then it should be collected."
And Miss Goldie added: "In recent months we have seen people make a mockery of the system, notably Scottish Socialist MSPs, so it is clear that some action needs to be taken."
The Scottish Executive will not follow England's lead and cut housing benefits for nuisance neighbours. Pilot schemes for the penalty plan will be confined to England, and Executive sources said ministers would wait to see how they performed before making a decision on implementing new rules.
Sunderland Council grants planning permission to build a new hospital but doesn't insist on adequate parking.
Hospital introduces parking charges and oppressive enforcement on site.
Result...doctors, nurses and ancillary staff arrive at work and park in the adjacent streets. Joe public on low income search for spaces in the clogged streets as they are reluctant to pay parking charges.
Residents fury at blocked streets.
Council creates residents parking scheme.
On-street enforcement increases...revenue to Council increases.
Residents pay for permits...revenue to Council increases.
Parking problem shifts to adjacent Council ward without residents scheme.
Common Sense approach...
insist with planning application that adequate car parking is provided, both underground and multi-storey...free permits issued to staff.
provide public parking with first two hours free.
Problem ... no extra revenue for the Council.
Parking restrictions on the way
Sunderland Echo -
Campaigner Neil Herron, who lives in the Barnes ward, said that by introducing parking charges and enforcement the hospital had encouraged people to park off ...read the rest here
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
3rd June 2006
by Ross Smith
Let's gas about weather
IT has long been a national obsession for the British to talk about the weather.
And in the North-East it seems there is usually a lot of weather to talk about. Now an expert is being hired to do exactly that, in an effort to stop the region contributing to climate change.
The North-East Assembly is advertising for a climate-change co-ordinator, who would be paid up to £35,000 a year to monitor what is happening to the region's weather. The co-ordinator will also be working with councils and businesses to persuade them to implement environmentally-friendly measures.
He or she will also talk to developers to make sure they pay attention togreen issues.
Assembly chief executive Jo Boaden said: "Things are getting worse. We are getting to the stage where we really do need to look after our environment. "We know if we do not do something soon, it may be too late. We need to reduce greenhouse gases and take positive steps to help the environment. We hope this new position is a positive step and a sign of us leading the way in changing our attitude to a number of environmental issues."
The assembly is charged by government with looking after the long-term development of the North-East.
South Tyneside Friends of the Earth spokesman Bryan Atkinson said: "If the regional assembly is starting to take climate change seriously, then I welcome it. "We are the last generation who can do something about climate change. I hope at last this may be a step towards doing something positive."
But anti-assembly campaigner Neil Herron said the appointment was a waste of money. He said: "The North-East assembly is an unelected, unwanted, pointless, toothless, drain on tax payers' money."Now it seems it wants to pay someone £35,000 a year to measure the amount of hot air it generates."How on earth is having a weather watcher going to bring much-needed jobs and investment to the North-East? If he decides it is going to be sunny, will that encourage people to set up companies manufacturing sunglasses? I doubt it."
Breaking news coming in involves another NPAS Sunderland appellant.
His written submission to the National Parking Adjudication Service contained evidence that the City of Sunderland (South Sunderland) (Waiting, Loading and Parking) (Consolidation) Order 2003 was not in force and therefore any PCNs issued in the area contained within the order was not lawful.
Written evidence submissions had to be in by 29th May as this was a postal appeal.
Substantial evidence was submitted with regard to missing signs, lines and Traffic Regulation Orders contained in the Consolidated Order...which meant that although the order had been made it could not come into force as all the lines, signs and TROs were not correct.
Sunderland City Council, it appears, supplied no evidence...
Yet they still continue to issue in the area bounded by the order. Some would call this obtaining money by deception. We prefer to refer to the offence of Misfeasance of Public Office.
However, the problem for the Council gets worse...if the Order falls then so does the permission granted by the Secretary of State to operate the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement regime.
Monday, June 05, 2006
East Anglian Daily Times - Suffolk,England,
A DECISION to impose car parking charges in a Suffolk town has been defended after it was claimed motorists were clogging up residential streets to avoid the ...See all stories on this topic
War over parking charges
Warwick Courier - Warwick,England,
Shopkeepers have clashed with Warwickshire County Council officers over plans to increase traffic wardens and raise parking charges in the town centre. ...See all stories on this topic
120 parking ticket proposed
Channel 4 News - London
The two-tier system will be outlined next week by the Association of London Government; fines for offences such as parking in a residents' bay without a permit ...See all stories on this topic
Parking fine costs man an arm and a leg
Hampstead and Highgate Express - London,
THE motorist who was given a parking ticket when he pulled over to replace his false limb has decided to flog off his leg to help pay the fine. ...See all stories on this topic
town of the traffic Taliban
Last year that figure rose sixfold to 28,500, with NCP parking attendants handing out an average of just under 80 of the £60 parking fines every day. ...
Amazing to watch Bournemouth's u-turn.
Independent Cllr Ron has been given background information by the campaign.
Bournemouth Daily Echo
By Daily Echo reporter
BOURNEMOUTH'S council chief has pledged to identify and refund motorists that paid invalid parking fines over the last few years.
The revelations that Bournemouth council had enforced incorrect parking fines had been labelled a "non-story".
But chief executive Pam Donnellan has now assured councillors that the situation is being sorted.
In an e-mail to Cllr Ron Whittaker, she confirmed the borough's 4,000 Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) were being thoroughly checked.
"We will, of course, seek to refund any fines which were not duly authorised," she said.
Last week the council said it "strongly disagreed" with the employment tribunal's ruling that former parking attendant Arsenal Whittick had been bullied and unfairly dismissed after he refused to hand out invalid tickets.
But in a bulletin sent to all members, Mrs Donnellan said: "We have learnt from this ruling and changed the way we will deal with any similar situations in future."
And she added: "It is important to emphasise that the vast proportion of tickets issued are valid.
"We should not allow the tiny number of errors to be used successfully by those people wanting to undermine the integrity of this important public service, the aim of which is to promote safety and free flow of traffic.
"However, the perception that the council has acted unlawfully is damaging to our reputation and we need to take steps to re-establish our credibility.
"Drivers can be confident that if there is a yellow line marked on the road, then the intention is that a parking restriction shall apply."
She said that checks had already identified a handful of discrepancies, which would be corrected.
And she stressed that any notion of the council issuing tickets inappropriately to raise funds and ignoring the rulings of the tribunal was completely wrong.
But Independent Cllr Ron Whittaker said he still wants to see a definitive list of roads that were not covered by TROs but enforced by parking attendants and details of the action taken to correct these anomalies.
He is also demanding to know why it took so long to correct these errors when the tribunal heard parking attendants were fully aware of stretches of road not covered by TROs.
"I really do find that this whole unpleasant matter has been extremely badly handled right from the start," he said.
"It seems that we, as a council, were fully aware of those roads where there was not valid TRO and continued to do nothing about it."
9:43am Friday 2nd June 2006
Below is the letter sent to the Head of Parking Services, Mr. Gerry Bolland:
Parking Services Manager
Bournemouth Borough CouncilTown Hall, Bourne AvenueBournemouth.
26th May 2006
Dear Mr. Bolland,
Freedom of Information Request
I would be grateful for the following:
1. The number and value of PCNs issued by Bournemouth Council which did not bear a date of issue in the main body of the PCN and the number that were appealed to NPAS?
2. The number and value of PCNs issued in areas where there is no valid Traffic Regulation Order in place?
3. Details of any internal communications (written, verbal and e-mail) regarding the issuing of PCNs in locations which do not have a valid TRO.
4. The number of PCNs appealed to NPAS where a TRO was not supplied by the Council.
5. A copy of Bournemouth's DPE application to the Department for Transport.
I would be grateful if you could also provide details of Bournemouth Council's Treasurer and District Auditor.
I am sure that there will be more matters arising, and as we are being contacted by members of the public regarding Bournemouth PCNs I am sure that you will deal with my request within the necessary timeframe.
The People's No Campaign
12 Frederick Street
Climate change is perhaps being initiated by the amount of hot air being produced in bodies such as the North East Assembly which has a direct effect on the North East micro-climate creating instability in weather patterns.
The increase in sunshine hours recorded may be due to the fact that certain North East Assembly members think that the sun also shines out of their own arses and this has a double effect by being reflected by the pallid skins of those assembly members who dare not show their faces in daylight after the drubbing they got in the 2004 referendum.
The job described below shows that these people have no shame and continue their with their arrogant agenda whilst holding the overtaxed public in total and utter contempt.
I am sure that 'information gathering' exercises will be required to Greenland's melting glaciers, the volcanic regions of South East Asia. Studies of orogenesis in South America and the effects of denudation in China will also be required...all requiring 'indirectly attended members' to accompany the Climate Control Co-Ordinator in order to gain first hand experience.
North East Climate Change Co-ordinator
Organisation: NORTH EAST ASSEMBLY
Location: Tyne & Wear
Salary: £30,000 - £35,000
Date posted: 30 May 2006
Closing date: 16 Jun 2006
NORTH EAST ASSEMBLY
THE VOICE FOR THE REGION
Salary: £30,000 - £35,000
One year fixed term appointment or secondment with the possibility of extension.
The North East Assembly is seeking to appoint a Regional Climate Change Co-ordinator to drive forward regional awareness, commitment and action on climate change issues.
The post will be jointly funded by the Environment Agency, the North East Assembly and the Government Office.
This is an exceptional opportunity to contribute to and influence the developing climate change agenda.
The main role will be:-
- To co-ordinate action to address climate change issues in the North East, including the production of a Climate Change Action Plan
- To promote climate change awareness and embed climate change issues in strategies and programmes at the regional, sub-regional and local level
- To develop an information base about climate change activity in the North East and to communicate this within the region and the UK
To be successful you must have excellent communication and representational skills. It is also important to have a good knowledge and understanding of climate change issues and their relevance to public and private sector strategies and programmes. You should be educated to degree level in a relevant discipline, and/or have other significant experience of working on strategies to address climate change.
Interview date: 6.7.06
Our aim is to be an equal opportunities employer. We welcome all applications, regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, age, or religion or belief.
All applications will be considered solely on merit.
June 4th 2006
Ken Livingstone is an expert wriggler but how will he wriggle out of this one?
The 1689 Bill of Rights, a trumpet-blast of English liberty that Ken should really support, seems to say that he has no power to impose penalties on those who defy his congestion charge.
Van driver Richard Webb has successfully used the ancient - but still valid - statute to avoid paying. And, whether his cause is just or not, this is an important argument.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Perhaps the reasons for Parking Services Gerry Bolland's off-handedness was the fact that he was facing allegations of bulling a Parking Attendant who had refused to issue PCNs in an area where there were no Traffic Regulation Orders, and therefore parking restrictions could not be legally enforced.
He was told to issue or look for another job.
The PA won his case for unfair dismissal and was awarded £20,000 compensation.
However, the Council is refusing to refund any money it took illegally from the motorists at the locations with no TROs.
You can read the full article here
But the arrogance of the Leader of the Council is quite staggering. The Bournemouth Echo reports:
"Cllr Richard Smith, leader of the council, said the matter had already been reviewed.
"The council could spend all day every day having inquiry after inquiry looking into this and into that," he said.
"We have the 15th fastest growing economy in the UK, that is what's important. The town is moving forward.
"But all that seems to happen is that everyone's interested in looking into the past.
"As it turns out, there's a technicality with one or two of the TROs but we issue hundreds of the things. It's human error.
"Yes an error has happened, the council has rectified the error, let's move on."
Sorry Councillor. It is not a technicality. It is the law...and your Council has taken money it was not legally entitled to, and so all motorists must be traced and their monies must be refunded.
However, on a more serious note, Council Officer Gerry Bolland KNEW there were no TROs in place yet still insisted that PCNs be issued.
Misfeasance in public office is essentially a claim that a public official has intentionally abused his powers with the aim of damaging others.
Motorists were fined illegally, and the public official knew that was the case.
Once we know the amount of money involved we will then decide on the next course of action.
Meanwhile, the opposition councillors on Bournemouth Council have been given the background information.
One-man war on parking fines
By Caroline Innes
A FINE-BUSTER who has won legal battles across the country today claimed thousands of motorists across Lancashire had been illegally issued with parking tickets.
Neil Herron, who has waged a one-man war against decriminalised parking enforcement, said the tickets were not lawfully worded documents and could be successfully challenged if they hadn't been paid.
Read the rest of the report here
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