Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This is what passes for parking enforcement in the biggest city between Leeds and Edinburgh.
The people of Sunderland were disgusted at the negative portrayal of THEIR city in the BBC documentary which exposed fraud, bribery, corruption and incompetence.
As the High Court case approaches and the investigations by various agencies continue the penny may well start to drop that paranoid collective myopia is only a delusional, short-term, short-sighted solution.
Question to the elected members who bear FULL responsibility has to be ...'What price will YOU be prepared to pay?'
Check it out here as to what happens when elected members get it badly wrong. Remember that ALL the councillors in Sunderland cannot claim that they didn't know while collecting their allowances.
Who was the Council Officer who lied to the press to cover up the failings of Sunderland City Council?
Despite being fully informed of the illegal actions of their council officers over the past 10 years they have failed to act. Every one of the acts and omissions have been fully documented and held on the public record. The gathering storm of public opinion will not accept the cries of 'we didn't know, we didn't understand.'
You took the money you accepted the responsibility.
With handsome remuneration as an elected official from the public purse comes REAL responsibility. Responsibility that requires investigation and accountability no matter how unpalatable the task, no matter how unpalatable the consequence.
The elected officials of Sunderland City Council have failed the electorate despite overwhelming evidence of malpractice and misfeasance they have allowed officers to mislead and deceive ... and then rewarded the self same officers handsomely from the public purse whilst the accounts are outstanding and a fraud investigation is pending, and other matters are before the High Court.
Perhaps the officer maligned by the deliberate deception above and left will have an attack of conscience or will he be prepared to take the hit for the failings of others? He knows where many of the bodies are buried and he also knows that the Department for Transport knows too.
Who is being protected?
Will the good guys allow the rats to leave the ship with impunity?
Society is only as good as the people who live amongst it and those who are prepared to stand up and be counted. As the press and media interest gathers and the national implications grow the question is 'Who is prepared to take the blame ... the guilty or the naive?'
They did not want to be party to a 'falsehood.'
Sunderland Council officers have been allowed to 'leave post' with impunity. Perhaps the elected members do not realise that they will carry FULL responsibility.
More to follow ...
This meeting was not held in Sunderland as Sunderland City Council officials did not want the DfT to be aware of the systemic failings of their parking enforcement regime. The meeting was held in Wellbar House in Newcastle.
More papers will be revealed in the coming days.
It will also be revealed that, since 2005 Sunderland City Councillors were made fully aware of the behaviour of their council officers yet turned a blind eye and failed to initiate an independent, external investigation.
Members have today been informed of serious allegations made to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal by a member of the Sunderland business community. He .won his case against the City Council
Monday, April 26, 2010
Both were obtained under FoI.
This presentation was provided with Papers relating to a Department for Transport seminar on CPZs in 2004 and given by Kitty Vernon.
and they told the Department for Transport that ALL lines, signs and Traffic Regulation Orders were correct and in force when they applied for Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE)Powers in 2003. Below is an extract from their own internal report The DPE: Post Implementation Review:
A lot of information on the reasons for the draftsmen of the TSRGD 2002 being so strict with the definition of a CPZ is still being 'witheld' but the content relating to the meeting is is pretty clear.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Council forced to refund £134,000 in parking fines
A council was forced to repay £134,000 in parking fines after changing the rules for leaving cars on bank holidays but forgetting to change the signs.
22 Apr 2010
Camden Council in north London bebgan ticketing drivers for parking on single yellow lines on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
But the has now agreed to refund all the money after a storm of complaints.
And it has promised that in future, drivers will be able to park on single yellows on bank holidays - as they always have done.
Andrew Marshall, the council's Conservative deputy leader, said: "Camden Council got it wrong in terms of enforcing single yellow lines on Easter bank holidays.
Camden Council will now communicate clearly in the run-up to the next bank holiday that we are NOT enforcing single yellow lines."
But Barrie Segal, of the AppealNow website, has called for an inquiry into the council's actions.
He said: "This is like Dick Turpin being caught with his hands down the motorists' pocket.
"It's disgraceful that the council, one of the largest in the country, could stoop to that sort of activity ~ announcing it surreptitiously on the internet and sending out its scavengers to catch unsuspecting motorists."
Traffic wardens handed out a staggering 1,119 fines to motorists on single yellow lines on Good Friday and Easter Monday adding up to £134,280.
But the only warning that parking attendants would be policing single yellow lines was a tiny notice on Camden Council's website announcing that 'normal yellow line restrictions apply for the duration for the Easter period'.
One furious University College London Hospitals doctor, writing on an internet forum as DoctorDJ, said: "I was ticketed as I worked in the A&E department of UCLH treating sick children.
"I've parked on Gower Street every bank holiday (including Christmas Day and Boxing Day) and never been ticketed."
Another outraged driver, writing under the name Innocently, said: "On the Easter Bank Holiday Monday, I parked on a single yellow line at Lincoln Inn Fields, believing it was safe to do so as I have parked there before on bank holidays - only to get a ticket at around 5pm!!!
"I approached the officer who gave the ticket and asked why and he simply snapped back, 'law changed'.
"The ticket officer said I should 'look on the internet'!!!! Who looks on the internet to see if the parking law has changed?"
Motorists who paid their fines by credit or debit card will have the money automatically refunded to their account.
Others will have to apply for their money back.
Sam Monck, assistant director Public Realm and Sustainability at Camden Council, said: "Our traffic orders, relating to single yellow lines, make it clear that we can issue tickets over the bank holiday weekends.
"However in recent years, Camden has on a discretionary basis taken the decision as a gesture of goodwill not to issue parking tickets to cars parked on single yellow lines on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday."
He added: "Over the Easter period this year, we did enforce parking regulations and displayed this information on our website, but realise that many motorists may have been confused by the inconsistency.
"Given the history of non-enforcement we have taken the decision to cancel or refund any parking tickets issued on Good Friday and Easter Monday."
The independence and impartiality of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal point will now be taken forward with the Glenn Dickinson v The Parking Adjudicator case ... date to be allocated.
Please support The Motorists Legal Challenge Fund at http://www.motoristslegalchallenge.co.uk/
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thanks to the London Cab Drivers Club for their support ...
Please visit http://www.motoristslegalchallenge.co.uk/
Please support The Motorists Legal Challenge Fund.
Traffic warden faces the sack after foul rant about motorcyclist’s wife
A traffic warden faces the sack after his foul-mouthed rant at a motorcyclist was caught on video.
The Westminster council parking attendant is seen shouting at Warren Djangoly and making obscene comments about his wife during a confrontation in the West End.
Mr Djangoly, a management consulant from Barnes, said the abuse was “totally unprovoked”.
The warden, who has not been named, has been suspended after a video of the abuse, filmed by another biker, was posted on YouTube.
The recording shows the warden appearing agitated at being photographed, and saying: “Don't be taking my picture,” before he snaps at Mr Djanogly: “Go and give that to your wife because I'll be f***ing her soon.”
He repeats the comment as he turns his back and walks away.
Mr Djanogly, 46, said it was effectively a “threat of rape”, which he said was particularly alarming as private parking contractors have access to the DVLA database, including motorists' home addresses.
He told the Standard: “I was shocked when he swore at me but I didn't realise exactly what he said until I saw the video. It's really quite appalling. It was also totally unprovoked.
"I only said to him not to bother giving me a ticket because I was going, and he got all aggressive, saying don't tell me what to do'.
“What came out of his mouth next was astonishing and absolutely outrageous. It's very concerning when someone says that to you, and it was really quite traumatising because there's the worry that these people have access to our records.”
He said he has spoken to the police about the incident in New Cavendish Street this month, but is not sure whether to make a formal complaint.
He is also demanding a full apology from Westminster council and its parking enforcement contractor NSL Services, which employs the warden.
Dr Leith Penny, Westminster's strategic director of city management, said: “Our parking attendants do a difficult and challenging job. However, Westminster council demands the highest standards from its parking staff and we do not tolerate this kind of behaviour which is clearly unacceptable.”
NSL spokesman Tim Cowen said the warden's language was “shocking” and an investigation had been launched.
He added: “The civil enforcement officer in question has been removed from the Westminster operation and suspended while that investigation takes place.
"Behaviour like this is not acceptable and would usually result in dismissal if the case is proven.”
Yet again, instead of simply apologising for the error they attempt to twist words to say what they want them to mean rather than what they actually say.
If Mr. Leithead is wrong then why go to the expense of correcting something which they claim is already correct?
Is it any wonder that the public is not prepared to accept this any more?
Parking fines in Edinburgh have been illegal for more than a decade, claims former police chief
Apr 19 2010 Rory Reynolds
ALL parking fines issued to drivers in Edinburgh over the past 12 years are illegal, according to a former top traffic cop.
Chris Leithead, the former head of London Metropolitan Police's traffic branch, claims the city council have been fining drivers under "non-existent legislation".
The former superintendent said the local authority had made a fatal error in the wording of the fines and has urged drivers to appeal the penalties or demand a refund.
Edinburgh City Council admit they are to introduce a new Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) but insist there was no issue in the first place.
Leithead, who is now an adviser to councils on decriminalised parking, said: "I believe Edinburgh's main TRO is not lawful.
"It refers to an initial charge for parking places with pay-and-display machines or meters - a term that shouldn't be there.
"When they decriminalised parking, the council were required to amend their TROs to remove the term because it came from a section of the Road Traffic Regulation Act redundant under the new scheme.
"But Edinburgh are still using 'initial charge' in the main TRO, which covers most of the city.
"A local authority can only do what they are empowered to do by law and Edinburgh are making charges under non-existent legislation."
Leithead, 69, said drivers who try to reclaim their fines have a very good case.
He added: "Motorists who have been fined while using a paid parking place have the strongest case.
"That's what the initial charge refers to. But others, such as those who got a ticket for being on yellow lines, could argue they have a case because the whole TRO is unenforceable due to the law."
Edinburgh City Council have issued 920,000 penalty charge notices in the last four years and collected around £7million in fines last year.
Chief executive Tom Aitchison rejected Leithead's claims. He said: "There's no provision in the legislation which necessitates the council to give the period when payment is required a certain name. Therefore, any term can be used."
But he said the council's new TRO changes the wording that Leithead says make the orders illegal. He added: "It removes the words 'initial charge'."
Friday, April 16, 2010
Want to see the 'softer' approach and the 'verbal' warning this Civil Enforcement Officer issued to one motorist?
I think it is about time that a full, public inquiry was launched into this company and its practices. The British motoring public have had enough ... http://www.motoristslegalchallenge.co.uk/
This company has access to the DVLA data base and therefore potentially the home address of the motorist whose wife was threatened. A little point for the politicians to ponder when they begin to consider the real implications of allowing the privatisation of law enforcement and taking it away from real accountability.
This is the beginning of the end of not so civil parking enforcement. We have had enough!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
It is a stark reminder of what this lawless, out of control stealth tax has become. This is the frontline of a service delivered by OUR local authorities on behalf of us, by OUR civil servants and by OUR elected representatives on behalf of us. They have all abrogated responsibility. They have left it to individuals and campaign groups to risk everything and make great personal sacrifices to expose the real truth. How many others have suffered similar abuse? How many have been illegally ticketed? How many have been abused?
Is this the real face of parking enforcement? This company was known as National Car Parks Ltd. when the BBC exposed them in Sunderland ... view it here and here and here.
Will they ever change or is the pressure to issue tickets so great that this is what effectively our councils have been reduced to? This is not what I and tens of thousands of others are prepared to accept as a public service.
Please support http://www.motoristslegalchallenge.co.uk/ because the only way we can make a difference is if the threat of financial ruin for those who stand up is removed.
Thanks to http://www.nutsville.com/ for exposing this.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Neil Herron selling car and number plate to fund court battle
Apr 11 2010 by Amy Hunt,
A PARKING ticket campaigner is flogging his car and personalised numberplate to raise cash for his High Court fight.
Activist Neil Herron is challenging tickets issued by Sunderland City Council, claiming they were unlawful.
In a case which he says could prove pivotal for drivers, he will argue that hundreds of thousands of parking tickets issued around the UK are unlawful because of flawed regulations.
Having already re-mortgaged his house Mr Herron – who set up his own firm Parking Appeals Ltd – is now putting his own Nissan Navara, which he has had for about three years, up for sale, along with a personalised “F1NED” numberplate.
He hopes to raise £20,000 by flogging the car, which has yellow lines painted down the side in an effort to highlight parking problems. He’ll add the car cash to the £80,000 he says his legal fight has already cost him.
Market trader Mr Herron is due at London’s High Court on May 18 to attempt to get a judicial review into Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs).
He will claim that many tickets are invalid, arguing how the law states every road within a CPZ must be marked with a single or double yellow lines, except where parking spaces are provided.
Any CPZ zone which contains other markings like zig-zags, bus lanes, pelican or zebra crossings would be unlawful, making parking tickets issued in it invalid, he says.
Mr Herron said: “We’re trying to expose that local authorities have a duty to residents, rate-payers and motorists to act fairly and to comply with the law and not to use cost as a weapon to deny people justice or use fines as a way to raise revenue. Many people have paid a parking ticket that they feel is unjust because of the potential cost of appealing it.
“Effectively I have spent £100,000 on a parking ticket. But I’ve had to put my money where my mouth is and if you’re going to stand on a point of principle there’s a degree of sacrifice you have to make.
“I’m hoping there’s a millionaire out there who’s fond of social justice and realises there’s a principle to be fought for. I’m sure there will be someone out there who would pay a lot to see this case succeed.”
Sunderland City Council will contest the case on behalf of all local authorities.
In 2001 Mr Herron was part of the campaign to clear the name of greengrocer and “metric martyr” Steven Thoburn.
Mr Thoburn, who died in 2004, was prosecuted for selling his produce traditionally by the pound at his shop in the area Southwick in Sunderland.
It’s what friends are for
by Ray Mallon, Mayor of Middlesbrough
Friday 9th April 2010
I FIRST came across Neil Herron during the debate on the regional assembly. His side won, mine lost, as he is good enough to remind me every now and then.
Despite our differences, I formed a high opinion of Neil and his determined and principled way of going about things. His activities began with the “Metric Martyrs” campaign where – never one to shirk a challenge – he successfully took on Whitehall and Brussels.
He is now focusing his considerable energies on what he and many others see as the abuse of decriminalised parking legislation by some local authorities.
Neil often harks back to the day it all began, when a shiny-suited official came into his shop and brusquely told him to stop using his scales or face prosecution. I suspect that if that official had his time over again, he would adopt a more customer-friendly approach.
I am rather glad that he behaved the way he did. It was the catalyst for the career of a proper people’s champion.
I know this sounds odd coming from me. I am, after all, responsible for the direction and management of a council, a large public body. Whether I like it or not – and often I don’t – I am a member of the establishment that Neil takes on with persistence and gusto.
But I also have experience of what it is like to be outside the establishment. So I know first-hand what a large and intimidating beast it can be.
I know that when it gets something wrong, the establishment’s first reaction is often to cover up the misdemeanour, rather than put it right. I know that when challenged, it often has recourse to lengthy, expensive legal defences rather than seeking quick, commonsense conciliation and agreement. I know that the bureaucracy which is so familiar to those who work in it every day can be a frightening machine to people who have never had to deal with it before. I know that rules and procedures originally meant to ensure fair play and openness can be manipulated to produce quite different results.
Finally, I know that when people in public office forget they are accountable servants of the people, it is bad for consumers, citizens and government itself.
In this respect, public life is really no different from private. Critical friends – the ones who tell you “you look terrible”, “you need to lose weight”, “you have made a complete mess of things” – and yes, praise you when you manage to get it right – are the real friends. We should value people who tell us what we need to know rather than those who tell us what we want to hear.
That is why I will always be ready to challenge, I hope in a constructive way, the things that my own organisation does. I’ll welcome the comments of the critical friends who can point out ways we can do things better.
Most of all, I will try to help people realise that there’s no shame in admitting they’ve made mistakes. There’s an old saying that the man who never did anything wrong never did anything right either – because he did nothing at all. It applies to organisations as well as individuals.
In Neil’s current campaign, he is seeking a constructive solution to what he sees as a manifest injustice and abuse of process. He realises that councils have a job to do, but wants them to do it fairly and transparently.
I believe that dialogue is better than diktat, so I hope the two sides reach agreement.
I hope, too, that those of us in power realise that we need people like Neil to challenge, question and make life awkward for us.
It’s what friends are for.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
A reminder to all the parking officials across the length and breadth of the land that YOU will be PERSONALLY liable should it be shown that you have acted criminally or even recklessly. It is worth repeating the extract from the Local Authorities (Indemnities for Members and Officers) Order 2004
Restrictions on indemnities
6. - (1) No indemnity may be provided under this Order in relation to any action by, or
failure to act by, any member or officer which -
(a) constitutes a criminal offence; or
(b) is the result of fraud, or other deliberate wrongdoing or recklessness on the
part of that member or officer.
As indicated previously, there are lawyers sitting waiting and the evidence is building. The amount of evidence is growing by the day and more and more are looking to get the matter before the courts.
Westminster faces court fight over its car parking deal
Westminster city council is facing a High Court battle amid allegations of favouritism in the awarding of a £50 million four-year parking contract.
In a lawsuit filed over the weekend Apcoa, one of the world's biggest parking enforcement firms, claims it was cheated out of the contract by what it sees as improper behaviour.
The Westminster parking contract is one of the most lucrative in the industry and competition to secure the tender is intense.
In February Westminster announced that Mouchel,the publicly listed engineering company, was the preferred bidder ahead of incumbent NSL and Apcoa, formerly known as the Airport Parking Company of America.
The lawsuit says Westminster broke the law by using “unpublished and unannounced criteria” in deciding which firm to employ.
Apcoa alleges the council “steered” the contract towards “one particular preferred tenderer” even before the three bids had been evaluated.
The allegations could prove highly embarrassing to Westminster and potentially costly to council taxpayers.
In February Westminster pulled the press release announcing that Mouchel had won the contract from its website, but offered no explanation why.
It later emerged that it is running the entire bidding process again, at a cost of around £100,000, following what Leith Penny, the council's strategic director of city management, claimed was “the discovery of a flaw in the contract document”.
The lawsuit suggests it was the bidding process itself which was at fault.
Apcoa, owned by French private-equity house Eurazeo, is best known for running parking at Gatwick and Heathrow. It is demanding either that it is awarded the Westminster contract or else compensated for loss of profits.
The suit, which names the Lord Mayor and citizens of the city of Westminster as defendants, says: “The claimant's case is that the exercise ought to have been (and ought now to be) re-run in a manner that is fair... the claimant claims damages in any event.” Apcoa said it would have won had the process been fair.
Westminster said it will fight the suit. Kevin Goad, head of commissioning for city management, said: “As part of the procurement process the council reserves the right not to award a contract and we remain confident this claim will be dismissed.”
Westminster says it will unveil the result of the new procurement process next month.
Monday, April 05, 2010
PATAS adjudicators appear to be distancing themselves from this 'offensive' stance which implies partiality towards the local authorities.
This is not how the law or the Operational Guidance to Local Authorities was written. The extracts below from the Operational Guidance is explicit ... and shames many decisions by TPT adjudicators. What, or more importantly who are TPT trying to protect?
Has TPT's adjudicators attempts to 'dumb down' the legislation been deliberate to assist local authorities?
Has TPT been aware that many local authorities have misled the Secretary of State into granting Civil Parking Enforcement powers by claiming that ALL their lines and signs comply with TSRGD 2002 and as such, if proven that was the case, the local authorities could have their CPE powers removed thereby affecting TPT's income stream (they are remunerated solely from PCN revenue at the rate of 60p per PCN)?
Let us hope the criminal investigation leaves no stone unturned, especially when interviewing the DfT and GONE officials whose emails referred to 'fraud' and 'illegal.'
Lancashire Evening Post
Four wardens work 'beats' in Preston and each do an eight-hour shift
02 April 2010
Traffic wardens in Preston are working late shifts to police parking at events like football matches and music gigs, bosses have revealed.
Lancashire Parking Services, which is responsible for on-street parking enforcement in the city, said wardens' eight-hour shifts are spread over a 24-hour period.And Preston North End home games or other special events like music gigs are examples of when wardens might work evening shifts.
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Parking Services said there are usually four wardens working 'beats' in Preston, each doing an eight-hour shift.
She said: "They will normally work eight hours a day, however this is spread over a 24-hour period and will depend on the restrictions, the need for effective traffic management and enforcing where road safety is paramount."It also depends on any special events taking place in the city, eg football matches/music events etc, and whether there are repeated requests for enforcement from residents that need to be factored in to their 'beats' and hours of working."
She added: "Event organisers can work with us when they are planning their events to manage their parking provision and facilities near to where the event is taking place. "Usually, this will mean that we need to suspend enforcement of bays or provide more dispensations to ensure that there is adequate availability of spaces for the number of people being in a single location at a given time. "This doesn't necessarily mean that we will be issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)."But events usually require that additional work is carried out to erect temporary signage to advise motorists of temporary restrictions or to suspend parking enforcement in particular areas."
Neil Herron, of campaign group Parking Appeals, said such enforcement needs to be transparent. He said: "If they are going to target events because they know there will be a lot of people there they have got to send a message loud and clear through the local press that this is what they are going to do – and for the first couple of months give out warning notices instead of tickets. "If they don't do that then it just smacks of revenue raising."
A spokesman for Preston Council, which is now in charge of enforcement car parks, said: "We have shifts and rotas to cover parking in our car parks." But he said no extra wardens are sent out when there big events at venues like the Guild Hall.
Coun Anthony Gornall, deputy leader of the council, said: "People should observe the rules if there are parking restrictions in place."
- ► 2011 (51)
- Sunderland City Council ... 'A Nice Little Earner ...
- Who was the Council Officer who lied to the press ...
- Sunderland City Council Officers Lie to the Sunder...
- CPZ Test Case Required ... DfT says...
- Parking Enforcement in Sunderland ...
- Department for Transport Presentations on CPZs
- Sunderland created their CPZ in 1968 ...
- Controlled Parking Zones and the High Court case
- More refunds as the fightback continues ...
- The High Court Judicial Review ... Herron v The Pa...
- A message from a London Cabbie ...
- Law enforcement on the streets of Britain today .....
- Parking refunds due in Edinburgh ...
- Westminster's wardens to issue warnings ... want t...
- The face of Britain's parking enforcement ...
- The pressure mounts ...
- From the man of the people ...
- Where will the dam crack first ?
- PATAS puts TPT to shame ...
- Beware the night shift ...
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