Open up parking systems

The number of parking tickets issued by money-grabbing councils continues to rocket according to a report released yesterday by the National Parking Adjudication Service. The report states that 2.45 million tickets were issued in 2003, up 300,000 from 2.13 million in 2002.

An article in today’s Times quotes Caroline Sheppard, chief adjudicator for England and Wales saying that councils must be more open with their parking ticket policy. I echo this sentiment and urge everyone to utilise the Freedom of Information Act to force local councils to make public their parking enforcement contracts, policies and financial arrangements.

“There is an urgent need for more transparency and accountability in the councils’ activities and it would be more informative for the public to have the whole picture,” she said.

“We believe the Government should require this information to be published each year, along with the councils’ parking accounts,” Ms Sheppard added. The data should include the number of penalty charges issued each year, the number paid at reduced penalty, the number of notices to owner issued, the number of representations received and accepted, the number of appeals lodged and the outcome of appeals and referrals to county courts.

View the full article here. It also includes a chart of the top 20 councils (excluding London) issuing the most parking tickets.

Indeed if councils are to make claims they represent their local community then it is essential that parking enforcement systems are fully transparent so we can see if they are operating in the public’s interest or, as seems the case now, against it.

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6 Responses to “Open up parking systems”

  1. Recycler says:

    Excellent resource this site! pointed me in several interesting directions! Thanks & Keep it up

    Islington & Camden requests made along the lines of the Chief Parking Adjudicators report..
    will let you know the results

    Over last 12 Month period please supply following information :-

    1. The number of penalty charge notices (Council) issued – Including breakdown between PA issued / Bus Lane PCN/ CCTV PCn

    2. The number that is paid at the reduced penalty. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    3. The number of notices to owner (Council) issued. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    4. The number of Formal representations (Council) receives. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    5. The number of Informal representations (Council) receives. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    6. The number of representations (Council) accepts. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    7. The number of representations (Council) rejects. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    8. The number of appeals that (Council) have lodged against them at PATAS.

    9. The outcome of those appeals at PATAS. (accepted / rejected / PCNs Cancelled thereby avoiding PATAS)

    10. The number of charge certificates (Council) issues. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    11. The proportion of charge certificates (Council) issues which are paid.

    12. The number of cases (Council) refers to the County Court. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    13. The proportion of cases referred to County Court which are paid.

    14. The number of challenges to penalty charges resolved prior to the Notice to Owner, after informal representations.

    15. The number of formal complaints received at (Council) parking services.

  2. Recycler says:

    Camden respose….

    Ref: RFI/00067
    Tel: 020 7974 2404
    Fax: 020 7974 4789
    e-mail: @camden.gov.uk

    Date 14 February 2005

    Mr xxx
    xxx
    xxxxx
    xxxxxx

    Dear Mr xxxx

    Ref: RFI/00067 amended response

    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST

    Your request for information has now been considered and the information relating to your questions numbered 3-14 is enclosed.

    However, your request for information relating to questions numbered 1 and 2 is being considered and there will be a fee payable for this information to be retrieved, collated and provided.

    The fee is in accordance with the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

    The fee payable is: £703.60

    The fees consist of

    1 28 Hours @ £25 per hour- £700
    2 Postage charges @ £1.10
    3 Photocopying charges: 25 @ £0.10 per copy: – £2.50

    On receipt of this fee your request will be processed. Please will you arrange for the cheque to made out to ”London Borough of Camden” and marked clearly on the back “RFI/00067 for the personal attention of Mr xxx xxx”

    The Cheque should be addressed to:
    Mr xxxx xxxxxx
    Parking Solutions
    PO Box Number 20217
    London NW1 9GH
    .

    The 20 working day timescale for providing the information you request is suspended until we receive payment from you.

    If you have any queries or concerns then please contact Mr xxxx xxxxx on 020 7974 2404.

    Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner’s Office
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    Wilmslow
    Cheshire
    SK9 5AF
    Telephone: 01625 545 700
    http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

    Yours sincerely

    xxxx xxxxxx

    The answers to your questions are as follows

    1. The number of penalty charge notices Camden issued in the past year – Including breakdown between PA issued / Bus Lane PCN/ CCTV PCn

    2. The number that is paid at the reduced penalty. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    Fee payable; please see comments in covering letter

    3. The number of notices to owner Camden issued. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    3. 150080

    4. The number of Formal representations Camden receives. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    4. 56527

    5. The number of Informal representations Camden receives. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    5. 126038

    6. The number of representations Camden accepts. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    6. 33354

    7. The number of representations Camden rejects. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    7. 10487

    8. The number of appeals that Camden have lodged against them at PATAS.

    8. 1863

    9. The outcome of those appeals at PATAS. (accepted / rejected / PCNs Cancelled thereby avoiding PATAS)

    9. accepted = 760 of which 364 not contested. 1054 refused.

    10. The number of charge certificates Camden issues. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    10. 90254

    11. The proportion of charge certificates Camden issues which are paid.

    12. The number of cases Camden refers to the County Court. Or a percentage of the total issued in a year.

    13. The proportion of cases referred to County Court which are paid.

    14 The number of challenges to penalty charges resolved prior to the Notice to Owner, after informal representations.

    14. This is included under point 5 and not recorded separately.

    15. The number of formal complaints received at Camden parking services.

    This is included under point 5 and not recorded separately.

    All figures are for the period April 03 – March 04

    Hmm £700! i’ll have to save up….but only £2.50 photocopying thats over an hour a copy!

  3. recycler says:

    ‘Camden infringed on my right to free data’

    Hampstead & Highgate Express
    4 March 2005
    Marc Mullen

    PARKING chiefs at Camden have charged £700 to supply data under the Freedom of Information Act… even though some of the facts are freely available on the Internet.

    [Read the full article in the Ham & High – Ed]

  4. Tom Smith says:

    Please note that it is now Camden Council PCN policy to deliberately misread registration numbers. If they see a number 103 – they will issue parking or bus lane summonses for 102, 103 and 104. Not everyone will check on-line photographs or be able to remember where they were on a particular day. The increase in revenue and commission for Camden and it’s PCN employees is significant.

    If the mistake is picked up – then it’s ‘so sorry it was our mistake’. In the meantime, it has cost you telephone calls, time, worry and other expense.

    Beware – CHECK ALL THE EVIDENCE VERY CAREFULLY. Once you have paid – you will struggle to get your money back.

  5. Jeannette Lowe says:

    I received a PCN for a no left turn and after viewing the photos online saw that although the vehicle was the same amke as mine it was a different model altogether. The reg. plate was unclear and could have been a number of different variations. After contacting the council, the operator stated it was hard to read. I therefore took photos of my vehicle, sent them, with printouts from their web site of the offending vehicle along with a letter, by fax. On calling to ensure receipt of fax yet another operator stated the reg. plate was unclear and cancelled the PCN. 1.11.07 I just wish I knew who to complain to outside Camden.

  6. Jeannette Lowe says:

    Further to my post of 2.11.07. I was so incensed by the fact that I was issued a PCN when the number was unclear, that I wrote to the Chief Executive of Camden Council complaining, requesting a payment of £30 admin fee for the time and trouble I had been put to. It was passed to the Parking Director who eventually replied and stated that as the council has to protect council tax payers money they would not award me compensation but would pay me £10 for my expenses in contacting the council. Perhaps if more people did this they would be more careful inputting the unclear and wrong details into their system.

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