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Bonkers Blog November 2014

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20 November (Part 1) - Two parties disagree, one is Bexley council. Who do you believe?

 If you have been keeping up with these ramblings you will know that there has been an objection to Bexley council’s 2013/14 accounts based on contractual irregularities in the area of parking enforcement and the employment of bailiffs and it is me and A.N. Other who are driving it forward.

Mr. Other is doing all the spadework and I am the not so innocent bystander.

The situation does give me some pangs of conscience. This will be running up auditor’s bills which will dwarf the cost of maintaining Belvedere’s Splash Park but for how much longer are we supposed to tolerate a dishonest council?

It’s probably not 100% honourable that one of my motives is to dish out maximum embarrassment to council leader Teresa O’Neill; she after all is the woman so detached from the ideals of democracy that she asked the police to arrest me for “criticising councillors” and was happy to see John Kerlen (Olly Cromwell) banged up on trumped up charges. It cost him £10,000 in barrister’s fees to prove his innocence. So things are just a little personal.

The following is what the brains behind the objection has been telling me. It is an amalgam of several emails and modified for clarity. Some of the words may be mine but all the essentials are as relayed by Mr. O.

I have the evidence that Bexley have an incentivised contract with NSL in which they get paid extra for each PCN. When I did my first inspection there was no fee scale in the contract, where it should have been was blank and this was the original signed and sealed contract from legal archives. On the second inspection only a photocopy of a page could be provided by the parking department and no provenance as to where it had come from and the legal people did not know of its existence.

The less published the better but you can certainly refer to the £5·8m as it is correct to state that it is now being formally objected to. The accounts people were saying the right things but I am now getting the impression that further up the food chain they would like to keep this quiet.

The fee scale document is only a photocopy and I am yet to be given a satisfactory explanation for it. The invoices show payments made outside of the photocopied fee scale document and the fee scale document shows the agreed payment per PCN issued up to a maximum of 60,000 PCNs and the invoices back this up.

The amount paid per PCN is redacted on BiB but I consider it to be rather a lot of money.

The Deputy Director of Finance said earlier this week… (Severely edited.)

PetersThe Council’s parking contract and practices are entirely lawful, being consistent with legislation and statutory guidance applicable at the time. There are no provisions in the contract for the contractor to meet PCN quotas. Further, there are no provisions in the contract for incentive payments to be made to NSL. There are also no provisions in the contract that impose conditions, performance measures or targets on the contractor relating to the number of penalty charge notices issued.

In conclusion, the Council are satisfied that its parking contract is lawful and does not incentivise NSL.

When I ‘cross examined’ Mr. Other he reminded me that there was no fee schedule in the signed and sealed contract. The photocopy of a fee schedule supplied by the parking department includes the monetary incentive per PCN with a cap of 60,000 per year and invoices show the same figure.

So it looks possible to me that it is ‘case closed’. An incentivised contract is an unlawful contract and PCNs issued under such a contract represent unlawful income, the £5·8 million. See you in court?

I am not the brains behind the argument and I’m handicapped by a lack of expertise in the relevant area of law and I am a confirmed cynic who has seen Bexley council wriggle away from the consequences of their actions far too many times before. But I can’t see how the police can help them this time.


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