Parking Charge Notices

richard benford made this Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by East Devon District Council.

Dear East Devon District Council,

If you pay an EDDC parking charge notice within 14 days you only have to pay 50% of the fine.
How many people over the last three years who have paid the FULL amount in error within the 14 days have NOT had there 50% money paid back to them by EDDC

Yours faithfully,

richard benford

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000279453 .

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Customer Service Centre
East Devon District Council
Web: www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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East Devon District Council

Dear Mr Benford,

Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

You asked:
If you pay an EDDC parking charge notice within 14 days you only have to pay 50% of the fine. How many people over the last three years who have paid the full amount in error within the 14 days have NOT had their 50% money paid back to them by EDDC?

Our answer is:
In our experience this is a fairly rare event, in that most people who pay the fee within the deadline are aware of the 50% discount and do not overpay. Our system does not allow for us to check for overpayments. To do so would entail checking through each PCN issued during the last three years (which would run into many thousands of individual records).

Most payment methods allow us to identify any overpayments so we can issue a refund. The only times when this is not possible is if payment is by cheque and the motorist has not included their address on the payment slip, or if payment is made via the Automated Payment Line where no address details are recorded.

If motorists supply their address details we can and do make refunds. We are not legally able to obtain address details from the DVLA to enable us to refund an overpayment due to data protection rules.

For information, most Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) are either £50 or £70 and any funds from collection of On Street PCNs goes to Devon County Council, not EDDC.

I hope this information is helpful and am sorry that we cannot provide the specific information requested.

If you are not satisfied with the way we have responded to your request, please fill in our online complaint form at www.eastdevon.gov.uk/making_a_complaint or write to the Monitoring Officer, EDDC, Knowle, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL.

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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C Peek left an annotation ()

Richard. Once again EDDC officers avoid giving clear response, something that regularly happens. It is my experience that they change the wording to suite themselves. Your question is a very valid one, you asked how many, not what proportion. The council have admitted that the records exist on this so are refusing your request without giving proper grounds, if it is on cost they should allow you to refine the question to cover a lesser time, and perhaps the system should be adjusted so that this information is apparent. Please consider pursuing this through internal review to get a proper answer

P Freeman left an annotation ()

As an IT specialist I can say without any reservations that this information would not be difficult to produce.

It is reasonable to assume (in 2018) that the system the officer refers to is based on an SQL database and contains the following fields:

* Date PCN issued
* Date Payment received
* Amount of ticket
* Amount of payment

The following SQL Select statement made against the database (column names are intended to be examples as I obviously do not have access to the real database) will give the answer required:

SELECT SUM(1) As Prompt_Paid_All, SUM(IF(AMOUNT_TICKET <= AMOUNT_PAID,1,0)) As Prompt_Paid_Overpaid
FROM PCN_Payments_Table
WHERE DATEDIFF(DATE_PAID,DATE_TICKET) <= 14;

If the PCN system doesn't give the council officer the ability to produce this information, then they should have requested the IT department to produce the information.

This has taken me c. 5 minutes to write, so I can see no reason why the council's IT department should not have been able to do this within the budget allowed for FoI requests.

The council is therefore in contravention of the FoIA because:
1. They hold the data; and
2. They are able to answer your question within the budget available.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

Richard - see above. On this basis you should be able to request an Internal Review and if the ifnormation is still not forthcoming to refer this to the ICO for investigation.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

P.S. It is important that all failures to provide information are reported to the ICO so that they can have a full picture of whether EDDC is frequently failing to follow the law.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

P.S. See https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

The attached spreadsheet has clearly been produced using a reporting tool as a direct query against an SQL database. So if it is possible for that FoI request, why not this one?