Traffic Enforcement and Business Relationship with Colas

Barnet Borough Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Barnet Borough Council,

Please would you kindly provide me with the following information:

1. A summary of any contracts or subcontracts (such as "to carry out highway maintenance"), licenses or business relationships, direct or indirect (including authorisation to carry out work on behalf of Barnet Council or on Barnet highways) between Barnet Council and the company trading under the name COLAS or Colas UK (or any other trading name or subsidiary relating to the company name Colas (whose UK registered office is Wallage Lane, Rowfant, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10) that were active or in operation or in any way relevant to the period 0000hrs to 2359hrs on 2nd August 2018.

2. Any policy document or guidance document relating to the issuing of PCNs within Barnet, including any policy on applying discretion or to consider of mitigating circumstances, to include PCNs relating to moving traffic offences.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Danny Davies

Freedom of Information Act, Barnet Borough Council

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Daisy Ford, Barnet Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 4658596

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Davies
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000,
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 10 August
2018 

  

We will deal with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

Under the Act we must respond promptly and in any event within 20 working
days from the date we received your request.  We will respond to you by 10
September 2018

 

Please note the Act defines a limited set of exemptions from the right to
know.  If we decide not to release any information we shall explain why,
which exemption we are relying on and how you can appeal.

Please note: If you receive a request from us for clarification of your
request please respond to it by the date given.  We will not be able to
process your request if you do not provide the clarification asked for.

 

Yours sincerely
 
 
Daisy Ford
Admin Assistant
Highways Network Management
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South,
London N11 1NP
Barnet Online: [1]www.barnet.gov.uk
All our [2]Information Management Policies  are on the internet. 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/
2. https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/c...

Kamalson Bhambra, Barnet Borough Council

1 Attachment

 
Information request
Our reference: 4658596

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Davies
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 10 August 2018.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.

If you reply to this email please do not amend the subject line or your
email will not go into the case and there will be a delay in it being
received by us.

 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Chris Lloyd
Information Management Officer
Commissioning Group
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South,
London N11 1NP
Barnet Online: [1]www.barnet.gov.uk
All our [2]Information Management Policies  are on the internet. 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/
2. https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/c...

Dear Kamalson Bhambra,

Thank you for providing some of the requested information. However, I'm afraid I do not accept your reason for withholding some of the information based upon the grounds of:

1(a) Prosecution and Detection of Crime
1(b) Apprehension and prosecution of Offenders 1(c) Administration of Justice

I have not asked you to reveal any such techniques that may interfere with the prosecution or detection of crime, nor the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.

Firstly, PCNs issued by Local Authorities are not for criminal offences - they are purely civil matters, following the decriminalised powers being granted to Local Authorities to enforce contraventions. That is how Barnet is able to employ private companies like NSL to (mis)manage your PCNs. As such, there is no crime to detect, nor prosecute, and you will not be apprehending offenders as such. Consequently, the grounds given to withhold the information have no substance.

Secondly, I have not asked you to share with me any secret methods adopted to catch people. I have asked you to share your policies in managing the process (such as how mitigating circumstances should be handled by Barnet / NSL). There should not be any secrets here whatsoever - to the contrary, such policies should be made public. Indeed, you do share some policies relating to PCNs for parking but not for the handling of mitigating circumstances relating to moving traffic offences.

Thirdly, a number of other boroughs DO share their policies relating to the management of PCNs and the manner in which mitigating circumstances are handled. So the precedent is set and I would ask you to be clear as to precisely why you feel that your policies would reveal such secret information, when other Boroughs are happy to share their policies.

Please see here for example:
https://www.havering.gov.uk/downloads/fi...

It is called "transparency" and it enables residents to be sure that Barnet Borough (and its contractors such as NSL) have a stringent policy in place that does not favour or discriminate one driver from another, such as in a case of where PCNs may be issued to both a resident and Barnet contractor, but where the Barnet contractor's PCN may be subsequently cancelled without appropriate reason.

For the sake of clarity, I am seeking this information to ensure that Barnet Borough are working to their policies and not showing favour to a particular contractor. Consequently, it is very much in Barnet's interest to share the requested information; else it would lead me to suspect that there is something untoward to hide.

Please would you kindly discuss this with your supervisor and then confirm whether you now intend to share the requested policies or not, and if not, please take this as a formal request for an "internal review".

Thank you, and I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Danny Davies

Jon Hill, Barnet Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 4658596

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Davies
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 17 September 2018. I'm
sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the council's response to your
information request.
               
I will now conduct an internal review.  The review will be independent and
impartial, will reconsider the merits of the case and will identify any
errors in the handling of your request.
 
I aim to complete internal reviews promptly and in any event within 20
working days from receipt of a complaint.  In exceptional cases this may
take longer, but will not exceed 40 working days.  This is in line with 
guidance issued by the Information Commissioner.  
 
If, following this review, you are still unhappy with the way we have
applied the Act, you can appeal directly to the Information Commissioner
at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45;
website: [1]https://ico.org.uk/). There is no charge for making an appeal.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Jon Hill
Transparency & Open Data Manager
Information Management Team
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South,
London N11 1NP
Barnet Online: [2]www.barnet.gov.uk
All our [3]Information Management Policies  are on the internet. 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/
2. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/
3. https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/c...

Dear Barnet Borough Council,

For the sake of formality, I confirm that I have previously requested an internal review of Barnet Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Traffic Enforcement and Business Relationship with Colas' - which you have confirmed.

I await your response.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

Yours faithfully,

Danny Davies

Freedom of Information Act, Barnet Borough Council

This is an automated message.

Thank you for contacting Barnet Council's FOI team. If you have submitted an FOI request someone will be in touch with you shortly with your case number so that you know who in the council is dealing with your enquiry.

We aim to provide a full response to a valid FOI request within 20 working days, where this is not possible we will keep you informed of progress.

If you are emailing about another matter, one of the team will be in touch with you within 2 working days.

This email and any attachments to it are intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may contain sensitive or confidential material and should be handled accordingly. However, it is recognised that, as an intended recipient of this email, you may wish to share it with those who have a legitimate interest in the contents.

If you have received this email in error and you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy or print any of the information contained or attached within it, all copies must be deleted from your system. Please notify the sender immediately.

Whilst we take reasonable steps to identify software viruses, any attachments to this email may contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. No liability can be accepted, and you should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents.

Please note: Information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

This message has been scanned for malware by Websense. www.websense.com

Jon Hill, Barnet Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 4658596

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Davies
 
I write further to our email acknowledging your request for an internal
review into the response to your request for information. 
 
You have requested an internal review of the Council's response in
relation to your request in the following terms:
 
Thank you for providing some of the requested information. However, I'm
afraid I do not accept your reason for withholding some of the information
based upon the grounds of:

1(a) Prosecution and Detection of Crime
1(b) Apprehension and prosecution of Offenders 1(c) Administration of
Justice

I have not asked you to reveal any such techniques that may interfere with
the prosecution or detection of crime, nor the apprehension and
prosecution of offenders.

Firstly, PCNs issued by Local Authorities are not for criminal offences -
they are purely civil matters, following the decriminalised powers being
granted to Local Authorities to enforce contraventions. That is how Barnet
is able to employ private companies like NSL to (mis)manage your PCNs. As
such, there is no crime to detect, nor prosecute, and you will not be
apprehending offenders as such. Consequently, the grounds given to
withhold the information have no substance.

Secondly, I have not asked you to share with me any secret methods adopted
to catch people. I have asked you to share your policies in managing the
process (such as how mitigating circumstances should be handled by Barnet
/ NSL). There should not be any secrets here whatsoever - to the contrary,
such policies should be made public. Indeed, you do share some policies
relating to PCNs for parking but not for the handling of mitigating
circumstances relating to moving traffic offences.

Thirdly, a number of other boroughs DO share their policies relating to
the management of PCNs and the manner in which mitigating circumstances
are handled. So the precedent is set and I would ask you to be clear as to
precisely why you feel that your policies would reveal such secret
information, when other Boroughs are happy to share their policies.

Please see here for example:
https://www.havering.gov.uk/downloads/fi...

It is called "transparency" and it enables residents to be sure that
Barnet Borough (and its contractors such as NSL) have a stringent policy
in place that does not favour or discriminate one driver from another,
such as in a case of where PCNs may be issued to both a resident and
Barnet contractor, but where the Barnet contractor's PCN may be
subsequently cancelled without appropriate reason.

For the sake of clarity, I am seeking this information to ensure that
Barnet Borough are working to their policies and not showing favour to a
particular contractor. Consequently, it is very much in Barnet's interest
to share the requested information; else it would lead me to suspect that
there is something untoward to hide.

Please would you kindly discuss this with your supervisor and then confirm
whether you now intend to share the requested policies or not, and if not,
please take this as a formal request for an "internal review".
 
I have undertaken the internal review and the outcome of my review is set
out below
 
Response
 
In investigating your request and the associated response this review
finds that the exemption under section 31 of the FOIA was misapplied for
the following reasons.
 
Whilst section 31 does not solely cover matters to do with crime, and
indeed can also cover civil investigatory matters, the exemption does not
apply in this case as the information requested is not held. Having
discussed this matter with the Parking Service, there are no current
official written policy or guidance documents that fall within the
specific information you requested. The Parking Service has explained that
such documents are not necessarily required in order to provide this
service:

In most circumstances it is immediately clear whether a moving traffic
contravention has taken place ' a vehicle passes a point or does not, or a
vehicle stops or does not.

If an officer reviewing a potential contravention identifies unusual
circumstances which could form mitigation they will normally  escalate the
case to a supervisor for review. It is the nature of unusual circumstances
that it is not generally possible to establish strict criteria.

If circumstances are not identified at review and are raised by the
motorist, these will be considered on their merits by the appointed
officers.

In addition to mitigating circumstances , certain exemptions are defined
by statute or published Traffic Management Orders, rather than by policy.

However, I have been informed that Parking are currently in the process of
producing documents that will likely fall under this description, but
these are not yet finalised. You may wish to make a further request for
these documents at a later date, as they are likely to be completed within
the next few months.
 
More general guidance documents regarding Parking in Barnet are available
on the council's website at the following link:
 
[1]https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/p...
 
I apologise on behalf of the council for any confusion caused by the
original response, and hope that this provides you with the requisite
clarification.
 
Your rights
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
 
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: [2]www.ico.org.uk 
There is no charge for making an appeal.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Jon Hill
Transparency & Open Data Manager
Information Management Team
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South,
London N11 1NP
Barnet Online: [3]www.barnet.gov.uk
All our [4]Information Management Policies  are on the internet. 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/p...
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. http://www.barnet.gov.uk/
4. https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/c...

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