Groundhog Day

“Everyone rises to their level of incompetence.” (Laurence J. Peter – The Peter Principle)

You have to believe me if I say that I am not deliberately conducting a campaign against Ealing Council. It’s just that the examples of their apparent incompetence are legion. The tragic consequence of this pointless bureaucratic incompetence is that it can, at best, waste our time, and at worst, it can seriously screw up peoples’ lives.

Take, for example the case of Louise who contacted this site some months ago when she received a visit from bailiffs demanding excessive amounts of money for two Ealing PCNs that she never received. The fact that she had moved home obviously figured in the equation.

Fortunately the system does have safeguards, and she filled an out of time Statutory Declaration in order to halt the bailiff enforcement action. In their wisdom, Ealing Council was unwilling to accept this Statutory Declaration, so (thankfully another safeguard) the matter had to be put before a County Court Judge to resolve the dispute.

Louise and I turned up at Brentford County Court last Wednesday, at the appointed hour, only to discover that her case was not listed. We made enquiries and established that Ealing had withdrawn their objection to the Statutory Declaration around two weeks previously. So why had they backed down, and why had no one informed Louise?

Having been at her new address for over a year now, Louise had stopped having her mail redirected. However, when she made enquiries, it appears that Ealing sent the letter of cancellation to her old address. Doh!

Each of the documents from the Northampton Traffic Enforcement Centre is clearly rubber stamped with a note which says : “ATTENTION LOCAL AUTHORITY, Please note Respondent change of address“.

So which bit of “change of address” don’t you understand Ealing? You are a Local Authority, aren’t you?

The letter apparently says that they are going to reset the PCNs and presumably re-issue them. So where will they send these re-issued PCNs? To her old address? In which case she won’t get them (again) and in six months time the bailiffs will be calling (again) and she will be taking a trip to Brentford County Court (again)…

In the words of the ‘Groundhog Day’ movie script:

Phil: Do you know what today is?

Rita: No, what?

Phil: Today is tomorrow. It happened.


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