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  1. Good morning Firstly I wish to extend my thanks for providing the inspiration and the means to support the victims of unscrupulous behaviour. I would like to seek advice. I live in a borough with a known shortage of residential parking spaces. The Council acknowledge they issue more residential parking permits than spaces available. After a very late and long drive I was unable to park outside my house and so parked my vehicle at the end of my road. My vehicle was not visible from my window and I had no cause to walk past it for a few days. When I returned to my vehicle it was plastered with 3 x PCNs based on the fact that I had parked in a 'Business Permit Holders' only bay, which surprised me, because there are to my knowledge no businesses on this road. Considering there is a shortage of parking spaces I was surprised the Council would reserve spaces for businesses as it seems to perpetuate a known problem. I believed (and still do believe) I had reasonable grounds to appeal and did so. My first appeal was rejected so I appealed again providing much more evidence. My second appeal was rejected. The Council repeatedly ignored my attempts to discuss the matter further by telephone or in writing. I visited the Council offices and requested to speak to somebody, stating I would even be willing to pay the fines in spite of the fact I believed they were unfair, on the grounds that a member of the Council would speak with me so that I could ensure my concerns pertaining to confusing signage, inadequate lighting, etc. were at least acknowledged. I was refused an audience and was forced to wait for a Notice to Owner to appeal further, thus losing my right to pay the reduced fine. The Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service conceded that only 1 of the 3 fines was lawful and ordered me to pay (in full) the first of the 3 PCNs. At the time I was a student and only had £200 in my bank account. The £110 full fee thus represented over 50% of my entire life savings! I have now graduated and am seeking employment. I am receiving Jobseeker's Allowance and my bank balance has not improved! I would like to understand if there are any procedures I can follow to recover £55 from the Council. This is based on the fact that had they only issued me with 1 x PCN, I would have paid the reduced rate. I refused to pay on the grounds I was certain the Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service would cancel all 3 x PCNs because £330 (or even £165 at the reduce rate) was a ridiculous amount to charge somebody with only £200 in their bank account. Additionally I believe I still have more than legitimate grounds for the original appeal. There are a number of issues that were not acknowledged by the Council, including: - The 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign is unlit. I was unable to see it in the dark. It is also taller than the residential signs and thus harder to read in low light conditions. - The 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign refers to an 'outside area' but it is not clear what this area is. - The sign is not adequately differentiated from others in the road. I believe it is there as a 'trap' to make money from people, particularly seeing as there are no businesses down a road with a shortage of residential parking spaces. - The road markings are unclear. - Although I was parked within 10 metres of the 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign (the reason I believe Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service did not cancel the original PCN), I was parked within 5 metres of a 'Residents Parking' sign. Do I have any rights to further pursue this issue? Many thanks for your time.
  2. I lost my job about a year ago (the details are not relevant but see my other threads if you would like to know more) and have been looking for work ever since. I have applied for about a hundred jobs in the last twelve months - that might not sound a lot but I live in the middle of nowhere and there really isn't much on offer. About half the jobs I have applied for have been with the local council and through their website. There have been at least ten of those jobs which I felt suitable and two which I fulfilled every stated requirement in terms of quite specific experience yet I have not had a single interview. I initially felt that I had been discriminated against because of my age but wondered how on earth that could be proven. Then I started to wonder if the council ever recruited people who were not already employed by them. It was only when I mentioned this to people who may know, e.g. my adviser at the Job Centre and others who know the area well (I have only lived here for two years) that I started to hear the same story, that it is very difficult to get a job with the council unless you are already working there or have a relative who works there. Ironically, one of the questions asked on their site when applying for jobs is about whether or not you have relatives working for them. I am minded to submit an FOI request to find out what percentage of positions are awarded to non-employees. The more I think about it the more annoyed I get and it occurred to me that in fact they are all the employees of the council tax payers and there should not be any preference given to current employees. If it wasn't for the requirement for me to apply for a quota of jobs every week, I would not bother but it really feels like I am banging my head agains the wall and the more effort I put into my applications the more it hurts! I spent several days on a recent application trying to get everything perfectly worded and measured. Can anybody advise me either on the FOI aspect or the law in terms of the preference of current employees in recruitment, please?
  3. Hi Folks I am looking to find a mental health doctor who has recently moved out of our area. We have asked at the clinic where she was and they say they do not know. Obviously this is untrue because they would have to forward mail etc; and I have also enquired with all the local mental health admin offices and PALS etc to no avail. I am being told that she has moved out of the area and that they are not allowed to tell me where. We moved into the area and eventually received proper treatment for my daughter after being let down by previous local services several times over. Just as my daughter was building up a rapport with this doctor and she felt she was being listened to, the doctor left without notice. Not the usual transfer of a patient to a new doctor under controlled circumstances, but sudden cancelled appointment, gone, never to be seen again! I was wondering if she had moved to a nearby county where she could be contacted and perhaps seen privately for a short while to help my daughter with her issues, but I cannot get any help to contact the doctor. Can I make a Freedom of Information request about her location or email address? One email enquiry is all I would like to send and if no joy, to continue to try to work with what we have been left with? What are our rights, does anyone know or have experience in this? Many thanks for anyone taking the time to read and/or respond to me. JQ
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