PATROL (Parking and Traffic Regulations outside of London ) Adjudication Joint Committee
PATROL (PARKING AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS OUTSIDE LONDON) ADJUDICATION JOINT COMMITTEE
BUS LANE ADJUDICATION SERVICE JOINT COMMITTEE
Briefing Note for New Council Representatives
1. Introduction to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal is an independent tribunal where impartial lawyers consider appeals by motorists and vehicle owners whose vehicles have been issued with:
· Penalty Charge Notices (or have been removed or clamped) by councils in England and Wales enforcing parking under the Traffic Management Act 2004.
· Penalty Charge Notices by councils in England undertaking civil bus lane enforcement under The Bus Lane Contraventions (Penalty Charges, Adjudication and Enforcement) (England) Regulations (2005 SI No 2757).
The principal objective of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal is to provide independent, impartial and well considered decisions based on fact and law in a way that is user-focused, efficient, timely, helpful and readily accessible.
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal has its headquarters in Manchester but operates across England (outside London) and Wales with its Adjudicators and Hearing Centre Supervisors working remotely and from hearing venues in over 60 locations. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal deals with some 18,000 plus appeals per annum and has 23 Adjudicators including a Chief Adjudicator, 20 Hearing Centre Supervisors and twenty-two staff.
It is the Adjudicator’s function to independently decide the appeals and issue any directions required for the management of appeals.
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal comes under the supervision of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council which has established a Framework of Standards for Tribunals which states that tribunals should:
- Be independent
- Provide open, fair and impartial hearings
- Be accessible to users
- Focus on the needs of users
- Offer cost effective procedures
- Be properly resourced and organised
- Work with first tier decision makers to improve the “end to end” experience for the user.
Both parties, Councils and Appellants, have a right to a personal hearing, but alternatively may agree to have a telephone or postal hearing.
Technology is central to the whole operation with adjudicators accessing the tribunal’s case management system remotely. The Tribunal actively encourages parties to correspond with the tribunal electronically and is also actively encouraging councils to provide the facility for appellants to appeal on line.
For more information
For more information about The Traffic Penalty Tribunal, members are requested to:
· Visit the tribunal’s web site at www.trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.uk.
· Refer to the Adjudicators Annual Report – available through the web site.
2. Background to the Joint Committees
The PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee, formerly the National Parking Adjudication Service Joint Committee, has been established to enable Councils having Civil Enforcement Area Orders to exercise their functions under Section 81 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 and Regulations 17 and 18 of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007. These functions are exercised jointly with the other councils in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 16 of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007.
The functions exercised by the PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee on behalf of its constituent councils are appointing independent adjudicators to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (subject to the consent of the Lord Chancellor), providing these adjudicators with administrative staff and accommodation and providing hearing venues. Its remit in relation to the Tribunal is limited to these matters. The Joint Committee also undertakes such other associated functions as the Participating Authorities may lawfully arrange Joint Committee to perform as they from time to time consider appropriate.
The Agreement that regulates the setting up of the Joint Committee provides for one Representative for each constituent Council. Members of the Joint Committee need not be an “Executive Member” of their Council, but this is a matter for each Council to decide. If the nominated Representative cannot attend the meeting, provision is made for a named substitute to attend in his/her place.
In 2006 with the introduction of civil bus lane enforcement, it was agreed that there would be an integrated tribunal for parking and bus lane enforcement. However, there must be a separate Joint Committee, the Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee until such time as both areas of enforcement are governed by the same legislation i.e. the Traffic Management Act 2004. Where councils enforce bus lanes, they are required to become a member of the Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee.
3. Role of Joint Committee Members
The role of Members of the Joint Committee is to oversee the functions of The Traffic Penalty Tribunal as an Independent Tribunal.
There is not a role as such in respect of the parking/bus lane enforcement activities of the Local Authority they represent on the Joint Committee nor do members have the remit to discuss or influence Adjudicator decisions. The independence and integrity of the tribunal is paramount.
Typically agenda items will include:
- Appointment of adjudicators
- New member councils
- Budget monitoring
- Governance Matters
- Service Charges to user councils
- General progress and service standards
- Establishment of Sub Committees and Advisory Board.
- Other relevant items of interest to the Joint Committee in exercising its duties
Members elect a Chair, Vice Chair and in the case of the PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee, an Assistant Chair. Meetings are attended by the Chair of the Advisory Board, the Chief Adjudicator and Head of Service.
The Head of Service presents reports to the Joint Committee meetings on behalf of the Lead Officer in relation to administrative matters and the Chief Adjudicator presents on judicial matters, administrative responsibilities delegated to her within the scheme of delegation and the Annual Report of the Adjudicators.
4. Joint Committee Primary Objectives
The agreed primary objectives of the Joint Committees are the provision of:
a) A fair adjudication service for Appellants including visible independence of adjudicators from the authorities in whose areas they are working.
b) Consistency in access to adjudication.
c) A cost effective and equitable adjudication service for all Parking Authorities and Bus Lane authorities in England and Wales.
d) Flexibility to deal with a wide range of local authorities with varying levels of demand for adjudication.
In addition, the Joint Committee oversees any agreed PATROL initiatives e.g. commissioning Independent Reviews and the provision of public information.
5. Joint Committee Meetings
The annual meeting of the PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee takes place in June each year in the Birmingham area.
In addition the Joint Committee has established an Executive Sub Committee which meets twice a year in January and September, again in the Birmingham area. Where possible, Bus Lane Adjudication Joint Committee meeting are scheduled to coincide with the January, June and September meetings.
The PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee has also established an Executive Sub Committee (Wales) with specific reference to matters arising from the separate regulations for the civil enforcement of parking in England and Wales.
Members are encouraged to attend in order to broaden their appreciation of the functions of the Joint Committee. In addition to local authority councillors and officers, the Joint Committee meetings are attended by the Chief Adjudicator, Chair of the Advisory Board and Head of Service. Local authority officers are also welcome to attend.
Notices and papers in
respect of Joint Committee meetings are issued by the Lead
Authority. Please note that, in the interests of efficiency, papers
will only be issued to councillors who have confirmed that they
wish to attend.
In addition, prior to each meeting Democratic Services Departments within each member authority will be notified of the publication of papers and provided with a link to a web version for reference purposes. Papers for the meetings are posted on the PATROL web site.
Any queries in relation to meetings can be addressed to the Head of Service.
6. Lead Authority and Lead Officer Role
Because the Joint Committees have no corporate status and cannot therefore contract, one of the constituent Councils has been appointed Lead Authority to enable goods and services to be provided on behalf of the Joint Committees. The responsibilities of the Lead Authority are set out in the Joint Committee’s agreement and within the Scheme of Delegation. Initially Manchester has been appointed the Lead Authority.
The Joint Committees have delegated decision making in relation to the majority of day to day matters to a “Lead Officer” (initially the Lead Officer is the Chief Executive of Manchester) or to the Chief Parking Adjudicator/Bus Lane Adjudicator, depending on the subject matter. For the most part the Head of Service of Joint Committee Services acts on behalf of the “Lead Officer”.
Except in the case of urgent business, the Lead Officer, in exercising the functions delegated to him, is required to consult with an officer working party (the Advisory Board) comprising the Lead Officer plus up to eleven people, including: seven representatives of local authorities with at least one representing: an English Authority; a Welsh Authority; a District Council; a County Council; a Unitary or Metropolitan Council and a bus lane enforcement council. Representatives of the Department for Transport and National Assembly for Wales have been appointed members of the Advisory Board. There are also two other representatives, a lay member with tribunal experience, and a representative from a motoring organisation. The Advisory Board will have considered all papers being recommended to the Joint Committee.
7. Joint Committee Agreement
The form of the PATROL Adjudication Joint Committee and Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee Agreements, the articles by which local authorities becomes a member of the Joint Committee, has been the subject of detailed negotiations between the initial parties. Their final form has been approved by leading Counsel. For this reason it is requested that joining councils do not seek to make changes to the terms of the Agreements.
Whilst the Agreements provide for the terms on which the Joint Committees are to operate, including making provision for the joining of new members and for the appointment of a Lead Authority, they do not set out in detail the amount of contributions required from member councils. These contributions are decided by the Joint Committee and are set at a level which should not be prohibitive to any council wishing to join the Joint Committee. These charges will be reviewed annually by the Joint Committees at their January meetings.
8. Public Information
The Joint Committee has approved the provision of common public information on civil enforcement on behalf of local authorities. A public information web site is in operation at www.patrol-uk.info.