I’m having terrible trouble with Haringey’s new IT system and parking. It seems to be the most incredibly incompetent and malevolent bit of technology ever devised. It does not work! I haven’t been able to find any group campaigning to rectify this. Millions of taxpayer pounds will have been spent on it. Is there not a groundswell of public rage over it? There ought to be! It’s driving me a bit mad!
it does not recognise me as a resident of Haringey ( been here 36 yrs) because it can’t verify me against the electoral register (been on it 36 years), nor can it check me against Council Tax payments (been paying since the beginning). As proof of residency and vehicle ownership it wants photos of driving licence and DVLA V5C form. I do this and it rejects the photos! There’s a comprehensive list of file categories that it accepts for photos, but anything from my IPhone appears not to qualify. I spent plenty of valuable time on the web trying to find out how to convert my photos, with little result until I discovered this easy fix which I now share with fellow citizens (I don’t know what happens with Android and other tablets):
1. Take photo of documents with phone
2. Attach them to an email and send them to yourself
3. This converts them to JPEG which the System accepts
I have, finally, been able to register for a residents parking permit, but I could not have done it online by myself - I needed the guidance of a human on the other end of the phone (a call for which I had to wait 88 minutes!). Fortunately for me, this particular human had the knowledge and authority to fast track the verification of my application because my permit was expiring that day - Normally there would be a delay of several days before you’d finally be accepted (all this, of course, in spite of the fact that I’ve had a resident permit and purchased many a visitor voucher since parking restrictions were introduced; not to mention that I already have a Haringey account that’s fully recognised and confirmed! )But that is not the end of the story. Oh no! We’ve got the builders in so I needed ‘virtual visitor permits’. Hey ho here we go!:
Not so fast, sonny boy! You may have been ‘qualified’ (their word, not mine) as a resident permit holder but you’re not yet qualified as a buyer of ‘virtual visitor permits’! No siree! Yes, you must now go through the same process you did for the residents permits. And no, they still can’t check you against CouncilTax and Electoral Register; you must upload your photos to prove it all over again! Again, I needed human assistance for this (half hour wait on the phone) but I got registered in the end, Again, I was told there should be a delay of some days before this ‘qualification’ could be accepted but my advisor said she could expedite this immediately and I was able to buy 2 virtual permits to use the following day. When I looked at my ‘Account Summary’ the next day, my ‘status’ as a ‘virtual permit’ buyer was marked as “Rejected”! This prompted another long wait on the phone, the upshot of which is I can now purchase ‘virtual visitor permits’ - but my ‘status’ remains as “Rejected”! What can I say: Go figure! So, back to the actual purchase:
you have two options: a whole day permit for £4 or an hourly permit for £0.83. What about the 2 hour visitor permit, I hear you cry. They don’t exist; dead and gone; deceased. Never mind that Haringey is spattered all over with 2 hour parking restrictions! So, to cover 2 hours you will need to apply for two 1 hour permits. Ok, should be easy enough! Ha ha! First off, you have to go through the address farago again - ie they can never automatically conjure your address from the post code; every time you purchase something you have to put it in manually; somehow it always happens that you end up writing out your postcode 3 times, and then, as a final two finger salute, you have to put in your country! Yes, this is essential information if you want a visitor parking permit! Never mind, of course, that you are applying from your verified Haringey account that has all your verified details in it! But that’s not all! Oh no! I think this is the best bit!:
You can buy several at one time - 9, I think - and they remain in your account until you use them. In your account you can see how many you have and the option to “activate”. You click Activate and up comes a box: enter Reg number of vehicle; then there’s the date. I say ‘the’ date because there is only one option - the date on which you’re physically doing this. You absolutely cannot programme this date nor the time of day you want the permit to start! Furthermore, when you Activate on the day the visitor is due, you can only Activate at the very time the permit should begin. Our restriction is from 10am to Noon, so I have to buy two single ones to start at 10am and 11am. I cannot, for example, when having my first cup of tea at 7.30am think: ‘I better Activate Bill’s visitor permit before I forget’. If you try, that time will come up and you cannot manually change it. However, you do get options of half hourly intervals. So, in this example, if I were to Activate at 7.30am, I would be able to select 9.30 am or 10.30am. So, yes indeed, it looks as though, if I were to Activate at 8am precisely, I would be able to select a 10am start. And, if I could be quick enough, I could then Activate the 11am permit at the same time - I don’t think it would be possible to do it that quickly though. What would happen is you’d end up Activating the 11am permit at 8.02am which would give you the option of starting the second permit at 11.02, thus leaving the vehicle illegally parked for 2 minutes (which, as we all know - and which is constantly confirmed by Sod’s Law - is the very moment the traffic warden comes by and gives you a PCN). So, if you wanted to pre-Activate the 11am permit, you’d have to wait until 9am or 10am or 11am precisely!
What I have done is buy a full day permit (costing more than twice as much as the 2 single hour ones) - and my Master Plan hinges on claiming back a refund because the procedure for the hourly ones is unconscionably arduous and practically impossible. The full day one lasts from 00.00.00 to 23.59.59 on the day of use - no issues at all! Easy peasy! Sensible, even! So why can’t there be a 2 hourly one that automatically selects the 2 hours pertaining to particular Zone you’re in? Who knows!?
This new IT System now in use by Haringey was created by Civica. What it’s like doing business with the borough in all other aspects of local governance I do not know, but this Parking one is cringingly incompetent and must be sorted.
Bruce John (Lamond)
I too needed human intervention to register and it took 22 minutes for the call to Haringey Council to be answered, this was after over an hour of trying to do it myself and finding that after it registered that it had taken my money a notice came through that the process had failed, so I had no idea if I had a permit or not and I had already accrued a parking ticket.
On the plus side the person at the council could not have been more helpful particularly as the whole business had me near to tears. I really cannot cope with having to go through this whenever a visitor calls so the lovely person at the council has made an appointment for me to have an interview to see if I will be able to receive paper ones; this is available to people who have concessionary permits. I am not anti tech but this system had me beaten.
Similar experience here. I also called the council after getting completely infuriated by the new online system.. Someone at the council must be spending all day fielding these calls. The person who helped me was also extremely courteous and helpful. Not the best use of council employees' time.
I did finally get the hang of the system.
So having talked by phone to Haringey Council and having wrestled with the IT system and made sure that the £33 I have paid and have a receipt for was actually for a virtual resident parking permit this morning I received a parking ticket!
I know I can contest it but this is not the point, I will now have to go in person to Marcus Garvey library on Monday morning to try to sort it out as for now I am using up the few visitors parking permits on my car to stop further tickets, so I am paying twice over!!! This is beyond frustrating!
Why is it that everything Haringey introduce is always a complete disaster? I would never ever expect anything this council attempts to be either a success, user friendly or inexpensive.
The old system WORKED so WHYYYYYYYYYY was it changed to this new CRAZZEEEEEEEEE one ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?????
There's another discussion thread on this topic. Merging the two may be heIpful.
In the meantime. Mr Lamond, I will tweet a link to your main post. Every little bit of publicity may help to waken a Haringeysaurus in senior management with power to tackle such problems.
Along the same lines, might I suggest an email to Zina Etheridge the Council's Chief Executive. I imagine that when people want ugently to pay the Council money, but are blocked from paying, this might be a priority issue on her To-Do list.
By the way, I'm glad to hear you've had effective assistance from lower level real staff who try to provide good services to Haringey residents. Confirmation of the wisdom of "Human By Default".
One day perhaps ...
Use the virtual parking permits tag below the original post.
P.S. I dimly remember a science fiction short story where someone is informed by the computer that no records of such person as them exists. Predictably the story was very short.
A more recent and imaginative version of a similar story.
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