Fixed Penalty notices have been in use for many years. They were originally used for road traffic offences especially ones which didn't involve the imposition of penalty points such as driving in a bus lane. The noughties saw an expansion in use to include penalty for a number of alcohol related and public order breaches such as drunk and disorderly, drunk and incapable or a breach of the peace, causing harassment, alarm or distress.
Signing to accept a penalty notice isn't an acceptance of liability. It is perfectly proper to accept a penalty notice and refuse to pay it. it may well that the matter is then the subject of court proceedings commenced by postal requisition. It may however be that a prosecution is not thought to be in the public interest and the matter may wither and die.
This strange form of quasi judicial punishment has been the governments chosen means of enforcement for breaches of the Covid Regulations. Those organising larger events - from perhaps 10 or 15, too as many as 5 or 6 thousand, may be in the region of £10,000 penalties. Individuals breaching the regulations could originally be fined £200 but this has recently been quadrupled.
Again, there is nothing wrong with refusing to pay a penalty notice, but it does seem that these refusals are likely to result in court action.
There are plenty of basis for defending a notice, it may be there was no breach, for example no inappropriate travel or a legitimate reason for meeting with another such as exercise. It may be that, although in the vicinity, there was no attendance at a particular event. It may be that rather than organising an event someone had just agreed to loan the equipment that was then being used by others for mass entertainment.
It is important to consider before paying any penalty notice whether or not you really have breached the law or regulation in question. it is important to remember that the penalty may come up on a future CRB search although in fairness this is often not the case. legal aid may well be available to defend any court proceedings that are brought although this may depend on means.
If you receive a fixed pen notice of any sort and you are uncertain about what to do, pick ip the phone and call The Johnson Partnership for immediate relevant discrete and sympathetic advice.