Your Taxes go on Sex, Drugs, Vomiting and Fighting. The Rest is Wasted.

The Rural Payments Agency has failed to make payments to 93% of UK Farmers [Hat-tip: BurningOurMoney].

This isn't down to a dose of common sense, in which they decided to tell those rural scroungers to put away their begging bowls and get an economically viable job like the rest of us. Unfortunately the non-payments are merely down to incompetence on a grand scale.

But if the Rural Payments Agency isn't ... um... making rural payments what exactly ARE they doing?

Well, according to Reuters, they're taking drugs, vomiting, fighting and having sex:

Workers punished for naked pranks

LONDON (Reuters) - A government worker has been sacked and another demoted following allegations they were involved in serious misconduct, including leaping naked from filing cabinets and having sex in office lavatories.

Newspaper reports said staff at the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in Newcastle in northeast England also took drugs at work, brawled in the reception area and carried out pranks such as vomiting in cups and leaving them for other people to find.

"Action has been taken to strengthen RPA Newcastle with a senior manager drafted in to take charge while the investigation and series of disciplinary actions to resolve some instances of serious misconduct and behavioural problems there is concluded," the RPA said in a statement on Tuesday.

An investigation into the alleged misconduct was launched on May 24 after an internal memo was sent to managers by repulsed fellow workers, the statement said.

June 13, 2006 in Government Incompetence | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

119 Million Unanswered Calls

A while back I recounted my woeful experience attempting to call the Inland Revenue...

Whilst there are 100,000 bureaucrats, few seem to have mastered answering the phone.

For three days I encountered nothing but engaged tones, at all times of the day, on three separate numbers.

Well, it appears I wasn't the only one coming up against woefully managed government services.

The Register reports...

More than a third of calls to UK Government helplines fail to connect, according to information obtained by the Liberal Democrats.

It shows that since the beginning of 2003, more than 119m calls to Government departments about pensions, taxes and benefits ended in failure with callers either getting an engaged tone or abandoning the call because they had to wait too long. The worst offenders were the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs.

The latter is of course the Government service we all know and love hate as the Inland Revenue.

The Department for Work and Pensions? Well, whoever named it obviously had a sense of humour.

December 11, 2005 in Government Incompetence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Inland Revenue: Carrier Pigeons Faster


Recently I needed the Inland Revenue to send me some information.

I visited the Taxman's web site. It had over 800,000 pages, none of which told me my local tax office.

I looked through an alphabetical list of bureaucrat havens, and guessed which three were most likely to be my local tax office, and called them each, repeatedly, for days.

Whilst there are 100,000 bureaucrats, few seem to have mastered answering the phone. After three days of engaged tones, I finally got through to my local office. Or so I thought.

"Your local office is Chappel Wharf", I was told by the London office.
"Your local office is London", I was told by Chappel Wharf.
"Oh no it's not, try Chappel Wharf", said the London office (which is actually in Cardiff).
"No, really, contact London", said Chappel Wharf.

A helpful bureaucrat offered to have my record transferred to his office. Transferring the electronic ownership of the record would take two seconds.

Sorry, I mean two DAYS.

And sending out a letter to me would take another week.

A week and a half later, I called to enquire why I had yet to receive anything. They told me the reason: It takes The Inland Revenue THREE WEEKS to electronically transfer ownership of a tax record between its offices.

...if you're lucky. It could take longer. And during this time, nobody anywhere can modify your record.

When my record was finally transferred, the Inland Revenue told me they hadn't a clue who I work for, despite the fact that my employer had been paying them thousands of pounds in taxes on my behalf, for years.

In the interests of efficiency, I'm tempted to write to the Inland Revenue, suggesting that it speed up electronic record transfers by hand-copying the tax records on to rolls of parchment, dispatching them by carrier pigeon, and getting monkeys to type up the scrolls at the other end. It would be faster, more accurate, and quite possibly cheaper than the current electronic system...

(Pigeon Image copyright Ed Crowle, Some rights reserved. Yes, I know it's not a CARRIER pigeon.)

Update 11 Dec 2005: Figures released under the freedom of information act show that 1 in 3 calls to government goes unanswered. The Inland Revenue Indolent Revenue is one of the worse offenders. Just one of the worst offenders.

November 14, 2005 in Government Incompetence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack