16 December 2008

Bureaucratic Wastage

This could be also called “Mad Update on the Update”.

We are told that we live beyond our means.

That the State is short of money, that the Government needs to save everywhere it can.

To this effect, last October, our new Finance Minister, supported by various colleagues, proposed a range of cutbacks for the next year. Following on the announcement made regarding the Disability Allowance, I had taken my cue from Down Syndrome Ireland and joined in the protest with a volley of emails. As we know, the Government did a somersault on this proposal, it was rescinded, things went back to where they were. In short, the matter was closed, as if it never happened – except for the psychological impact left with people with disability and their families, but this is another story…

Image my surprise when, late last week, a full 7 weeks after my original email, I received an email from the office of our Minister for Social & Family Affairs.


“Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Social & Family Affairs has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your recent e-mail regarding Disability Allowance and to say that the matter is receiving attention.”


… OKAYYYYY. A bit late, wouldn’t you say?

Has the proposal not been reversed?

Imagine my surprise when I got home this evening and found in my letterbox a note from… yes, you guessed right: the same minister’s office! And it told me the following:


“Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Social & Family Affairs has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your recent e-mail, which was forwarded to her by Brian Lenihan T.D. Minister for Finance, regarding Disability Allowance and to say that the matter is receiving attention.”



Let’s think a second.

Someone found my email to Mary, and took the time to respond, not quite a mail shot, my full name is on it. Say that took about 3 minutes of a civil servant’s time.

Then someone found my email to Brian and passed it on to Mary – let’s say another 1 minute.

Then someone in Mary’s office personalised the standard answer, printed it (using headed paper, include the cost of that page), put it in an envelop (include the cost of the envelop), franked it (54 cent, as it’s 1 cent cheaper if franked rather than with an actual stamp – Woa! 1 cent saved! That will help!) and dropped it in the mail bag – for argument sake, let’s say 8 minutes.

Total: cost of 1 envelop, of 1 headed page, of franking, and of 12 minutes of a (probably junior) civil servant.

Multiply that by the thousands of complaints regarding the 3 main reversed and now defunct budget proposals… Mind Boggling!

Whereas all that was needed, once the proposal was reversed, was:
(= bureaucratic lingo for DELETE).

Estimated time: 5 seconds

My question is: is the extra 1% income tax I am going to pay from next January meant to be financing this kind of waste???

Mr Lenihan, if ever you come across this post (though unlikely, stranger things have happened), please respond.


Jeffrey Goble said...

Well, at least they responded.
Just shaking my head with you. . .

Sesame said...

Aww Nan don't even start me on the waste issue...got a letter couple months ago from the HSE just making sure Babs was still autistic so I could still receive the Domicillary Care Allowance...as far as I'm aware a cure has not been found for autism..Assume I'm not the only parent of a child with autism to receive these letters...when will they cop on....aargggghhhh

Nick McGivney said...

You're not suggesting that there's waste in our bureaucracy are you Nan? That kind of seditious and unpatriotic talk will mean we'll all have to move to Lisbon. How could I stand that weather!

Nan P. said...

Nick, all I can say is:


jazzygal said...

Oh, so typical Nan P!

Why is it, that when times were good it took til nearly the end of the celtic tiger for special needs kids to be considered for the spread of our accumulating wealth. It started, slowly, with Min Hanafin's (!)increased numbers of SNA's (for which I'm very grateful!)and the Epsen Act came towards the end. Never be any good for me BUT would (or should if implemented as planned)be helpful to lots of others.

Then of course the downturn begins and who are one of the first affected? The most vulnerable in our society.....kids and special needs kids. I don't get it, I really don't. Of course cutbacks are needed, but in this area?? How exactly does denying absolutely neccesary services to kids help the economy?? Longterm? And then they have to rub salt in the wounds by reducing tax relief on medical expenses. If you are lucky enough to be able to pay privately for OT or SLT services you now only get relief at 20%. Wrong, so wrong.

Sorry for the rant Nan....you started me off! Good on Ya!