When an organisation or individual has a problem, until that organisation/person admits to themselves and others that they have a problem that problem will not be addressed.
Thus we should all feel rather depressed to read that according to The Parliamentary Ombudsman three government agencies (including, surprise surprise, HMRC) have not had the guts to own up to problems, and have instead played the old political game of passing the buck and blaming each other.
Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has published a report "A Breach of Confidence" which noted that the 3 agencies (HMRC, Child Support Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions) collectively failed to deal with a data mistake (first reported in 2006), which led to a woman's personal and financial information being wrongfully disclosed to her former partner, and her child support payments being reduced without her knowledge.
In 2006 one of the agencies incorrectly updated her records to show her living at her former partner's address, although she had in fact never lived there.
Not unreasonably the woman was pissed off, and tried gain assurance that the mistake had been corrected.
As is the way with brain dead "jobsworth" government agencies, she was passed from pillar to post. No one was prepared to accept responsibility.
Polticians and government departments are incapable of admitting responsibility for mistakes, which is why their remit over our lives should be minimised.
The ombudsman's report concluded that, in effect, the agencies were useless and dishonest:
-The computer systems used by the 3 agencies could make changes to the woman's data without her knowledge or consent. However, for reasons that no one has yet explained, the networks cannot identify the source of any errors.
Does anyone seriously believe that master data changes cannot be traced to source?
- The 3 brain dead agencies blamed each other and, of course, "the system". Thus, they concluded, "nothing could be done".
As we know, IT systems are only as good as the data input and their underlying programing (ie cock ups happen because of the human element, not the machine element). The fact that the agencies concluded that "nothing could be done" speaks volumes about their attitude to the people who pay for their existence (ie the taxpayers).
Is it not ironic that the IT systems of the 3 agencies are able to communicate, yet the human "jobsworth" members of these organisations won't communicate with each other?
The good news is that this troika of uselessness have been instructed to apologise, and to pay £2K compensation.
The enemy of the people has become the state, it has manifestly failed in its duty of care, efficiency and probity and needs to be cut back root and branch!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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