Thursday 10 January 2013

HMRC's £8 Lever Arch Files

My thanks to a loyal reader who alerted me to HMRC's use of "bog standard" lever arch files, for which they apparently pay a staggering £8 each (a 30 second online search indicates that you can buy these at below half that price - before any bulk discounts):
"'volume discount'? like the £8 HMRC pay for each of the cheap as chips Banner lever arch file we use?!"
I am having trouble believing that HMRC would pay quite so much for such a simple product, as such I will tweet HMRC to ask the price they pay and also submit an FOI.

However, given that I don't expect an answer anytime soon (if at all), in the meantime if anyone has a copy of an invoice/proof of price paid please feel free to send it to me.


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  1. It should be easy to get some answers, don't forget they have some form of on-line ordering against cost centre codes using catalogues from suppliers.

    And for a paperless society - what is I.T. for after all, wonder what their printing paper costs are these days. I remember 1 team used to create documents, print them, copy them and then send them via e.mail as attachments! LOFL or what?

    Yes, you could not dream it up could you? Economies of scale, my arse!

  2. All confidential paper is securely disposed of and recycled - then sold back to Hmrc! If its not of a good enough quality for Hmrc (if you can call what they get quality) then the paper is sold to....the NHS. Wonder what they use that toilet paper for. Oh...
    Ps I wouldn't just look at the files Ken, I'd look at all stationary if I were you. When I used to work there I never used ther stationary - Tesco was cheaper, larger quantities and better quality!

  3. the procurement contract was recently renewed ...

  4. The horrible recycled paper costs more than proper ones but HMRC justifies the higher cost on 'sustainability' grounds!

  5. If, as I suspect, paper useage (wastage) has increased, then sustainability is a misnomer. They have to pay to have the damn stuff shredded, at which point they cease ownership, it then goes for recycing and processing and becomes recycled, at which point they pay over the odds, probably with no volume discount FFS!

    It is all smoke and mirrors, its not their money so why should they worry about discounts etc?

    Anyone asked how much it costs to move a PC from one desk to another? You might be surprised as well as disgusted.

    get an FOI on Mapely non-adherence to H&S and fire regulations when it comes to buildings - more surprises. One of their largest buildings had firedoors that were so poor that the seals wouldn't stop smoke and heat to such an extent the Fire Brigade had to warn them twice and almost caused the building to be closed before remedial work was undertaken.

    Other SNAFU's have included obstructing fire escape routes with boxes of files, whiteboards etc. and then moving the whiteboards to clear the obstruction but then finding they have now obstructed the fire extinguishers! Of course, an inanimate object like a whiteboard couldn't cause problems, could it? Yep, they were so dangerous because of the lack of space in a lot of offices that people were tripping over the wide legs. Solution, application of hazard marking sticky tape and retention of whiteboards!!!

    Then there was the evacuation of a set of offices because of a suspect package in the post room, did they evacuate staff via nearest fire escape or safe secondary route, nope, they made the staff walk past the postroom, despite protestations from those that new the risks, not only did this put the staff at risk from immediate contamination, it also risked spreading the contamination to the outside world. Containment would have failed and the rest could have been history. Very luckily the package did not contain an airborne pathogen. Complaints were made, the management responsible still occupy the same positions. The opposition only has to be lucky once.

    HMRC management are useless, and at times plain dangerous, nobody takes them to task so the situations continue. Ce'st La Vie'

  6. Another example of HMRC wasting our money

    1. Yes, but who is actually running the event?

      Would it be HMRC, or maybe one of those common porpoise type organisations, with or without connections to past and present HMRC management maybe?

  7. Sorry, but what do you expect when you let an organisation be dominated by an obsession with 'outsourcing' and by management consultants?

    In the long, lost days when we were deemed by politicians and private-sector business gurus alike to be 'inefficient', if we needed stationery, the office budget holder would send someone straight out to the nearby branch of WH Smiths or John Menzies to get some. They'd then be reimbursed out of petty cash from the office budget.

    Then someone (no doubt on a very lucrative outside consultancy) deemed this to be 'inefficient' and decreed that there must now be one centralised contract with one lucky supplier which could then charge more or less what the hell they liked because offices were now absolutely forbidden to source any stationery from anyone but them.

    Result? Inevitable. The Dept. having to pay way over the odds (and wait far longer for supplies) because of the stifling, inflexible centralisation forced upon us by 'efficiency experts' brought in from the private sector and the acadmic world.

    A prime example of "Be careful what you wish for...".