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Breach of data protection - how serious is this and where do we stand?

(69 Posts)
Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:14:09

Myself and DH have lived in the UK for 7 years working and studying. I am an EU Citizen and DH is not. We sent our applications for permanent residency to the UK Border Agency last October and enclosed all the necessary supporting, original documents as proof of residency and excercise of Treaty Rights in the UK for the past 6-7 years. The supporting documents included not only private information, such as wage slips and P60-forms and tenancy agreements, but also sensitive information, such as DH's national security clearance including his CRB, which he needs to have done every two years for his job.

We were recently contacted via letter by a man unbeknown to us, who informed us, that he had been sent all our supporting documents by the UKBA in the post. The man had himself been an applicant for an EEA-permit. In his letter the man has enclosed pictures of our documents, which he took before sending them back to the UKBA together with a complaint (he has also sent us his complaint). Not only did the man receive all our documents, but these were sent together with his own in an unorganised stack, which he had to flip through in order to separate his own documents from ours! In addition to sending his letter and pictures of our documents to our present address, the man had also sent it to our two former addresses, as he had not been 100% sure which address was our present one. The man seems very sincere and we are very happy that he has contacted us, as we have certainly not heard anything from the UKBA even though the man had received our documents over a month ago.

We are obviously very upset by this and have now submitted our complaint to the UKBA. We understand, that should we not be happy with the outcome of our complaint, we can complain further to the Information Commissioner and our MP. We were just wondering, whether it might be worth it to also sue the UKBA, as we understand they are not liable to offer any monetary compensation and the ICO cannot make them. We don't have any money to spare for legal consultation though and fear it would be a lengthy and stressful process.. Where do we stand? How serious a breach is this in the grand scale of things? Obviously for us it is deeply distressing, but how common is this to happen..?

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:16:53

It was a mistake. A silly one, and one for which you deserve an apology.

Not one for which you deserve £££££s.

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:18:50

So £££s are only applicable if we end up victims of identity theft or similar?

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:19:01

(I actually find it more worrying that some random man is contacting you because my first instinct were this to happen to me would be to send the documents back to the BA so they could be returned/dealt with appropriately as quickly as possible. I wouldn't be p/copying them and stirring shit up with their owners)

How do you know he hasn't kept hold of them?

WeAreEternal Thu 07-Mar-13 09:21:51

I agree with*NotTreading*, You deserve an explanation and an apology. And the should definitely be an investigation as to how this could happen. However, this is not something that warrants monetary compensation IMO, just an apology, an investigation, and an assurance that it will never happen again.

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:22:10

I see what you mean and obviously there is no guarantee either way.. I should, however, think that such information should have been handled more carefully in the first place.

I despair of this culture where people expect money for every mistake. What are your actual monetary losses? I can't see that you have any. So what are you asking to be compensated for?

LoopDeLoops Thu 07-Mar-13 09:24:10

I think it's very serious.

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:26:00

For placing me in a position where my private information has been shared with a third party without justification and consent and making me a potential victim of identity theft.

ParsingFancy Thu 07-Mar-13 09:26:18

You should let the Information Commissioner know anyway, because they need to monitor this sort of breach.

I should think that will also stand you in good stead if some other bad does come of this, and you do in the future need to take legal action (pointless at the moment, I'd have thought).

And btw I think the bloke acted perfectly appropriately - the people whose privacy was breached will want to make their own complaints, which will make clear the seriousness of the incident and make it harder for UKBA to brush it under the carpet.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:26:30

"potential" being the operative word.

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:27:48

I appreciate it must have been a mistake. However, I cannot accept that such a mistake can just be brushed off. Also, it's not like our documents would have been neatly piled up separately and the man could have easily just picked up his own pile and sent ours back. They were all mixed up..

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:30:28

ParsingFancy, this is why the man has contacted us. We have been in regular contact since.

Yes it was a serious mistake, and you and the other man are perfectly right to complain. As a result, you can expect them to tighten up procedures and apologise. You have not lost any money as a result of this mistake, so why on earth would you expect to be compensated financially?

PatriciaHolm Thu 07-Mar-13 09:32:20

I don't think anyone's suggesting it be "brushed off", just that the consequences for the UKBA shouldn't involve paying you any money, as you have had no monetary loss, or anything that you need "compensating" for. Complain, escalate, make sure you get a satisfactory answer from senior management; don't sue them.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:32:38

They were all mixed up? How do you know? Because Mr Random Act of Kindness hmm told you? Is he after some comp as well?

Civil servants at the BA will be working on desks, with files, with documents attached to them. They will probably be working on more than one case at a time.

Until you log into your bank account and discover your existing £££s have vamooshed, (and then I'd be looking at Mr. Helpful there first) I think you're just being silly.

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:39:33

NotTreadingGrapes you seem to be taking this very personally shock!

ParsingFancy Thu 07-Mar-13 09:39:43

NotTreadingGrapes, you're making no sense. If Random Bloke were planning to commit fraud with this bonanza of private information, the last thing he'd do would be to contact Baloo or send the documents back to UKBA - who clearly didn't realise they'd sent them to him.

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:43:26

ParsingFancy, this was what we thought as well..

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 07-Mar-13 09:44:39

We had a problem 5 years ago when the courier delivered my children's new passports to the wrong address.

The person who received them was close enough to bring them to me in person.

I complained and received an apology along with being told the courier driver had been traced and spoken to about the seriousness of the matter.

Much better than my numerous complaints to Royal Mail over the years who saw no problem in mis- delivering exam certificates, children's application forms and putting a parcel in the good scraps recycle box.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:46:24

Not me.

Just agree with AgentP that this compensation culture for the slightest human error is absurd.

I would have been 100% on your side about some eejit sending important documents to the wrong person, and fighting your corner to demand an apology.

Then I read the bit about you wanting the £££££s and my sympathy evaporated.

ParsingFancy Thu 07-Mar-13 09:48:01

Baloo, I think you and Random Bloke are doing the right thing. It's a serious error by UKBA and they need to feel consequences.

However I agree with PatriciaHolm that those consequences are unlikely to include paying you money - even if you do suffer id fraud, they'll argue it must be from some other event.

Which is why I'm suggesting contacting the ICO regardless. They can build a bigger picture of whether UKBA is in the habit of such breaches, and wield a tolerably large stick. (Excuse me if I don't have much faith in UKBA getting its own house in order where an individual "We're ever so sorry, now fuck off" will do.)

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:49:36

Picturesinthefirelight thanks for sharing your similar experiences. Sorry to hear of the troubles you've had with these sort of things though..

I think all in all this thread has helped me gather my thoughts a bit. We are still waiting to hear from the UKBA and have decided to contact the ICO in any case, as clearly the UKBA will need to re-assess their processes. As stated previously, I realise that the caseworkers are handling several applications and going through many different applicants' documents on their desks at the same time. However, I think we are entitled to expect not to have our documents mixed in with someone else's and potentially lost all together.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 07-Mar-13 09:52:00

I notice from the website (just renewed passports again) that drivers are now required to photograph the houses they deliver passports to.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 09:54:24

Oh Christ on a bike. They'll all be moaning about having their houses' privacy breeched now.

<do think that is a bit weird though and wouldn't necessarily want my house on a photo down the DHL office>

Baloo1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:55:01

Picturesinthefirelight that's encouraging that they've clearly changed their procedures to avoid similar incidents!

RedHelenB Thu 07-Mar-13 20:22:42

Student loans company did the same to me, posting some random strangers bank statements etc in with mine.

FiveGoMadInDorset Thu 07-Mar-13 20:29:57

You are entitled to an explanation and an apology. I would be concerened that the man took photos of your documents. However, you shouldn't expect compensation unless you lose money, and seeing that any hacker worth his salt could get copies of any of your documents then no, I don't see why you should get financial compensation.

cumfy Sat 09-Mar-13 22:24:39

Is this guy's name similar to yours baloo ?

cumfy Sat 09-Mar-13 22:29:56

I think the UKBA should be fined. I know they won't be.

I really do not like the concept that there is no comeback for the UKBA and they can fuck around as and how they please, while collecting a cosy little pension.

ivykaty44 Sat 09-Mar-13 22:34:49

What losses have you incurred from this happening?

CardinalRichelieu Sat 09-Mar-13 22:37:21

The point of compensation is to cancel out loss you have suffered due to someone else's cock up. If you haven't suffered a loss, I don't see how you could be entitled to compensation. Yes, it is bad, but apart from complaining and getting an apology I don't really see what else there is for you.

NotTreadingGrapes Sun 10-Mar-13 12:07:10

Should the check out girl who accidentally overcharges us 20p also lose her pension?

Should the teacher who accidentally marks Junior's homework wrong when it was right lose hers?

The hairdresser who makes us look like a muppet?

The administrator who inputs a bit of data wrong?

Show me a human being who hasn't made a mistake at work that has had a greater or lesser impact on others....cumfy have you never made a mistake at work?? Honestly? Are you offering up your pension as well?

Exactly.

cumfy Sun 10-Mar-13 12:31:15

We all make mistakes.
I know I do, and I take full responsibility, when I do.

The examples you give are all slips of the finger or equivalent

Checkout girl corrects the mistake when it's pointed out or 20p.

Hairdresser loses a client and some reputation and the client can refuse to pay.

The administrator makes a slip of the finger. Entirely human. Keybard errors are entirely expected and forgivable.

...

Some fuckwit at UKBA can't be bothered to put documents in envelopes....
That is not a slip, they are a twat and should be replaced by someone on the dole queue who is prepared to put in the minimal effort and diligence required to effect such tasks.

OK so not on 1st offence but 2nd definitely.

Do you seriously have no standards NotTreading. grin

In any case I was simply making the point that giving the UKBA carte blanche in these circs is a green light for a slipshod culture, giving employees whom you might not feel confident can tie their own shoelaces an air of untouchability and power.

Is that what we want ?

AdmiralCurtain Sun 10-Mar-13 16:44:23

Actually (and completely off topic) reminds me of when I was very young working at a mortgage company were we had our own direct dial numbers which happened to have the same area code as my home number and I put my home number on a batch of letters that were sent out one day. My mom was very bemused with the wrong calls she kept getting until we put 2 & 2 together.
Mistakes happen however there were a couple of instances (not by me by the grace) where documents went to the wrong people and indeed the other person contacted the person direct as in this case and they were dealt with very seriously in house even though the end user may not have thought so however it was on a case by case basis as to whether it was continual bad habits or a one off out of character issue

ivykaty44 Sun 10-Mar-13 19:05:15

It is when the mistake is noticed, pointed out but still they did not rectify the situation - which was the case here. The other man let them know but they kept quite hoping the problem would go away - it was only due to the man contacting them that they knew

i opened a bank account, unknown to me the next people were also given my bank number and they set up a direct debit to come out of my account, they also deposited 8000 pounds in my account grin. Of course they noticed the money had disappeared and told the bank and the bank rectified their problem - but instead of rectify the whole problem and getting in contact with me they left it there with someone else having all my bank details - it wasn't until the bank sent me notification of me being overdrawn that I was aware there was something wrong - as the direct debit had still left my account to pay the other peoples bills, my statement showed the 8k coming in the 8k going out and then the bills leaving my account.

The bank had my name, address, passport photocopy, driving licence but didn't bother to contact me to say - we made a mistake can you come in to sort this out please

it is whether an organisation can be arsed to make sure they clear up their mistakes behind them or they just leave them to get found out by themselves.

insancerre Sun 10-Mar-13 19:10:24

About a million should cover it.

Baloo1 Sun 10-Mar-13 21:25:53

Hello all! I only noticed the new replies now: I had thought the topic was now closedsmile..

As stated previously, I appreciate that mistakes happen and that generally monetary recompense is only available in the event that there are actual losses. However, recompense/reimbursement and compensation to me mean two different things: compensation is meant to compensate for losses not covered by reimbursement of direct costs and could mean various indirect things that are difficult to quantify such as wasted time, loss of enjoyment and having to take unnecessary risks etc. Generally, you could expect a prudent person to have insurance cover for such eventualities and I am aware that insurance policies even exist for identity fraud. However, I don't think it's reasonable to accept anyone to have insurance cover in case the UKBA loses your supporting documents..

I would be happy to accept an apology if my Boots Advantage-card or similar was sent to a wrong address or I got wrong amount of change when buying milk. However, I think there is a difference in grade between such a minor incident and the one at hand: all my private and sensitive information from the past 6-7 years being sent to a completely random person by a public body, who is supported by the taxpayer is just not on. To top it off, we have still not been contacted by the UKBA, even though it's been over a month now.

The Data Protection Act provides that compensation is available for distress caused by a breach. This can only be awarded by the court and there are no amounts mentioned in the statute. It is good and right for the ICO to ensure that any breaches are being put right and that changes in procedures are implemented to avoid future mistakes. After all, this is what the ICO is there for! However, even if and when the ICO gets involved and slaps the UKBA on the wrists, we are still left with the fear that somehow our information will have been leaked and will be misused in the future! Therefore, the remedy secured by the ICO has been achieved for the public, but not directly to us as individuals. This is why I wanted to know, where we would stand, should be choose to pursue the matter further.

Shit happens, granted! But in most identity fraud cases, you cannot easily point to where the information was compromised, in this case you can..

Mendi Mon 11-Mar-13 16:58:27

OP, I'm a lawyer and deal with data protection issues quite a bit. If you were to issue a claim on the basis of the facts you've described, a court would give it very short shrift. The appropriate action is to complain to the ICO and let them fine the UKBA.

'Potential' loss is not a form of damage for which a court will award you recompense. The sort of 'distress' the Act covers is things like when your medical records showing that you have HIV are made public. Not the possibility that someone somewhere MAY try to steal your identity.

higgle Tue 12-Mar-13 15:51:29

OP, "compensation" is exactly that, you have no losses and you are not entitled to any compensation. Your attitude saddens me. How many times do you see people who have genuinely suffered losses say "I just want an apology" .

Baloo1 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:18:52

I give up! The general concensus appears to be that it's ok for a public body to make mistakes on such a scale, as long as they say they are sorry! That is what actually saddens me..

ivykaty44 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:26:04

The public body will face hefty fines, trouble is where do you think the money comes from to pay hefty fines? The tax payer who is paying for the public body and that's rather odd

What you want is compensation, but you faced no loss, so explain why you should receive money from the public purse

Baloo1 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:49:13

That is actually part of my point; as a taxpayer, I am paying for the fine issued by the ICO. So essentially, they make a mistake, say sorry and I pay for it... I probably wouldn't be so angry if someone would've actually bothered to contact us and explain what happened, and yes, apologise. The lack of contact, the fact that I am unable to open a savings account for DS and book tickets to visit my mother in the summer, as this unreliable organisation has my passport (hopefully, unless it was sent to someone else by mistake) is upsetting.

No-one's saying its ok for a public company to make mistakes, but what we are all saying is that mistakes happen, and for you to expect to get money because of a mistake, when you have suffered no financial loss, makes you sound greedy.

That money is the same money that pays for disability benefits, the NHS and schools. Yet still you feel entitled to it?

Baloo1 Tue 12-Mar-13 22:47:17

No, I don't feel entitled to the money that pays for disability benefits, schools and the NHS. That would certainly be greedy!

I do, however, feel entitled to not have to pay for the fine, to a timely acknowledgement of the error and an apology.

From the Parliamentary Ombudsman's most recent report on the UKBA's performance ( grim read to say the least..) I note that consolatory payments have indeed been deemed appropriate and subsequently awarded in several similar cases to mine (not factually identical, but serious handling mistakes). This of course raises questions on whether the UKBA in general is fit for purpose and appropriately using public funds, but that's a topic for another thread entirely..

tribpot Tue 12-Mar-13 22:51:25

Are you planning to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office?

Dromedary Tue 12-Mar-13 22:51:33

No one will give you compensation. I very much doubt that the organisation will be fined, unless perhaps there have been complaints about the same thing happening before. The ICO is a very weak organisation.

Baloo1 Tue 12-Mar-13 23:00:10

Yes, we will complain to the ICO unless we hear from the UKBA within a reasonable timeframe, which should be by the end of the month at the latest, as this will then give them a month to look into our complaint and two months into the complaint the other man made. I think we're being more than fair and it says on the ICO's website that you should give the organisation a chance to put things right first..

Baloo1 Tue 12-Mar-13 23:02:23

Dromedary, great! So there is no likely remedy for us as individuals or for the public!

Redbindy Tue 12-Mar-13 23:09:28

Baloo, how much do you think you should be entitled to?

Dromedary Tue 12-Mar-13 23:21:44

By all means put in a complaint, but don't expect much to come of it. If you want the error publicised, you might do better to notify a couple of newspapers.

Baloo1 Tue 12-Mar-13 23:24:48

Redbindy

www.ombudsman.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/673/UKBA-2010-02-09.pdf

Reading it makes me realise the catalogue of errors and maladministration is a frequent occurence in that institution.

WestieMamma Wed 13-Mar-13 09:33:16

OP it sounds to me like you're after punitive damages, ie compensation intended to punish the other party for their mistake. Some legal systems do make awards for this purpose but the UK isn't one of them. The UK legal system's purpose is to effectively reimburse your loss so you are in the same position you were in before the event occured. You would have to prove not only that they did wrong, but also that you suffered a loss as a result of that wrong. This is what previous posters have been saying, you can prove the first part, you can't prove the second part and what you're actually wanting doesn't even exist.

choccyp1g Wed 13-Mar-13 09:41:27

You might be able to get some money by selling your story to the newspapers.

Baloo1 Wed 13-Mar-13 16:51:09

WestieMamma, that was a helpful insight, thank you. I find that there has been a degree of perhaps cultural difference in the way of thinking illustrated on this thread, which is why the discussion has gotten slightly sidetracked..

Yes, that pretty much sums it up: I am after 'punishment' and not financial gain. I appreciate that compensation in monetary terms is not the obvious remedy for every situation and nor is litigation, which any normal person would obviously want to avoid at all cost. However, I find it very frustrating that an institution such as a UKBA, whose business it is to handle people's private information on a daily basis is failing at such a level and the possibility that they get away with such an error with simply a slap on the wrists makes me angry.

Mendi Wed 13-Mar-13 17:58:05

Why is it the UKBA's fault that you can't book tickets to see your mother in the summer? Is it because you think they won't have returned your passport by then? Or is it because you don't know your own passport number because you haven't got a note of it anywhere?

Just curious.

cumfy Wed 13-Mar-13 19:25:44

Baloo, have you seen much of Yes Minister ?

Much of the UK civil service aspire to the bureaucracy, unaccountability, smoke and mirrors that Sir Humphrey channels with such aplomb. He also has a teflon facade and its very true to life as well as quite hilarious.

Baloo1 Wed 13-Mar-13 20:06:11

Mendi I'm worried that my passport will not have been returned by the time I would like to travel. I understand that the UKBA aims to process applications within 6 months, but that deadline now nearly at hand, I am not confident that they might adhere to their promise. As I don't drive, my passport is my only I'd and I think I would need it anyway, as the UK is not part of the Schengen-area.

comfy, nope, have not seen that show, but can imagine where they get their inspiration from hmm..

Baloo1 Wed 13-Mar-13 20:07:17

ID, stupid phone..

Mendi Wed 13-Mar-13 20:51:18

You've got a few months left before summer; probably best not too worry too much about something that hasn't happened yet.

Baloo1 Wed 13-Mar-13 22:25:17

Yes, that is true.. I hope I will get my passport back at least by the end of April, as then I would still hopefully be able to get a good price on the tickets. I don't want to book before I have my passport back, as I wouldn't want to lose the money on the tickets just in case I won't have my passport by the time I need to travel..

cumfy Fri 15-Mar-13 17:11:39

I love the way that my endearing comments have persuaded the UKBA to seek my humble services via google ads -->

gringringringringringrin

cumfy as a former civil servant I take real exception to your remarks. We don't/didn't aspire to smoke and mirrors, most of us do/did a damn good job. Perhaps the problem is that people see those at the very top of the civil service as being representative of the whole service. Which is not the case for most of us.

I was a manager, but would not have tolerated the kind of mistake the OP has experienced. We dealt with people's personal information in my office and I had good staff who dealt with this information properly and in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

OP Please make a complaint. This kind of mistake shouldn't happen, no matter how overworked a caseworker is. They should have procedures to ensure checks are made to prevent this happening.

cumfy Fri 15-Mar-13 23:06:33

I was a manager, but would not have tolerated the kind of mistake the OP has experienced.

I'm curious; what practical powers did you really have as a manager Fry if this happened 1,2 or 3 times say or if staff blamed each other and/or union got involved ?

I thought the whole point of the civil service is that you can't be sacked.

NotTreadingGrapes Sat 16-Mar-13 06:11:03

Of course you can be sacked.

Have you actually telephoned the helpline to ask for progress on your case/your passports back? Have you checked that the man who received them and contacted you did actually send them back?

sarahbanshee Sat 16-Mar-13 06:43:12

I'm also civil servant and a manager in fact ( send for the flaming torches and pitchforks!)

Of course civil servants can be sacked. There is gross misconduct, and there is a poor performance management system with a progression of warnings, just like anywhere else. I will admit that the civil service historically has not always been as good at managing poor performance as it should - some managers have chosen to shift poor performers off sideways rather than deal with the problem - but from my experience working in the private sector you see that in large private sector organisations too, not just in the civil service.

What you describe having happened with your personal information is a clear and serious breach of the DPA and should be investigated swiftly. UKBA should be reporting this immediately to the ICO and finding out how this happened. You should of course get an apology and an explanation. I doubt you will get financial recompense as you haven't suffered any financial loss and I don't think the distress is demonstrated sufficient to meet the guidance. It is also unlikely that UKBA would be fined as this tends to be more for a major data loss - a disk full of hundreds of people's data going missing, for example - although there can be fines for consistent failures to have and/or follow correct policies and procedures.

But it is unlikely that the individual concerned will be sacked purely for this error unless they are already on a final warning or unless a deliberate and consistent flouting of data protection is discovered.

The vision one or two people on this thread seem to have of a highly paid, lazy so and so too busy counting their taxpayer funded loot to be bothered to care about handling people's info is very far from the truth in my experience and makes me sad. Mistakes like this often stem from administrative staff in low grades simply having far too much to do and in order to meet their targets, things get rushed and consequently either corners get cut or mistakes just happen. In my department - don't want to be identified but I work in an agency with some similar processing type responsibilities to UKBA - we have lost over 20% of our staff in the last 2 years but still have the same job to do and the same targets. We are trying so hard to make sure that this doesn't rebound on the public by increasing our error rate and as managers we are still doing everything we can to make sure everyone is following our procedures including protecting information but it is difficult.

Anyway OP this isn't really relevant to your situation. UKBA should have been in touch by now with an apology and an update on their investigation, so do contact them again and also speak to the ICO. But I would not hold out much hope of any money.

Baloo1 Sun 17-Mar-13 15:17:40

Hello all and thank you again for your comments.

I understand from recent headlines in the press that the UKBA has outsourced some of its work to a company called Capita, which has already been found to be using practices that breach the Data Protection Act www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2260667/UK-Border-Agency-contractor-hired-illegal-immigrants-send-TEXTS-warning.html

Again, I appreciate that the mistake that lead to our complaint might have been an isolated incident due to actions of an overworked and underpaid employee and the above article is a different issue all together. However, it's little consolation to us at this moment, when, after nearly two months after having submitted his complaint, the other man has still not been contacted. We have not yet been contacted either.

NotTreadingGrapes, the helpline cannot give any information regarding individual applications nor progress reports. They are there only to answer general queries. There is no one to call (believe me I've tried). They say they take 20 working days to get back to you after the complaint was made. We still have a few more days to go..

Cumfy I had practical powers but won't be detailing them here. Suffice to say really poor performers can and do get sacked, get reduced in grade, get moved to work that is of a less critical nature, all sorts of things, depending on the severity of the errors. The civil service these days has robust performance appraisal systems, and when I wrote them for staff I did mention areas they could improve in, with specific ways in which this could be done, along with target dates for noticeable improvement. I was lucky and had some seriously good people working for me.

And I was in the union too, the union plays a good part in a lot of things. But if someone's done things wrong and the manager goes through procedures properly then the union has nothing on which they can object. Most of the cases in the papers relating to unions going on strike over a staff dismissal relate to the managers not going by the book and doing things properly, so that people at least have a chance to put their side of things

However, the general public don't see the work we do, and are stuck with this image of "Yes, Minister".

And many parts of the public sector has outsourced a lot of the work to private companies, who have low paid workers chasing high targets in the way sarahbanshee describes. I think the work of the CSA was outsourced, to name one rather public section.

PlasticLentilWeaver Sun 17-Mar-13 20:11:30

What happened to the two copies he sent to previous addresses?

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