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to think this is petty bureaucracy - unneccasry and totally unjustifiable?

(31 Posts)
aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 19:32:00

Student Finance have just asked to see my son's birth certificate for the fourth time.

They already have it on record from the last 3 times it's been presented to them, but as I have had a gap of 2 years (to have a baby), they want to see all my documents yet again. While I think it's a monumental waste of time to make me present documents they already have copies of when I'm returning to the same course at the same uni, I can kind of understand them wanting to see my passport etc - I could have changed my name or nationality in that time.

But my the record of my son's birth doesn't change. Nor is it anything special that I have it - anyone can request a copy of a birth cert from the Records Office.

Sending them another photocopy of it is just a waste of time, pure and simple, isn't it?

WooWooOwl Fri 28-Feb-14 19:45:12

YABU. It's been two years!

It's a not of a waste of your time, yes, but it probably saves them time if the can get you to just hand it over instead of having to search for it in records two years old.

Seeing as it's you that wants the finance, it's really not that bad that they ask for it to be your time that's wasted rather than theirs.

EduCated Fri 28-Feb-14 19:49:09

Tbh you had me with the first two words of your post. YANBU at all. They told me they didn't need to see my documents. Then two months later as part of a 'spot check' I had to present them within a week or have my finance stopped hmm

And they sent the letter to my parents address, despite having my term time address on file, so it was lucky I got the letter in time at all.

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 19:52:37

They won't have to search for anything. They have an electronic copy attached to my file.

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 20:00:12

When I send in another copy,:

- someone has to open it
- they add a note to the system that it's been received
- Then they have to scan it onto the system
- then store the paper copy somewhere. T
- hen there may be another step to check it's correct, if they're not efficient enough to have the person who scanned it do that.
- Then, when they've processed everything, someone else needs to post it back to me. (I'd forgotten about that bit, I think it may be the original they need to see).

Or, they could just look at the copy they already have and tick a box.

There is no reason I can fathom to go through this charade, it doesn't save them time at all.

lljkk Fri 28-Feb-14 20:02:25

I worked at a University for 12 yrs where I got my phD.
8 yr break, back at same Uni.
They demanded to see paper proof of my PhD.
Couldn't make it up, could I. hmm

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 20:11:31

EduCated I agree absolutely, changing the goal posts is also a big problem.

Also for some reason, the staff who answer the phone seem to feel empowered to just make stuff up if they don't know the real answer. Both DP and I studied at the same time. I've lost count of the times they told us we would absolutely, definitely get money in 3 weeks (or whatever) only for no money to appear.

DP didn't get his money till December last year (should have been October) despite several promises to the contrary because they have such appalling systems and processes in place. I was an intermitting student with a baby at the time, so our only income was DP's Student finance, we were getting to the point where we couldn't afford for DP to get to uni, and he was seriously considering quitting uni half way through his final year, to get a crap job, as we could we weren't far off having no money for food. We were nearly at the limit of our credit cards, in other words. We'd meant to keen them for emergency but we had to use them to live on while waiting for SFE to pull their fingers out of their arses. If we'd been 18 year olds with no access to credit, I've no doubt DP would have had to leave his degree.

So, some history, here, yes!

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 20:12:33

lljkk that's ridiculous!

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 20:24:29

They also made DP present all his documents again for his third year. He did a degree which comprised a 2 year foundation degree, then a final year top-up.

As far as SFE was concerned, he was a new student, as he was starting a new degree.

I asked why that was necessary, and they said to protect against identity fraud. But that's nonsensical. DP was returning to the same uni, with the same lecturers, to continue study, while living at the same postal address, using the same bank account, and the same SFE account, which he accessed using the same password etc. If someone managed to be a master of fraud & disguise enough to pull off that trick without the people who'd been teaching him for 2 years to notice, I doubt it would be hard fro them to get hold of a few documents!

I can't understand why someone at SFE wouldn't see that it makes sense to waive that requirement for top-up students returning to the same uni with no change in circumstances. Their staff must spend an immense amount of time processing documents for returning top-up students, for no good reason.

Crowler Fri 28-Feb-14 20:26:37

Maybe they're not supposed to retain that kind of information for privacy purposes?

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 20:28:24

Even if they didn't retain it, they have proof that they've seen in and verified it. That should be enough - unless they don't trust their own systems / staff?

I worked in admin for years. I know bad processes when I see them! Very frustrating that I can't put them right in this case.

Crowler Fri 28-Feb-14 20:29:25

Fair enough. I work in software and I find redundant processes terribly frustrating. You would never build a workflow this way.

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 20:33:36

I'm studying digital media. I also hate redundant processes grin

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 21:11:59

I think I'm going to make a formal complaint, next week, about both the birth cert thing and the top-up year thing. I want them to change their process, if not for me, for others in the future.

Actually, they should thank me, if they change their processes it'll save them 1,000s of hours! (They won't thank me though!)

Nocomet Fri 28-Feb-14 21:24:13

"Ours not to reason why?"

University admin and student finance have never been known for making any sense or applying logic.

They managed to get my maiden name, my married name and my first name wrong on different occasions.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Fri 28-Feb-14 21:28:54

If you have a blanket procedure you protect your organisation from accusations of discrimination or bias.
so same forms or whatever, regardless anything and you tick the same boxes for each and every person as standard.
you dont have to think or make choices or anything that could lead to human error.
And so on and so forth.
I bet thats it.

BoffinMum Fri 28-Feb-14 21:30:22

This counts as excessive processing, I think, under the Data Protection Act, so refuse via email on the grounds that they have already seen it three times, and copy in their boss.

BoffinMum Fri 28-Feb-14 21:31:04

ISee, I work in universities and a lot of this is because they can't be arsed to look, believe me. wink

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 21:33:53

Anyone can get a birth cert. All they're doing by seeing a birth cert is confirming the record of my son's birth. Anyone can get a birth cert for anyone else, there's nothing special about me having it, in terms of proving DS's existence (they ask for proof of child benefit and child tax credits also, that's the proof I care for him).

If they recognised in their systems that once they'd seen a birth cert, they don't need to see it again, it'd save everyone time, including them. No one could accuse them of bias for that.

Honsandrevels Fri 28-Feb-14 21:34:26

When I was a student for exemption from tuition fees I was expected to send my father's death certificate to the local authority every year. I complained and wasn't asked again! They can and should keep things on record.

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 21:35:19

BoffinMum that's interesting. I'll look up "excessive processing" in the DPA and use it in my complaint, thanks smile

aufaniae Fri 28-Feb-14 21:37:12

Honsandrevels that's horrendously insentitive sad

Honsandrevels Fri 28-Feb-14 22:03:08

Yes, I thought so. All they need to do is note they've seen a certificate surely. I hope they take your complaint seriously.

EduCated Fri 28-Feb-14 22:37:10

Just remembered as well, whenever I phoned up, there was the automated bit where you have to put your ID number in, and your date of birth, I.e. DD/MM. Except it kept rejecting mine and telling me I'd got it wrong.

That's right, they were telling me I didn't know my own DOB hmm <slow hand clap> Luckily hitting 0 to be put through to a real person worked.

Actually, if that still works, I can recommend it if you ever have to phone up. You get put on hold for a while, but the people that answer that bit tend to be a bit more sensible and knowledgable, rather than the people who only ever deal with one little bit of the process.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Sat 01-Mar-14 07:27:30

Oh, is that it? grin boffin? was I overoptimistic to assume it was the result of a reasoned if not well reasoned! actual policy...

If they recognised in their systems that once they'd seen a birth cert, they don't need to see it again, it'd save everyone time, including them. No one could accuse them of bias for that."
That would come under 'thinking' grin

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