COLUMN: It is time bureaucracy was given a back seat says Westwell of Ely

Rosemary Westwell

Rosemary Westwell - Credit: Archant

At the moment, bureaucracy appears to rule and ruin our lives. While some form-filling is needed, the pages and pages of information required is getting ridiculous.

One of the main culprits is the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

While they are needed and should be updated so our data is thoroughly protected, some institutions have gone over the top…

Appointing expensive consultants to take over the burden, preparing pages and pages of detailed provisions and generally alarming the workforce into losing data they need and having to start from scratch.

Another more sensible organisation produced one page that summarised their data protection policy.

It was easy to follow, and as far as I can see, covered all that is needed to say: people’s data will be protected by that organisation.

Sometimes this paperwork gets so ridiculous that people have been known to leave rather than subject their lives to this type of bureaucracy.

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A teacher had worked for a private school for over 12 years. One day she went into school as usual when she was given a huge pile of forms to fill in to prove who she was.

She realised how ridiculous it was. She decided if that was the way forward there was not much point in staying. She resigned.

Many people in positions of trust are put into the same position yet they cannot afford to resign.

They need their jobs and so they spend hours and hours filling in unnecessary forms taking them away from their real jobs.

On another occasion, a teacher new to her job worked the first month and found that she was not paid.

When she inquired, she was told that they did not have the right forms filled in.

When she pointed out that she had done the work and payment was due immediately and she needed it immediately, she was told the government department would lend her the money. The teacher was incensed.

Another of the culprits is assessment forms - when people needing extra help at home are required to guess what the questions really mean and fill in the forms correctly or they will not get the money they need to sustain themselves.

It is a sorry state of affairs when a barrister has felt driven to create a website ( that explains every word in these assessments and exactly what they mean.

If the government bodies that are supposed to look after us got their act together, they would do the same.

After all, the money they are giving out is not their own personal property, it is money provided by its citizens – us.