What is going on with those civil servants and government bodies?

The other morning I listened to the news in disbelief. Civil servants had ‘lost’ discs, apparently randomly chucked onto a courier van, containing the personal data, yes really, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, bank details and heaven knows what else, of twenty five million people! Nice one.

And it’s November not April.

Today…
…I open an unsigned letter from Natural England which informed me that

‘as my organic registration had been terminated I no longer qualify for the Organic Entry Level Scheme (OELS).’

The first I’d heard about it. Not so long ago I’d written a fat cheque to the Soil Association for the privilege of using them as my Organic Inspection Body (OIB). See the excerpt below:

‘Congratulations – your licence has been renewed
Thank you very much for returning your compliance form and the information requested. This has all been approved and we are pleased to renew your licence.
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your successful certification. We encourage you to display your certificate prominently to gain maximum benefit from the strength of the Soil Association symbol.

Your licence is now valid until the end of August 2008. At the start of this month we will issue an invoice for your annual fee. On receipt of payment we will then send your annual certificate for the following year.’

Curiouser and curiouser. It is November?

Then, to cap it all, dear old Natural England have decided, in their wisdom, to develop a website called Nature on the Map where, with a click of a mouse and a post code (plus some fiddling and cursing on a slow cumbersomely designed site), you can access a map and all relevant details of anyone’s land to see if they are being paid shed loads of tax payers’ money for environmental schemes.

Fine and dandy, you say, good idea to know where my taxes are going.
So it would be if their facts were correct.

Locks Park Farm, according to the information on the site, is apparently enjoying the benefits of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
No we’re jolly well not.

Our Countryside Stewardship Scheme finished. They run for ten years and anyway have now been replaced by Higher Level Stewardship (HLS). Our application for HLS was rejected as money ran out. But we were informed we were no longer of high enough quality to qualify, not really good enough!

Interesting. This organic farm is heaving with breeding barn owls, dormice, bats, rare butterflies and moths, multitudinous varieties of birds, oh yes, and badgers, stoats, voles, foxes, mice, rats, squirrels, flora to die for, ancient green lanes, cob barns, original longhouse, and intricate field patterns that have remained the same for hundreds of years.

Maybe I’m wrong and it is April after all…

Let’s get this straight. Twenty-five million peoples’ personal details are at the mercy of any fraudster; the particulars of thousands of farms are now on the internet for anyone to access but are publicized with false information.

What a cock-up!

Can we impose penalties on the government for its gross incompetence?
And tell me, what trust can we have in Government to keep accurate, secure records?

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