Where’s Steve Hilton to cut through red tape when you need him?

Back in 2010 I took up the issue of paperwork gone mad at the Ministry of Justice, using a series of Freedom of Information requests to reveal the ludicrously over-bureaucratic safe driving polices in place at the MoJ:

Despite the government’s rhetoric of cutting bureaucracy, the Ministry of Justice – one of the largest Whitehall departments and responsible for many important administrative systems – is spectacularly failing to set a good example with its own hugely bureaucratic approach to health and safety when people are driving as part of their work according to information I’ve unearthed in a series of freedom of information requests.

The MoJ has two specially produced full colour booklets, a flowchart, an FAQ document, more than six different forms and training sessions for managers in how to make the whole system work all in the name of helping to keep all its staff safe when driving on official business. Such staff are also advised to keep four different pieces of Ministry of Justice paperwork in the vehicle at all times.

Other departments are managing on far less.

You can read the full details, including the glorious flowchart, in my original post, following which the issue got taken up by a range of national media outlets and the MoJ promised a review. That was due in January/February of 2011, but instead ended up being repeatedly delayed. (Where’s Steve Hilton to cut through red tape when you need him?)

Finally, however, progress is in sight. The Ministry of Justice now tells me:

The [revised] draft policy statement is due to be published around late summer 2012.

Hooray. But what a mess of a department that is so slow at fixing such a clear case of paperwork and bureaucratic systems having mushroomed out of control, especially when the then Permanent Secretary himself put his name to them. Not exactly an encouraging sign about the rest of the department.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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