Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Just An Average Day Ticking Public Sector Boxes

Long term readers will be aware that output here has slowed in the past month or so, in fact, it's been a steady decline over a year. As evidence for my defence, let me tell you what I am mostly doing today, which is a small example of what I spend most of my work days doing as an employer. That is, satisfying treacle-thick, stifling government regulations.

Our company recently changed its name. That's all. Just the name. In fact, just a small part of it.

The VOSA website has this wonderful facility for interactively changing details of a company's operating licence at the click of a mouse. Unfortunately, a change of name is not covered.

So, although all personnel are exactly the same as before the name change; despite the fact that Companies House are aware of this fact and have all the details; despite no vehicles being any different than they were before; and despite every operating system being identical to those before the change, and which VOSA are tasked to inspect whenever they choose, we (or, more specifically, I) have to apply for a new operating licence as if we were a new start up.

That involves providing the same documentation on our vehicles that VOSA already possess (originals, natch); the same inspection documents that VOSA already possess (yes, originals); the same operating centre criteria that they already know about; the same director information that they hold on file and on their website; the same EU mandated disclosure of professional competence that they already hold (another original document); the same financial standing proof that ... well, you get the idea.

Once I've compiled it all, filled in the forms and sent them off, VOSA will only take 9 weeks to issue a new licence if they think we're safe enough to carry on doing what we have been doing for the past 15 years under a slightly different name.

Oh, and did I mention that it'll cost £250?*

Give me strength.

* That's without the cost of taking out a classified advert in the local paper, required as part of the process.


Bill said...

It's all about control innit!

You have the audacity to want to run a company in the UK employing your fellow men and women they you have got to play by the rules of state.

Rules that the state can enforce on pain of fine and or goal and can ignore as and when its employees deem it right to do so to.

My business has closed and I informed companies house as a courtesy and the fools want me to hand over £10 and fill in their form DS01 to comply with Section 1003 of their statite the Companies Act 2006.

I replied thus;
Hello Dean James
That was fast but sadly you didn't take any notice of what I said. There are NO directors, there is NO money, there is NO-ONE to sign forms. The company cannot request to be struck off because the company cannot speak!
It cannot think, drink, eat, sleep, make love, talk, fart or pay anything including taxes because it is not a living breathing entity.
The letter was a courtesy from a human being, me, informing the human beings at Companies House that the business has gone out of existence. You must do what you have to do to record its passing on your registers.


Bill said...

Buggered the typing up in that one didn't I!

Sam Duncan said...

As I understand it from a friend in the same business, it's almost exactly that sort of regulatory buggeration that did for Southern Cross, the care homes firm that Ed Milliband holds up as an example of The Unacceptable Face of Capitalism, or some such nonsense.

Forced to upgrade their entire stock (that had been held as exemplary until recently), and given five years to do so, they decided to sell the real estate and lease it back to raise some money. Not an unusual thing to do. The Care Commission thus deemed all their homes to be “new” and unusable becuase they weren't up to spec. All the work now had to be done yesterday, and the cash simply wasn't there.

Bill, I'm fortunate in never having had to deal directly with Companies House myself, but everything I've heard about it has led me to the inescapable conclusion that it's run by foreign agents hell-bent on the destruction of the British economy. It's the only logical explanation.

Angry Exile said...

Christ, DP, you sure it's not worth going back to the old name?

Dick Puddlecote said...

AE: Then we'd have to bugger around with changing our registration back at Companies House, HMRC, DVLA, public sector clients, etc etc ...

Bill: Your experience is sadly familiar to me.

Sam: I can quite believe that.

Having worked for a couple of years in the 80s for a local authority, I have seen it happening from the other side of the equation. People (and businesses) are just names and numbers on a computer printout for them, they have rules which are to be adhered to but no profit motive to find ways of easing problems with compliance when they arise. That's if they have the authority to be able to in many circumstances.

Clarissa said...

Of course the £250 (+ classified ad) is just the visible cost of doing so. What you haven't mentioned is long it took you (and anyone else) to provide all of this paperwork, how much those involved are billable at and if you have submitted an invoice for it all...

nisakiman said...

"It's all about control innit!"

I think it's more all about jobs for the boys. Just think, if DP and thousands of others like him didn't have to jump through the bureaucratic hoops, then all those bureaucrats who administer this trivial wankery would be out of a job. So of course, it will get worse before it gets better. Do turkeys vote for Christmas?

Brain Dead said...

A few years ago, I had no further reason for my small company and wound it up ahead of sending in the final accounts. I thought they would be needed as a matter of record.

I was most surprised to receive them back with a note to say that they couldn't accept them as the company was no more.

So, why did they send them back to a non existent entity. The mind boggles.

banned said...

Yesterday I popped along to my local DVLA walk-in office to see what I need do about my drivers licence ceasing to be valid next year (they send a reminder and just want a new photo).
I was only there for about 15 minutes but there was a chap already being dealt with who clearly had much the same problem as you Dick (not much privacy at that office). Some minor change in the detail of his small firm yet they seemed determined to bureaucrat him off the road.

He was still there when I left, slightly losing his tether but trying to be polite.