The joys of bureaucratic fuck ups

The families of 92 boys who died when the South Korean ferry Sewol sank in April 2014 have reacted furiously after receiving call-up papers to the military.
The letters required the 92 students of Danwon High School, in the city of Ansan, to attend physical examination assessments before their conscription into the military. All young men in South Korea are required to serve for about two years and receive their call-up notifications shortly after turning 18.

Consider, these are the people we entrust with running the country. you know, variously, decide what medical care we should get and how, the number of people who should be allowed into the country, the regulations surrounding the cost and technology of energy generation. And yet they’re incapable of even checking off death certificates against the conscription roll.

Presumably they’ll be sending them all pension books in 47 years time.

21 thoughts on “The joys of bureaucratic fuck ups”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I wonder how routine this is? If they missed a case as famous for this, do they routinely call up the victims of motorcycle accidents and childhood cancer?

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    This is also one of the reasons, in my experience, Northern European Protestant countries are different from non-NEP countries.

    It is the little things. The extra effort people make if they have a guilt-ridden conscience. Bureaucrats all over the world are happy to do their jobs – and no more. But it takes someone brought up to loath himself, to feel the need to exercise a lot of self discipline, that leads them to go that extra mile and make sure that things actually work.

    Take something as basic as supplying electricity and water to ordinary people. I am utterly amazed when half or more just vanishes and no one cares. It isn’t corruption. It is people who can’t be bothered.

  3. Years ago I gave the nod to the local Election Services coming to an understanding with the local Coroner where the Coroner would send Election Services lists of recently dead people so they could be flagged as dead on the Electoral Roll. So far there’s been no false positives (alive person erroneously removed from the roll), whereas before there were loads of false negatives (dead people hanging around and being sent polling cards).

    Unfortunately, considerations like this just end up teaching The Public that “somebody” will do everything for them. “What do you mean, **I** have to tell the DWP my dad’s dead and stop his pension? Why don’t they already know?”

  4. With no market feedback/punishment there will always be waste and grotesque goings on with the scum of the state.

    The situation is also not stable–things run in a direction. The NHS was not too bad for its first decade–because it had taken over private systems that had previously evolved. Little by little things started to go off the rails.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Mr Ecks – “With no market feedback/punishment there will always be waste and grotesque goings on with the scum of the state.”

    The state institutions of Britain used to be a corrupt jokes. Oxbridge for instance, was useless. Then the Evangelicals came in and insisted that they work. And work they did. Since the decline of Christianity, they have started to fade away again.

    But an institution like the Courts have no competition. They are state run. Dickens used to make fun of their slowness and incompetence, but even then the Evangelicals were slowly transforming them.

    You have no idea what a Court system in a Catholic country can be like. Look at Silvio Berlusconi. Repeatedly charged. Almost certainly guilty. Virtually never convicted. Almost always because the statute of limitations had expired. Italian Court cases run for decades. They are not just incompetent, but spectacularly incompetent. Look at the Meredith Kercher murder.

    “The situation is also not stable–things run in a direction. The NHS was not too bad for its first decade–because it had taken over private systems that had previously evolved. Little by little things started to go off the rails.”

    I have said so before. Not helped by the fact that the NHS requires people to listen to their conscience to make them do their jobs. The nurses sit and chat while patients die of thirst because they don’t care.

  6. Lazy-arsed bureaucrats these days have an additional excuse which everyone seems to swallow: blame the computer. As if IT systems are some sort of force of nature beyond our control.

  7. This is the Military..
    Given the quite human reaction to just about try *anything* to get out of military service, it is far easier to simply apply the stance “Everybody Shows Up” , and deal with the individual cases of indignation of Bereaved Family.
    There’s a good chance there’s even a Department that looks into these cases specifically to determine whether or not cessasion of respiratory function and “alive” status may or may not prevent the individual from enacting their Duty to State and Country in some other way in line with their unfortunate disability.

    Again.. this is the Military. They employ their own all-too-familiar brand of logic.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Unfortunately, considerations like this just end up teaching The Public that “somebody” will do everything for them. “What do you mean, **I** have to tell the DWP my dad’s dead and stop his pension? Why don’t they already know?””

    Well they have a point. Its quite a balls ache and traumatic experience registering a death with the State, WTF can’t they tell other departments who’s just died? I don’t expect to tell each individual part of a company that some status has changed.

  9. @BiND
    There’s simple, one shot, procedure for post mortem notifications re State stuff.. You should be told when registering the death. Of course, doesn’t stop the family lawyer charging a fortune to do it all over again despite being told it’d been done. Or sticking to the money when the duplication was pointed out. There really should be 8 days a week for hanging lawyers.

  10. @ SJW
    A good idea, spoilt by the conditions imposed.
    If I get three months notice of death, I’ll compile a file with the relevant data, including contact details for my executors, and email it to #1 son. However if I get pushed under a tube train it’ll take him weeks to sort out all that stuff.

  11. The thought of dumping 92 corpses at the medical assessment centre on the required day has a strange appeal. But don’t Koreans go in for cremation?

  12. @ squawk.
    They would take the bodies, hold any relatives for thorough indentification to make sure the alleged body is , indeed, the individual identified by [ID-number] in their adminsitration, then proceed to put the body through the Mill.

    With a good chance that upon release back to the family on grounds of “inability to Serve”, the formal reason would be anything other than “deceased”.

    You’re dealing with military logic… 😉

  13. @ SJW
    Also @ BiND who posted a thorough piece of advice on the next thread.
    Wife and #1 son don’t like me talking about my precautions for dealing with my death – it sounds too much like preparation and they find it unpleasant, verging on creepy (whereas my professional history means that I look at it in a more detached fashion). Secondly the list of investments, savings accounts etc would need frequent updating – my passport needs renewing every ten years, my driving licence will need renewing shortly.
    So I have to calculate the expectation of net benefit if I send #1 the file – currently it is negative. As I grow older the balance will shift.

  14. Back around one of the general elections in the 1980s, the Conservative Party sent an 18th birthday card to some poor sod in Pembroke who had been killed in a car accident before he ever made it that far. It didn’t go down well.

  15. @ SJW
    When my mother died every single person I had to notify accepted Name and Address, as shown on the death certificate ans/or grant of probate (including HMRC) was satisfied with that.
    So, YES, I can.

  16. OK. Tell Us Once would usually operate before Grant of Probate.

    HMRC can identify you by name and address, but usually it asks for UTR or NI number, to make its life easier and to avoid mistakes. I dare say Tell Us Once could deal with HMRC without the extra information. But I’m surprised that you think it important enough to complain about it in CAPITALS.

    Tell Us Once does cancel passport, driving licence, blue badge, and perhaps other things I’ve forgotten about. Which needs them to have the physical records.

  17. @ SJW
    My point is that everyone, but everyone – including government – works off name and address for identification. which is why you have to notify DVLA of change of address.
    Some guy has come up with a good idea and then bureaucrats in other departments have said “OK, but only if you make it easier for us” so to save ten seconds by searching their database by their reference number instead of the deceased’s name and address, they require the bereaved to spend half-an-hour searching through to find said reference number. That sort of attitude just gets my goat so I shout that it’s wrong.

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