Would you 'taken-on' or challenge authority?

  spuds 11:44 03 Jul 2013

Have you ever 'taken-on' or challenged any authority body, like a council, government department, NHS, Police Force, Trading Association or who or whatever.

And thought it had been all worthwhile or just a total waste of time and effort, because you had your own opinions before taking,deciding or thinking about taking any initiatives?.

  Chronos the 2nd 12:09 03 Jul 2013

I have, with varying degrees of success.

I have taken on the DWP over an alleged 'overpayment' of £5225 which they proceeded to deduct from my benefit.It took me 4 years and several Freedom of Information requests to eventually prove that not only did I not owe this money but that there were serious, if not criminal, actions but certain DWP employees. As is the case with all bureaucracies no admission of guilt or fault was forthcoming.

I have an ongoing complaint with my local health authority after treatment left me permanently impaired. Again it was necessary to use the Freedom of Information act to get to the truth because, as has been very evident recently, health board bureaucracy will use any and all methods against anyone making a complaint. I have been accused of everything from lying to being mentally unwell but their main weapon is time. Although they must answer the initial complaint within 20 working days or let you know the reason for any delay. The chances of a complaint being resolved in this 20 day period is extremely unlikely and there are no guidelines n how they respond to follow up correspondence, which means that they will take months to answer even the most simple question.

I also learnt very quickly is you can only send letters via recorded delivery and never discuss anything via the phone. In regards to letters it is amazing how many they do not receive unless they have had to sign for them and in the case of telephone communication a denial of what was said is common practice.

  spuds 12:56 03 Jul 2013

" As is the case with all bureaucracies no admission of guilt or fault was forthcoming"

But why should this be so, when we constantly hear from national government, that every authority should be made accountable for their actions?.

From my very own experiences, I have often found that to get any answers or a resolvement, then the first task is usually a steep learning curve of an uphill struggle. Usually with the effect that you have to learn how to overcome some of these difficult and time consuming obstacles. But why should this be so?.

Is it a case of going to an MP and insisting that they do the job they were elected to do, and that is tell UK Plc they should get their acts together?.

  Kevscar1 13:04 03 Jul 2013

Took on ATOS and DWP and won over my ESA, going to tribunal as I have been refused Mobility by DLA. Have won the right to a Judicial Review over PMAB's refusal to aloow early release of my Police Pension due to permanent disability amdMy MP is helping me fight the Gocernmant over there refusal to help find the approx 460,000 un/misdiagnosed RSD/CRPS sufferers in thsi country

  Chronos the 2nd 13:24 03 Jul 2013

I am fortunate and unfortunate as far as help from my elected politician. My Westminster MP is not the slightest bit interested in helping me, in fact as far as the DWP were concerned she was a hindrance. in fact she only agreed to see me when I pointed out that to submit a query to the Parliamentary ombudsman I needed her to 'sponsor' for want of a better word, my application.

But I am fortunate as my MSP up here in Scotland was absolutely incredible, could not have done enough. Within two days of my first contact his people had arranged a meeting for me with him. His advise on how to address the bureaucracy was invaluable.

But the whole process is time consuming even with the internet making the access to information so much easier. If I had still been working I am not sure that I would have had the time or for that matter the inclination to have fought so hard.

  spuds 13:37 03 Jul 2013

And that is the point I am perhaps asking, the 'inclination' and how people deal with this?.

I am perhaps one of those people who challenge most things, if I think an injustice as been done, no matter what the authority wanted or decided was best, mainly for themselves, or the individual or group of people dealing with the issue.

But again, I return back to statements from the government "that every authority should be accountable for their actions". Should we all protest to our MP's and demand 'accountability'.

  Forum Editor 15:16 03 Jul 2013

It's pretty easy to criticise the way that the various government departments, and civil authorities work, and of course there are undoubtedly many occasions when they fail - for whatever reason - to fulfil expectations.

It's worth remembering however, that all these organisations are made up of ordinary people like you and I, and that they have to deal with the great British public, day in and day out. Members of the public are just as prone to making mistakes, and not admitting it, and often those who moan the loudest about the shortcomings of others are themselves far from perfect.

Of course all public services should work smoothly, all the time, but they will not, never have, and are never likely to. There's simply too much complexity, and too many citizens who simply like complaining about almost anything.

I have dealt with public authorities in many different countries, and I can honestly say that at no time have I felt them to be that much better than our home crowd, in fact they're often a good deal worse.

Good luck to those of you who have the time and inclination to be "one of those people who challenge most things,"

Speaking for myself, I haven't really had much cause to fight these battles. Perhaps I've been lucky, but most of my dealings with public services and government departments have been satisfactory.

  spuds 16:15 03 Jul 2013

Forum Editor

You appear to a missed off " if I think an injustice as been done... "

Its just not a case of moaning or belly-aching, but trying to make attempts to right some of the wrongs in this world, which other people might find very difficult to fight for their own problems, concerns and battles.

I have taken issues up over the years,and found that I have had some very satisfactory results, not just for myself but others as well. I have also been stonewalled on many occasions, possibly by the very same people who use their powers over and above their job description.

Only recently we have had reports of a number of deaths that were 'covered-up', and it was only by the persistence of some people or groups of people, that the actual truth's are now coming out.

Which brings me back to 'accountability'.

As you say "Speaking for myself, I haven't really had much cause to fight these battles. Perhaps I have been lucky, but most of my dealings with public services and government departments have been satisfactory". I would perhaps respectively suggest that you have been very lucky?.

  Aitchbee 19:23 03 Jul 2013

In a similar vein,

I am 'taking-on' a wrong decision [which I consider was] made by another 'human being' with regards to a DWP benefit for which I think I qualify.

I have sought out professional advice and also qualify for legal aid to help my cause.

It's [very] hard to beat the 'big boys' on your own.

  Chronos the 2nd 19:47 03 Jul 2013

I have yet to qualify for legal aid, which these big bureaucracies actually know that this will be the case most of the time. But it really peeves them if you still continue with your complaint.

I actually got as far as the court usher only to be told that the case was not going to proceed as they knew fine that they could not win. They then tried to fob me off with a derisory offer of compensation/damages but their heart was not in it.

One for the little man. But I can assure you that your card is marked from that day forth if you win. I have certainly noticed it with my health board and the DWP.

  morddwyd 20:20 03 Jul 2013

I have taken on, and won against, the MoD, who wanted me to serve beyond my contracted discharge date.

I have taken on, and lost, against the FSA over mis-selling.

I have taken on, and won a promise of change in procedures, the Civil Service recruitment procedure and my local health board, but whether I actually achieved anything tangible I don't know.

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