15 OCTOBER 1954, Page 6

Bureaucracy at its Best

We understand from our Area Supervisor' (write the Licensing Section of the Potato Division of the Ministry of Food) that all the potatoes now grown on your farm arc sold either to tenants or workers on the estate. If this is the case, yo h do not require your grower-salesman licence, which should be returned to this Department for cancellation. If, however, you are unable to trace the licence, would you please sign and return the attached certificate of loss.' The certificate, whose well-chosen reference number is OC.19026 /100 /6.2.52 / OX.JJP, reads : I hereby certify that I am unable to trace potato merchant/grower-salesman licence No. GS9214 and it must be presumed lost. I undertake that in the event of it coming to light it will not be used for trading purposes, or be handed to any unauthorised person.' This well-planned attempt to make me sign a piece of paper to say that I have lost another piece of paper which I do not need has involved a fa' amount of bureaucratic activity. The Area Supervisor motore twenty miles, spent half an hour finding out the facts an dictated a letter to the Licensing Officer. The Licensing Officer acknowledged his letter, selected a reference-number (OP.14599 AEC/IMO) and dictated to me the letter quoted above. One shudders to think what would have happened if none of this action had been taken.