Biomass Suppliers List - it's your fault it's broken

The Greater Bureaucracy is adopting its usual approach to problems - obfuscate, don't fix. Apparently, the problems identified with the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) in the previous article are problems with data (i.e. the information provided by the suppliers) or presentation, not the software. The strange addresses shown are supposedly the contact addresses chosen by each supplier during the application process, which may not be the same as the address of the site in question.

At Forever Fuels, we were pretty sure we didn't select our (unmanned) East Kilbride depot as our main contact address for all our sites, but the List Administrators (specifically GemServ) were insistent that we did. So we tried setting up another entry, from start to finish, to see if we somehow missed the point where we should have chosen a different contact address.

We didn't. It's a bullshit excuse by an organisation trying to sweep their bugs under the carpet. Here are the screens you fill in, from start to finish. See if you can spot where we would have entered East Kilbride as our contact address, or some selection list we didn't notice that would have selected it by default. Clue: it doesn't exist.

BSL application form p.1

 

BSL application form p.2

 

BSL application form p.3

 

BSL application form p.4

 

BSL application form p.5

 

That's it. No opportunity to select a different contact address to the site address. The only other address is the company's registered address (in Maidenhead in our case), which would do (although we'd rather have each site as the contact address so people know where we are). Definitely not East Kilbride.

Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is what you do when you make a mistake. If you make reasonable efforts to determine whether the fault is yours and to put it right if so, little criticism should attach.

But that's rarely the case with the Greater Bureaucracy. Something about their unaccountability to the public and to the organisations affected by their actions makes them so arrogant or so defensive that their normal response to any mistake is to try to pretend that they haven't made one. That means the mistake doesn't get put right, or only much later and surreptitiously.

This is why markets and systems that do not involve government are usually preferable where they can be utilised. However imperfect, they are at least answerable to their users and succeed or fail according to how useful they are and how well they deal with failings. When people justify government intervention on the basis of market failure, they forget that government failure is at least as common and far less self-correcting.

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