Saturday, 13 March 2010

paper files?

in the 21st century? Surely not. But no. Mr Salter, perhaps unwittingly, lets slip that he files his casework on paper:

I’m beginning to realise what a huge job it will be to wind up both my Westminster and constituency offices. All recent correspondents have been sent a standard letter asking what they want me to do with their case files. With over 22,000 individual files in the constituency office alone, we are going to be keeping the shredding company in work for some time to come. I’ve also just rented a storage unit to archive that which is either cherished, not collected, or unshredded so spent the afternoon humping boxes around. Reminded me of my days as a cargo handler at Heathrow.

I don't think I had paper files after about 2000. It's quite easy to scan in letters and file them electronically. We used to do this and then shred the paper ones as we went, made closing up the office really quite easy. Still, each to their own - but Mr S also lets slip that he is keeping some of his casework and storing it in a rental storage unit. I am not even sure if this is legal. And the question would be, why? An ongoing cost, paid by whom? And the material to be put to what use? For the last year before I stood down from Parliament I sent a standard letter to every constituent who contacted me, saying that I would return their case file to them if they wished me to, or pass it on to my successor if they wished, and that if I did not hear I would destroy the files. Two people said they wanted their file passed on if my successor was Labour. Well, that didn't happen, obviously. Another four said they wanted their file passed on to my successor, full stop. So I was invited to a very pleasant tea in the Pugin Room by my successor, Rob Wilson MP, where I ceremonially handed the four files over to him.

Anyway, if you live in Reading West and you have contacted your MP since 1997, be warned. It could be your piece of confidential correspondence found one day blowing about on an industrial estate somewhere.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't share your enthusiasm for electronic files. I often have to send companies photocopies of letters they have written to me because they have lost their electronic files and don't know what they wrote.

jane said...

well that's their fault