Or how patient must one be to complete a simple administrative procedure?
One must be both patient and very determined in order to arrange anything with the local or indeed the national administration in Poland. The Polish administration is fundamentally different from the British administrative structure because of its Asiatic features. The Polish official has a wide scope in which to exercise personal inclination, for forty-five years bribes were regarded as normal perquisites and local and national politicians clearly feel no obligation to represent their constituents' interest toward the administration.
There is less overt demanding of bribes though bribes are still sought and paid to tax officials, medical personnel, teachers and professors and the officials of local and national administrations. The fact that this does not make Poland unique is small consolation. Some officials are well paid others are not, frequently there are situations where money is not an issue, the official has just decided that a refusal would safe a lot of work. So the official refuses, as is his time-honoured right.Polish politicians
evidently have more important things to think about than how their constituents fare when trying to arrange something. Patronage and nepotism are responsible for most administrative appointments at local levels and perhaps only half of the appointments at national level. If an official is qualified because he is someone's nephew then clearly being is infinitely more important than doing.
Everything has to be arranged in person, the citizen must go to the administrative office and look for the appropriate official, and one is always directed to the wrong official. Perhaps on the third attempt you will find the correct official, the appropriate forms must be filled out correctly with no assistance from the official. It is always vital to have one's identification documents and all other relevant documentation. Theoretically it may be possible to arrange things by written correspondence, however in practice this is rarely the case. If the citizen does not appear at the office the correspondence is simply filed.
All of this causes enormous frustration citizens feel that officials and the administration as a whole is entirely alien. For example it took me a whole week to arrange the transfer of medical and social security registration from one province to another. I had to make six separate visits to offices in two separate towns. This was a relatively simple procedure. This sort of difficulty attends any procedure, be it planning permission for building, something to do with education, arranging hospital treatment or re-registering a car because one has changed one's address.
In spite of this people do manage to lead normal lives but any contact with the administration almost always causes extreme dissatisfaction and creates enormous frustration. A business is forced to employ additional personnel merely to cope with the peculiarities of the Polish Administration. Obviously foreign investors take this into consideration when they consider locating a factory or any commercial activity in Poland. So the administration is not only a blight on the life of the individual it is a blight on national development.Achilles Węgorz