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Bureaucracy in Poland

28 Feb 2007 #1
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
daffy 23 | 1,500
1 Mar 2007 #2
well, we were in the Polsih Embassy in Dublin last summer to get replacement passports.

The girls where all whiny and oh this will take forever and they wont help us etc etc etc.

I was dumbfounded! I said lads, its there job, we've called ahead, they know we're coming - its MORE likely they wont want us ahnging around there!

But they all said - you dont know Polish bureaucracy - I said if its bureaucracy at all I do! ( i waited 8 years for braces on the Irish system) its the same the world over but on certain topics. Passports is one such issue.

So we arrived. and in one hour, we left, passports and all. que silence from the girls on the issue and a cheesy ' i told you so smile' :)
Kasia Mac
6 Mar 2007 #3
Went to my hometown Olsztyn few months ago to register birth of my son who was born in London and his Dad isn't Polish .As we are not married yet i really wanted Ayden to keep my maiden name somehow as his surname is fhis Dad's , according to UK law you can give a baby mother's maiden name as one of forenames but its not the case in Polish law , you can only give your baby 2 names , the woman in registrar office had a proper go at me for giving my son 3 rd name and decided to change his surname without me knowing it , so few days later went to fetch my sons Polish birth certificate and his surname was now double barrel wuth my maiden and his Dad's , so un-european !!

stupid cow

still trying to sort this out but now we can only do so via court
6 Mar 2007 #4
Well in England you can call the baby what you like, I have a friend who's little brother is named after the entire 1976 United football team.
Magdalena 3 | 1,835
18 Aug 2007 #5
I have been living in the UK for three years now. As a community interpreter, I have ongoing contact with all sorts of public institutions here, ranging from medical centres to prisons and from schools to council offices. I know it's probably also a question of what you're used to, but the British system seems to me, a foreigner, hugely inefficient, extremely slow, ponderous even, attached to thousands of petty formalities, with the added inconvenience of not being able to talk in person to an informed officer in many cases (such as claiming all kinds of benefits); instead, what awaits you is many hours of calls to customer helplines where you get to listen to assorted muzak and talk to "advisors" who have no idea what is going on in your case and tell you to send in documents you had already sent them twice.

I used to run two small businesses in Poland and never had any problems. I did my own ZUS calculations, my own taxes, VAT, you name it - and never had the slightest problem with the Revenue Office. I mostly found the municipality officers helpful and competent as well. Parallel universe or what?

I have actually come to love and respect Poland and its institutions a lot more since visiting the UK. Which is probably a good thing, because in the long run all of us belong where we were born. Travelling is great, but we all need a real home.

This probably sounds controversial, but hey - it's what I think, and I've had the experiences to back my opinion.
On the whole, I think each country is "insane" in the sense that it has its stupid quirks and illogical rules. It takes all sorts, after all. But I think comparing these "insanities" is like comparing apples and pears. And I don't like the way Poles tend to always put their country down, even when it is no worse than any other country in the world.
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 May 2009 #6
They could do with following the Estonian approach. They favour a relatively paper-free central administrative structure.
Soggy - | 6
29 Sep 2009 #7
The bureaucracy in this country is way behind in times. Getting a residency card is a freaking nightmare every 2 years. I don't understand why they can't keep documents on record and come back to them when you need to renew things.
Seanus 15 | 19,669
29 Sep 2009 #8
That would be too simple. Throw in complications and you keep your job by giving yourself a new task. Poles have a hard time of it too.
Soggy - | 6
29 Sep 2009 #9
Oh, I know why they can't keep documents on file and just come back to them when you need to renew things, is that would be the logical way of doing things. Simple logical thinking and common sense doesn't exist in Poland whatsoever. Oh, I'm sorry, do you need my NIP, PESEL, REGON, and all business papers to post this comment?
Seanus 15 | 19,669
29 Sep 2009 #10
Just your PESEL I think ;) ;) That way the police can identify you and give them a job too ;) ;)

Be sure to report this posting to GUS, Soggy :)
mvefa 5 | 591
29 Sep 2009 #11
That way the police can identify you and give them a job too ;)

which job? :o oh oh oh

ahahaha Kidding seany.. baaah
Seanus 15 | 19,669
29 Sep 2009 #12
A blowjob ;) ;) Tusk's proposed streamlining doesn't appear to have come about. Still in the pipeline I see but I heard that they should have been implemented by now.
mafketis 37 | 10,930
29 Sep 2009 #13
They favour a relatively paper-free central administrative structure.

The problem is most Polish people (despite what they might say) like and want centralized paper-heavy bureaucracies. They would feel adrift and rudderless without a lot of useless regulations to try to bypass.
Seanus 15 | 19,669
29 Sep 2009 #14
Well, there are so many willing clerks here. It gives the oldies sth to complain about. I wonder what the young clerks (if there are any) on this site think.
17 Oct 2009 #15
The bureaucracy in this country is way behind in times.

So why the hell did you come to 'this country'??
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 Oct 2009 #16
I know him. He had his reasons and let's just say that bureaucracy was not foremost on his mind at that time. He was just making a remark. He can do that, can't he?
17 Oct 2009 #17
I think I know his reasons...

btw how do you know him? Did you meet him in person? If so, I guess I might know him too
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 Oct 2009 #18
He lives in the same city as I do. I worked with him for 3 years. I think I know you too behind your guest status ;) ;) You are female, right?
17 Oct 2009 #19
what city exactly?
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 Oct 2009 #20
I think you know. Gliwice, it's in the SW of Poland.

Seanus (not expecting an answer from kcue for a while) ;) ;)
17 Oct 2009 #21
so i know you both
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 Oct 2009 #22
Of course you do ;) ;)

Give me a discreet sign that you do as you can't PM me.
17 Oct 2009 #23
we met in 4art
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 Oct 2009 #24
I've met many people in 4ART. Another subtle hint, please :)
17 Oct 2009 #25
I'm sure now, you are the callan teacher. Soggy is Brian, right?
I thought you'd remember me.
Btw, going to 4art now. Wanna join me and my friends?
Seanus 15 | 19,669
17 Oct 2009 #26
Were you a Callan student? Any experiences of Polish bureaucracy? They were good to me the last time I was there.
delphiandomine 87 | 18,070
18 Oct 2009 #27
Any experiences of Polish bureaucracy?

Yes. My experience so far is that in the majority of cases, it's clueless idiots that can't read simple forms that cause queues, not the workers themselves. I've even had service with a smile lately!

I came to the conclusion today that I've experienced more sulking in Carrefour than in government offices - which says something. I nearly asked (in English) for half a kilo of sulk, just to see the reaction.
Seanus 15 | 19,669
18 Oct 2009 #28
Yeah, I was allowed to expedite a process which the British Consulate wouldn't allow. That increased my estimation of them.
mephias 10 | 296
24 Jan 2010 #29
Or how patient must one be to complete a simple administrative procedure?

It seems you need to be very patient. I am trying to collect some documents and it is really difficult here. Three thing I don't understand here.

- You need to pay a lot of money to get a document (15-25 zloty isn't that too much ? )
- You need to transfer money using post office or a bank and you need to take receipt with you while making application.
- There are some waiting period for each document. Like after you apply you need to wait 7 working days to get a document and it will take longer since they will post the document to you.

In many cases you go to office, you pay there and get the document in same day in my country.
Honest George 1 | 105
24 Jan 2010 #30
Magdalena: Absolutely no substance in your patriotic biased post.

The difference between UK and Polish bureaucracy is that in the UK you have competent employee,s.
In Poland you have family and close friends wormed into a closed-shop workplace.

One of many experiences I had, was on visiting a local tax office in PL. I posed a question to which I consider an answer should have been relatively easy to provide. After passing from one colleague to another, I suddenly realized I done the entire round, none the wiser.

I came to the conclusion that I was dealing with glorified telephone operators, as that seemed all they were capable of. ( reading between the lines, they could not even provide the callers with the information required.)

Educated with all the qualifications, but not for the right jobs.

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