Just fill in the form

‘Tis the season of form filling. It must be something to do with the change from one financial year to another. New plans need to be made and new funding to be sought. Whether it is claiming a relatively small amount of money from the Community Renewal Fund, a much larger amount to support the continuation of the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration or, at a more domestic level, trying to get a pension paid, it all inevitably ends up requiring a form to be filled.

Invariably this means scrabbling round for information that you don’t have readily to hand. When claiming for businesses there are company registration numbers, email addresses, registered head office addresses, telephone numbers and even VAT registrations to be found. For those closer to home it is start and end dates, NI and pension membership numbers, along with a whole string of proof of identity which need to be countersigned by a friendly neighbour, often on several occasions.

Then there are the badly designed forms themselves, obviously intended to be printed out and written on rather than to be filled in online. There is always too much room for certain fields and not enough for others while font sizes and bolding are all over the place. Worse still are the forms sent in pdf that you can’t fill in anyway.

There has to be a better way. Google forms is great at filling in your own personal information, such as home and email addresses but doesn’t help much here. I’m sure information could be drawn in from online sources in a similar way, after all, that is where I get a lot of  it from anyway.

Having said that, when it is public or your own private money, I guess a note of caution is required. If the forms were too easy to fill in then anyone could do so. If the information was readily available then it would be to anyone and no doubt there would be an increase in fraud. Perhaps it is safer, though frustrating, to stick to the way it is done now. Please can you make the forms easier to fill in online though.

Anyway I need to get back to filling them in.

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