The Department of Work and Pensions, the UK's benefits nobbling agency, has instigated a multi-million pound programme to reorganise its mail opening system. Opening letters without losing them, damaging them or accidentally stuffing them down the back of a filing cabinet is a very tricky operation, and it takes great skill, diligence and the usual compliment of opposable digits to get it right.
It also represents a significant portion of the DWP's workload, along with... well, all the other stuff they do, I suppose. Having meetings and knocking out press releases, I guess. Anyhow, previously mail was sent to one of twenty-nine mail opening centres where it would be opened, defaced, processed and finally lost by one of the department's four hundred highly-trained mail operatives. Unfortunately this process could take up to six weeks - longer during the summer, when staff found that they couldn't be arsed. A radical shake-up was needed.
The DWP's MOLLUSC programme was designed to do just that. MOLLUSC (Mail Opened & Left Lying Under Some Carpet) streamlines the whole process by reducing the number of mail opening centres to only one. This centre employs just two people - one who's really handy with a letter opener the other who sweeps all enquiries under a rug.
It's a big rug.
The top brass at the DWP are already said to be delighted with how the programme is working. Not only has it facilitated drastically reduced running costs, it has also allowed them to divert more resources into dreaming up spurious reasons to sanction claimants.