06/02/2012 06:24 GMT | Updated 04/04/2012 06:12 BST

The Ministry of Justice and the Big Paperclip Question

My heart bleeds for families who have to deal with the Ministry of Justice, if my experience is anything to go by.

I have tried to submit paperwork to them on three occasions, and each time it has been returned to me with a query. Why can't they pick up the phone and speak to me, as I requested, if there is a problem? Where is the personal touch?

The paperwork, which I posted recorded delivery on Monday, was returned to me again today with a letter saying I had failed to submit a cheque for the £400 required to proceed.

I clearly remember attaching my cheque to my statement with a photocopied exhibit - all of which has also gone missing too as none of this was returned with my other forms which they stuffed in an envelope.

I called their office this morning to ask them to find out what had happened to my cheque. I explained that it was attached to my statement with a paperclip, and I asked their officer, Neil Holman, if he could trace my missing paperwork too.

To my utter amazement, Neil asked me if I had used a large paperclip! Doh! Like they can't see a normal sized one! Would it have made any difference if I had used a 3ins paperclip? What size paperclips do they use in their office? You couldn't make it up!

I spoke to Neil five hours ago and he hasn't called me back. I doubt he will.

I naturally phoned my bank to cancel the cheque, and the episode so amused the person I was speaking to at Barclays that he instantly offered to waive the normal £12 fee as he couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculous question I was asked by the Ministry of Justice about the paperclip. He said it was hilarious and had made his day.

In my view the Ministry of Justice needs a thorough shake up. Isn't there anyone in government who can sort out the mess there?

I would call it a travesty of justice. Feel free to share your experiences.