Local Government Jargon gets a bad press; seven words I bet you didn’t think you’d be reading here.

My argument is that language is essentially about communicating meaning to people and if two people are having a conversation and use a bit of jargon, as long as they both understand it all is good.

Often, jargon is a means of communicating complex ideas in a simple way between two people who would rather say ‘commissioning’ than ‘the process by which we work out what services are needed in a local area, how much we can spend on them and which organisation is best placed to provide that service for the right price.’

However, sometimes this gets properly out of hand and therefore, despite my position on jargon today’s post is actually a collection of the best (by which I mean worst) jargon I have managed to gather from friends and colleagues.

Please enjoy:

  • We will undertake this PPIP – PPIP means putting policy into practice (took me ages to find that out).  Can’t we just say, ‘We will implement the policy…’ instead of making up some acronym?
  • Monthly project burn rate – Three of us looked this one up and we still don’t know
  • Benchmarking – Which if accompanied by the word ‘trip’ means junket
  • Performance dashboard – The table on the front of a report is not what I want to look at when driving
  • ‘Golden thread’ – Which when added to a equally common ‘Thought shower’ probably equals something totally different
  • Efficiency measures – why not say that we’re trying to save money and be done with it?
  • Worklessness – just because its not a word
  • Corporatisation – which isn’t a word either
  • Outcomes and Outputs – rather than say, results, or what we’re trying to achieve
  • Transformation/Enhancement project – It sounds better than cuts but often means the same thing
  • Project sponsor’s confidence – In what? Public speaking?
  • Benefit owner – Who’s going to deal with this?
  • Equality Impact Assessments – Apparently this makes a colleague think that what you are looking at is wither the policy can take the impact of an equalities officer being thrown at it (they are catapulted across the office) (I have no clue!)
  • Take this off line – We’ll talk later
  • Working group – what is a working group are there none working groups?
  • Transaction analysis
  • Thought dump – It just brings up unpleasant images
  • Hate Crime Champions – Surely council’s shouldn’t be championing this sort of thing?
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5 Comments on “Jargon-tastic”

  1. Charis Says:

    We have Champions for all sorts of things we shouldn’t and it annoys me too!

    The other role I love is our Gangs Co-ordinator. We don’t have that much of a Gangs problem at the moment, but it’s good to know that someone’s trying to co-ordinate one.

  2. localgov Says:

    Two I particularly dislike are synergy and dialogue. The first is a minor bugbear, but the second really, really annoys me.

    When you are sitting next to someone who then says in a meeting that the two of you should have a dialogue about this (often followed by ‘off-line’) I grind my teeth – we are going to talk about something, not ‘have a dialogue’!!!!!

  3. […] we will also engage those who are known as key stakeholders in the community (yes, I know that’s jargontastic but it’s what they are often called); people who are linked in with several different groups of […]

  4. localgov Says:

    I just read a great phrase on another blog – lemon dropping. I’d explain myself but they do it so much more eloquently…


  5. […] and Councilese has always been something we are interested in, starting way back with our first pick of the litter.  Do you even remember when the word ‘efficiency‘ wasn’t intrinsically linked to […]

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