Posted tagged ‘communication’

Spreading our wings

November 1, 2011

Staying in touch

Wise men say you should never go back.  Wise men also say that diamonds are only lumps of coal that stuck to their jobs under pressure, but that’s a story for another day.

Recently I found myself ignoring the first of these nuggets of advice and dropping into my old workplace.  Having left there a short while ago I had steadfastly resisted the urge to pop in and see how they were doing, unlike many of my colleagues who had been doing so on a regular basis since they left.  What they hoped to achieve is beyond me – the place hadn’t fallen apart after six days without them and in any case all they were doing was distracting people.

However, I was asked to go in to talk to a colleague who needed some support with a project I had some skills and history in, so keeping as low a profile as possible I made my way in and said a few brief hellos before going to the meeting room as quickly as possible.

Turns out that two of the other people who had left at about the same time I did had taken it upon themselves to go in that day as well, and had spent an hour or two each sharing stories about the goings-on in their new workplaces and more or less useful titbits of information.

This got me thinking about a shade of the silver lining which may be tenuously clinging to the edges of this cluster-muck of a situation local government is currently in; the forced Diaspora of council officers. (more…)

GCSx – is it really worth the hassle?

August 2, 2011

A step too far?In this technological age, getting in touch with colleagues should be easy. Firstly, many people sit in the same open plan office as their colleagues, so they are able to simply turn their head and speak. Should they not be near enough to each other, a phone call to a landline or mobile will suffice. Alternatively an e-mail will do, whilst some organisations even make use of Yammer, instant messenger, or other forms of social networking. All this should mean that we should be able to talk to each other and share information across teams and partners easily, right?


At some point, a bright spark in the ICT world (or perhaps a salesman with a keen eye for a guaranteed profit) decided that e-mail wasn’t good enough for some organisations. There were obviously hordes of people intercepting e-mails willy-nilly, bleeding vital information from the public sector at a rate the ex-News of the World would have been in awe of. No, e-mail wasn’t good enough; so along came GCSx.

GCSx, for those of you yet to enjoy it’s company, stands for Government Connect Secure eXtranet and is effectively a system which acts exactly like e-mail. It is supposed to sync with Outlook, and is apparently a far more secure way of sending sensitive information. Two people with GCSx accounts should be able to swap information and e-mails about cute cats to their hearts content, safe in the knowledge that they will not have such message intercepted. (more…)


September 14, 2010

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?