Posted tagged ‘jargon’


July 29, 2011

A Friday game for all to enjoyThere’s nothing we like more at We Love Local Government Towers than a good game on a Friday afternoon. Okay, perhaps we like biscuits a little more, but games are a very close second. With that in mind, here is a very simple game which can be played today at no additional cost to you or those around you. It’s easy to play, and can be amended to suit your own needs very easily.

Below is a list of words or phrases which we are getting a little tired of hearing thrown around meetings, usually by someone attempting to sound more clever than they actually are. Some or jargonistic, others are simply meaningless, but all have a special circle of our own hells reserved for them.

But words themselves are not evil – it’s how they are used that’s the problem, so we want you to use them for good rather than evil. Simply print them out and take them with you into your next meeting – the more people in it the better – and use as many as you can. They must be used appropriately and without others noticing; oh, and the only way to win is to get them all in during a single meeting.

Good luck! (more…)

The first cut is the deepest, but the second will hurt more

April 15, 2011

Another phrase to be banned

On Twitter during the week we had a discussion about the jargon and phrases that local government officers use on a regular basis, and those which the LGA feel should be on their ‘banned’ list.  Some, such as ‘engagement’ and ‘consultation’ are themselves not bad words, although the context they are used in often confuses their meaning.

Others however have a deserving place on the list.  Phrases such as ‘citizen touchpoints’ and ‘thought shower’ have no place in the normal world, and certainly not when talking with local people.  Jargon has its uses; it can convey complex issues quickly and easily between those who understand what it means, but it can also seriously exclude those who are unfamiliar with it (assuming that is that ‘exclude’ isn’t itself a banned word).

A new phrase seems to be entering the office at the moment which I think should be added to that list; ‘cash envelope’.  Pictures of seedy men in raincoats leaving packages of used bills behind public toilet cisterns instantly spring to mind for some reason, when instead nothing sexier than balance sheets and budget books is being discussed.  Apparently services are all trying to ‘push the cash envelope’ to gather as much money to them as possible in the short term in order to store it away for the long term; like a squirrel burying nuts in the autumn, the idea is that when more painful cuts are to be made in the next financial year there will at least be something left to cut.


I don’t want to go to Chelsea (Local Partnership Zone 4 West)

November 10, 2010

If it's not Dalston, where is it?

I’m dong some work at the minute talking to people about the places they live in, and a simple theme is emerging.

People think locally.

Obvious to you and I perhaps, but often not to the Council.  The Council seems to like dividing the borough up into ever more complex areas, with street partnerships, wards, areas, area partnerships, zones, quarters, places, parishes neighbourhoods, communities and regions all being used somewhere to describe the same things; where people live.

Here’s a revelation – people don’t care what we call these places; they will go on using the same names they always have, and to hell with our definitions.  No manner of advertising will convince me that I live in the North area, or Partnership Zone 1; I’ll always call it by the name it is known by. (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?