The Local Government Association (LGA) has published a list of 200 words and phrases (only 200 do I hear you say?) that public bodies should not use if they want to communicate effectively with local people. The LGA’s selection of impenetrable public sector language includes:

·        Taxonomy

·        Rebaselining

·        Mainstreaming

·        Holistic Governance

·        Contestability

·        Predictors of beaconicity

·        Synergies

Although it is not one of the proscribed terms one of my personal favourites is CEO.  To anyone in the commercial world, the Chief Executive Officer is clearly the person at the top of the organisation who takes strategic decisions and where the buck stops: in the local authority sector the Civil Enforcement Officer is the person who performs the duties of a traffic warden.

Congratulations to the LGA for raising the flag once more for simpler English and shorter sentences in public documents.  However, I hope we never confuse a desire to eliminate impenetrable language in public documents with the enrichment that is possible with local dialects of English.

In recent communications (I will admit not official public sector publications) I have seen the words stramash and numpty used in connection with the current economic crisis – and sometimes it needs regional dialect expressions to convey real meaning.

 

Posted by Ian