Sunday, June 22, 2008

No more "thought showers" for British bureaucrats

When a town council in southern England instructed its staff to use the phrase "thought showers" instead of the word "brainstorming," the Word Police had about all it could stomach. The Tunbridge Wells Town Council had feared that the word "brainstorming" might offend people with epilepsy, a condition that involves "periodic electrical storms inside the brain." Disgusted by the addition of yet another "management buzzword," the country's Local Government Association said residents are already confused enough about what their elected officials are saying and doing. So the LGA put the bureaucrats on notice with a list of 100 "non-words" they should avoid. On the prohibition list are revenue stream, coterminosity, stakeholder, incentivising and place-shaping.

The LGA's chairman, Sir Simon Milton, said: "The public sector cannot, must not and should not hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases. Why do we have to have 'coterminous, stakeholder engagement' when we could just 'talk to people' instead?"

The LGA list offers alternatives for the offending words/phrases. For example, in place of "cautiously welcome" the LGA suggested "devil in the detail," while "coterminosity" should be "all singing from the same hymn sheet." Well, THAT clears things right up.

You are cautiously welcome to view the LGA's entire list via this site.

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