Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 13)

Written by Civil Service World on 15 April 2016 in Feature
Feature

Civil Service World's regular guide to the very best in Whitehallese

Terminological Inexactitudes

Menu of options
A list of daft policies alongside the one you support. Helps give ministers the illusion of choice

Service transformation
The same thing but with a new name and less money  

Gold-plated
Used by ministers to describe pension arrangements that are slighly better than tuppence ha’penny a year and retiring before you die at your desk  

Please do not hesitate to contact me
Always hesitate to contact me 

Values
The longstanding beliefs underpinning your department’s vital work. Will be changed in about 18 months’ time 

Milestone
A common misspelling of “millstone”

To submit your own examples of Whitehallese, email editorial@civilserviceworld.com or tweet us @CSWNews


More in the series:

Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. I)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 2)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 3)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 4)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 5)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 6)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 7)

Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 8)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 9)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 10)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 11)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 12)

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Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted on 16 April, 2016 - 02:11
'Please do not hesitate to contact me' - This is used in the private sector as well. But when used in the private sector, people generally mean it. Could this be showing that the civil service lacks sincerity? 'Values' - You have made a very pertinent point. One of the weaknesses of the civil service is that it lacks a strong corporate culture because values change so often, yet leaders expect people to still believe in them. This reminds me of when on Yes Prime Minister, Sir Humphrey said that he has no beliefs, because if he had believed in what he was doing (eg privatising, nationalising and then re-privatising), he would have gone insane.

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