Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 3)

Written by Civil Service World on 17 April 2015 in Feature

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

Terminological Inexactitudes

Work it through

Let’s work it through in another meeting and make a decision at some unspecified point after that meeting. Or the next one. 


I need you to pretend to agree with this. As in “if we all buy into this downsizing, it will be a lot less painful.” But you still won’t have a job. 

Director general

Seven extra letters tell you that this director needed some encouragement to stay on. 

Comprehensive review

In contrast with a normal review, a comprehensive review will take over a year to complete before its findings are ignored. 

You may wish to consider

Do the following immediately. Or else. 

In due course

In a very long time, if I haven’t forgotten. 


Got your own examples of Whitehallese? Email us in confidence: editorial@civilserviceworld.com

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs

Add new comment

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Related Sponsored Articles

BYOD: The critical balancing act
3 April 2014

How can organisations allow employees to use their own devices to access corporate information...

A picture of the bringing government to life Bringing government data to life
8 June 2016

Microsoft shows a few of the ways that governments can turn data into insight

Mind the Gap
3 April 2014

Given the rhetoric surrounding the shift to the modern workplace and the importance of centring...

image of a Unify banner The value of Unified Communication in practice
12 May 2014

There is no doubt that the innovative use of technology within the UK’s public sector is fast...