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

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

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