By Civil Service World

05 Mar 2019

The best from Civil Service World's regular guide to Whitehallese


Hope this is helpful

Obviously it’s not helpful. In fact it probably just ruined your week. But I want you to know I’m not a monster.

Concerned

Somewhere in Whitehall, a senior official is about to go ballistic. One step away from an apocalypse of “deep concern”.

New ways of working

Old ways of working. But in a glossier brochure.

Buy-in

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.

Diary commitments

Sadly, the minister won’t be attending your vitally important event as her diary is full. Of better offers.

Core script

Grammar be damned, you will find a way to shoehorn the latest departmental buzzwords into this press release.

The minister appreciated your submission, which s/he read without comment

It definitely went into the red box, and then came out again. Was it looked at? Your guess is as good as mine. Often signifies that the submission was a) very dull b) on a subject way below the ministerial radar c) both.

You should be aware

At a time like this, it’s really important to remember that nobody ever achieved anything by shooting a messenger.

Milestone

A common misspelling of “millstone”

Champion

This hugely complex public policy challenge we’ve been trying to crack for decades would best be solved by someone with no prior knowledge of it.

Comprehensive review

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

Ballpark figure

Utter guesswork. A million? Five million? A billion? To be honest, I won’t really know until I actually start looking into it. But let’s say a million.


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)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 13)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 14)​
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 15)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 16)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 17)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 18)

Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 19)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 20)​
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 21)​
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Sir Martin Donnelly special edition)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (snap election special edition)
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 22)​
Terminological inexactitudes: handy translations of Whitehall jargon (Vol. 23)

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