By Civil Service World

13 Jan 2017

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



How we will describe this policy once the opposition or press realises how badly it’s been going. 

Take soundings
A senior official has developed proposals which will annoy several other parts of the department. Time to find out by how much.

Strategic overview
Implies that you’re both deeply interested in, and actively considering, the wider implications of whatever this is about. In reality you haven’t a clue and couldn’t care less.

After careful consideration
Pretty much everyone who replied to the consultation thought this was a bad idea. As did most of the people who drafted it.

Nil return
This document requires urgent clearance. Please reply immediately to confirm that you haven’t read it 

To submit your own examples of Whitehallese, email editorial@civilserviceworld.com. Visit civilservant.org.uk for more of the best civil service jargon


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)

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