Jason and the jargonauts

Welcome to an occasional column seeking to expose purveyors of social care gobbledygook

Equality and Human Rights Commission

God love the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The adverts last month for jobs in their crack management team show them to be anything but the Clarity and Human Writing Commission. Among the posts up for grabs are director for information management, director of stakeholders and, bless their hearts, director of Foresight. Who could have predicted that such a post would ever exist? Perhaps local authorities should follow suit, but given the increase in lawsuits, maybe director of foreboding might be more apt.

But what should we expect from a director of foresight? In a swirl of crystal ball gazing I discover that their job is to identify key strategic objectives. But, then again, any director of foresight worth their salt will already sense that.

One more thought on this foresight saga: I’m hanging on until they create the post of deputy director of hindsight. That would be a wonderful thing. My first job will be to admit the folly of calling (sorry “badging”) someone the director of foresight and as for the ridicule such a move inspired: “Honest guv, we just didn’t see it coming.”

100 banned words and phrases

Fair play to the local authority chief executives who have signed up to the list of 100 banned words and phrases. This instructs their management to avoid the usual suspects such as “bottom-up” and “top down” “can do culture” “incentivising” “scoping” – which always sounds a bit sexually deviant to me, “did you hear about old Walker? Caught scoping in a public car park at 3am, he was” and “seedbed” (which, I can only concur, sounds like the ideal place to go scoping).

They also want our “funding streams” and “revenue streams” to dry up, and have us stop taxing everyone with “value-added”. They want to see “cascading” come crashing down and to deselect “menu of options”. They champion the banning of “contestability” and contest the use of “champion”. More power to their elbow I say.

I also have this to say: I would “cautiously welcome” the “core message” of a “level playing field” for plain English – which has been “tested for soundness” – and think the “evidence base” of “scaled back” language will “facilitate” a “framework” for “improvement levers” to a “sustainable” “step-change” in “outcomes” and “transparency”.

However, one management phrase – “Predictors of Beaconicity” – apart from being a band I’m sure I heard on the radio was completely new to me. Clearly, I need to stay in more.

New year resolution

New year resolution for all managers: never use the words “silo” or “silos” again. Instead say nothing. Remember silos is golden.

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