Local Government Jargon
I think it disappointing that certain Northampton Borough Councillors (Chronicle and Echo entry March 19th) have only just realised that too much jargon is being used in its Committee Papers, and that they see fit to complain about it in the local press.
My opinion is that the overuse of jargon has been turned into a political issue rather than all Councillors agreeing to sign a pledge to to simplify documents or ask what they mean’. Indeed, the focus on action for the community in respect of phrases such as ‘Partnership Working’, ‘Stakeholder Engagement’ and ‘Joined Up Thinking’ needs to be first step included on a Central Government Glossary. This Glossary would then be the reference point for local government offices to simplify their documents.
The way I see it, this jargon has been used since Government began, like the regular reference to Shakespeare in the Arts. To give you another topical example, some people cannot put Chronicles of Narnia down for the excitement factor, and others will discard it for its confusion factor.
No question is a stupid question
I have learnt that we are all capable of confusing each other, and we are not always honest about asking for explanations. This is simply because of our preferred learning styles, confidence levels, interests and different intelligences.
Perfect world solution
To conclude this ‘jargon’ stems from Central Government and needs translating into crystal clear english!! It is only then that lower level action plans will be pitched at the level for the community to understand, and effectively challenge.
In a perfect world, I would suggest that Local Authorities nationwide run a communication audit on all Committee Papers, so that they can start working together, YES, in the ‘joined up’ way desired by Central Government.
CHECK OUT THE NO NONSENSE GLOSSARY IN THE TOOLKIT SECTION OR SPEAK TO ME VIA THE CONTACT SHEET FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW THE NO NONSENSE APPROACH WORKS.