ordered to make sense!
Waffling Coventry City Council has been
banned from using useless jargon words such as
cross-fertilisation, cohesiveness and
coterminosity in favour of speaking plain English.
Some of the 200 banned words
- everyone working together
listening to people
empowerment - people power
- all singing from the same hymn sheet
Cross-fertilisation – spreading ideas
legitimacy - voted in
spending priorities - ignores people's needs
talking to each other
Menu of options
- make normal
conversations - talking to
- long term
In one cabinet report from March
10 this year, there were 490 uses of some of the
200 words that
have been banned by the Local Government Association (LGA). The
most common word, which was used 110 times, was sustainable
– or to put it plainly, long term.
A council spokesman said: "The
LGA list is very useful for us. It's really important that
councils communicate clearly with residents using words that
people are comfortable with – but we know we don't always get it
right and we are grateful when people tell us when we're using
jargon that doesn't make sense to people."
The list of pointless words that should be avoided has been sent
to all councils across the country. The crackdown was ordered
by the LGA on words such as quantum, lever,
pathfinder and worklessness, as they feared local
authorities are failing to communicate effectively. Margaret
Eaton, chairman of the LGA, said: “The public sector must not
hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases. Why do we
have to have 'coterminous stakeholder engagement' when we could
just 'talk to people' instead?
recession, it is vital that we explain to people in plain English
how to get access to the 800 different services local government
“Councils have a duty, not only to provide value for money to local
people, but also to tell people what they get for the tax they pay.
People would be furious if they had no idea of what services their
cash was paying for and how they could get to use them.
“Without explaining what a council does in proper English then local
people will fail to understand its relevance to them or why they
should bother to turn out and vote.
Unless information is given to people to explain what help they can
get during a recession then it could well lead to more people ending
up homeless or bankrupt.
“We do not pretend to be perfect, but as this
list shows, we are striving to make
sure that people get the chance to understand what services we
Source: Coventry Times, March 26, 2009