Feeds

MPs slap ICO for bad language

Sort your sh*t out, you obtuse f*cks

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A select committee report on poor official language has picked on a letter from the Information Commissioner's Office.

The Public Administration Select Committee provided the ICO letter as an example of an official letter which "illustrates how formulaic letter construction can alienate and confuse the reader".

The letter, provided by MP Andrew George, told the recipient in bold type that "Your case has now been closed" in his or her complaint against the Ministry of Justice, but also said the case would be reopened as soon as the recipient sent a copy of the original request for information.

"The perpetrators of this variety of official language often fail to consider adequately who they are writing for," said the committee's report, Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language, published on 30 November 2009, adding that official letters and forms "can often come across as unsympathetic or overly officious".

A spokesperson for the ICO said it is reviewing the standard letter in question, pointing out that it sometimes needs to ask for additional information from a complainant to make progress with a case.

The report said that management consultants were partly to blame for introducing "sterile jargon" into government, which it said was often used to dress up a simple idea, or "to hide the fact that the speaker or writer doesn't really understand what they are writing or talking about".

"We conclude that bad official language which results in tangible harm – such as preventing someone from receiving the benefits or services to which they are entitled – should be regarded as 'maladministration'," says the report.

"Bad official language deserves to be mocked, but it also needs to be taken seriously. We hope that our conclusions and suggestions will encourage government to mind its language in future."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.