Feeds

MPs slap ICO for bad language

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.