Feeds

MPs slap ICO for bad language

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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?