Sunday, 18 March 2012

Jargon overload

When I noticed that last week's Executive Board were discussing a draft "overarching tripartite compact agreement", I sensed a council jargon overload. So I took a closer look and not only was I correct but the non-legally binding 'compact' itself seems entirely pointless. Incidentally, I stumbled upon on an site dedicated to detecting council b******t, based on the 2009 LGA 'banned word list', it even has a 'top ten' and Carmarthenshire is a proud number four in the hit parade. There is also a handy search box where you can enter the address of a particularly suspect council web page and the result are displayed accordingly, this particular report scored 52.
The 'compact' is supposed to be an agreement between Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire councils, the health board and voluntary ('third sector') groups to encourage better co-operation. It contains such pearls as "This compact is the overarching compact for the region, local county wide compacts supported by locally developed codes of practice will sit under this overarching compact and will be signed by Hywel Dda and the relevant CVC and Local authority. This compact subscribes to the principles of the national compact and demonstrates the commitment to nurture and develop existing relationships. It also seeks to build upon existing community strategies blah blah..." Dear me. To help matters along, and just in case anyone in these organisations has forgotten to use a phone, the compact aims to "Agree communication protocol for effective communication between partners" and if it all goes horribly wrong and everyone falls out the agreement even comes with it's self-tailored handy guide to dispute resolution.
I am not suggesting of course that collaboration in areas such as this is not useful and I would hope par for the course anyway. I would question though whether the current fad of compacts, pacts, memoranda, partnerships, service boards et al  is actually delivering a better service for those on the (eventual) receiving end (or to give them their proper titles; service users or stakeholders) or does that bit get lost amongst the myriad of Panels and Boards? Co-operation should be a matter of common sense and not subject to a whole raft of unaccountable levels of officials and terminal council-speak like this.

On the subject of twaddle I see that the council press office has been busy on the council website. Sadly there's still no prominent mention of the upcoming election, and the broken links and unsearchable searchboxes still abound and 'updating' seems solely confined to the 'media'section. so, unsurprisingly given the skewed priorities of this council, the page featuring the online version of the council pravda, the Community News, has undergone a sophisticated revamp...let's hope there is something of a revamp after the May election and the rag can be ditched for good.


The story of  Carmarthenshire whistleblower, Delyth Jenkins, recently featured in Private Eye (blogpost here) will be told in Taro 9, the S4C current affairs programme on Tuesday (20th) at 9pm, with English subtitles - don't miss it.

Earlier posts here;

Update 20th March; Delyth's story features in BBC Wales online today; Carmarthenshire Inquiry call over Delyth Jenkins' complaints


....And for more news from Carmarthenshire, don't forget to check out Cneifiwr's blog.


Cneifiwr said...

Bloody hell, that is as bad as that awful woman from the Care and Social Services Inspectorate who addressed the council in February and waffled on about triangulation and triage.

What a waste, and what a scandal it is that while they are all sitting around drinking coffee and presenting rubbish to each other, real people are being neglected.

Anonymous said...

You should check out the Plain English campaign website.

They have some excellent examples there of how 10 lines of jargon can be reduced to just 2 lines of sense!

My favourite part of the site is the Goobledygook generator: