11 agosto 2010

'Delivery's out, implementation'a in': The civil servant's essential guide to Davespeak



If you want to make it in the new Government, you need to know the lingo. So civil servants have produced a guide to ‘speaking Cameron’ to help its employees adjust to life under the Coalition. The briefing note, drafted by officials in Michael Gove’s Education Department – but expected to be emulated across Whitehall departments – is headlined ‘language of the new Government’. The memo – drawn up for the benefit of outside agencies hired to work for the department – is divided into two columns: words used before May 11 (the day Mr Cameron entered No 10) and those which should be adopted instead. The first word which the memo says should be dropped is ‘State’. The officials write that it should be substituted for Mr Cameron’s cherished concept of the Big Society, his idea that power should be taken away from Government and handed back to communities. The concept, which is thought to have been driven by Mr Cameron’s long-term image guru Steve Hilton, can be felt throughout the list: civil servants should not talk about ‘leading change’ but about ‘empowering change’, it says. The 30 key ‘translations’ include several mentions of families, another key part of the PM’s ‘brand’. More...Shire wars: Cameron risks new 'Turnip Taliban' rebellion with secret plan to drive out old-style constituency chairmen. The guide says that the emphasis is no longer on England being ‘the best place in the world to grow up’, but should be on Britain being ‘the most family-friendly place in Europe’. The list, which is subject to the caveat that it ‘depends on the context the words are used in’, spells the end for much of the jargon which sprang up during New Labour’s 13 years in power. ‘Stakeholder’, meaning someone with an interest in a policy, has been abolished, to be replaced with ‘people, volunteers, practitioners, professional organisations etc’, while ‘delivery model’ has been axed in favour of ‘getting things done’. The term ‘integrated working’ has been replaced by the more verbose, but comprehensible, ‘people working together to provide better services’. Last night, a Government spokesman said the guide was a natural consequence of the change of regime. ‘All new governments have new policies, which they communicate to the public with fresh language and tone,’ said the spokesman. ‘It will come as no surprise that we’ve been working on this.’