Magazine article Public Finance

'Stakeholders' Told to Mind Their Official Language

Magazine article Public Finance

'Stakeholders' Told to Mind Their Official Language

Article excerpt

Obscure or unintelligible language in the public sector should be officially regarded as 'maladministration', an MPs' inquiry has found.

Bad language: the use and abuse of official language, was published by the Commons public administration select committee on November 30. It concluded that members of the public should have the right to complain when the use of meaningless jargon results in 'tangible harm'.

The MPs said that when someone was unable to receive services or benefits they were entitled to because they have been confused or misled, official bodies should be obliged to respond properly or face the relevant ombudsman.

Committee chair Tony Wright said: 'Good government requires good language, while bad language is a sign of poor government. Far too often, government uses language that obscures, confuses or evades.'

The report said baffling language deserved to be mocked, but argued it was a serious issue because politics should never exclude the public. …

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