They're taking a dashboard approach to performance: Writers of gobbledegook named and shamed in Golden Bull awards



15:03 GMT, 11 December 2012

Mitt Romney was awarded the 'Foot in Mouth' award

Mitt Romney was awarded the 'Foot in Mouth' award

Many complain that they need a translation guide to keep up with the jargon churned out in work meetings.

But, in a triumph for plain speaking, the best examples of corporate gobbledygook were today named and shamed.

The worst offenders, guilty of using phrases such as 'from a spectrum of inadequacy' to 'a dashboard approach to performance' were highlighted as the culprits inflicting this nonsense on their colleagues.

The Plain English Campaign revealed
its annual Golden Bull awards handed out to groups guilty of the worst
examples of management gibberish.

Most of the worst business jargon comes from the realms of officialdom, including the NHS, government departments and councils.

'Plain English' campaigners who belong
to the group which was founded in 1979, took exception to meaningless
phrases like 'dashboard approach to performance' and 'spectrum of

Among this year's winners was NHS
North Staffordshire, which offered a baffling response to a bid to open a
new pharmacy at Madeley Surgery.

It wrote: 'There was not currently a gap
on the spectrum of adequacy sufficient to conclude that the provision
of pharmaceutical services is not currently secured to the standard of
adequacy,' the committee explained as it rejected the application.

Everyone clear Gibberish spoken in everyday life has been named and shamed in the Golden Bull awards

Everyone clear Gibberish spoken in everyday life has been named and shamed in the Golden Bull awards

Another body recognised for its hopeless grasp of the English language was NHS Tayside, which reported that it planned to adopt a 'dashboard approach to performance reporting and assurance'.

Also on the winners' list were an impenetrable NHS Norfolk and Waveney letter explaining new fee structures, and a description by Cheshire, Warrington and Wirrall NHS Trust of a new service helping doctors decide how to best to spend local NHS budgets.

'Building in equality and risk impact assessments the options are taken through a process to arrive at the content for an output based specification and benefits foreseen as a result of the implementation,' the trust explained.


Among the gobbledygook that the Plain English campaign protests against, they have compiled a list of sentences that they believe are far too long-winded.

They include:

'If there are any points on which you require explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone.'

'High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process.'

'Your enquiry about the use of the entrance area at the library for the purpose of displaying posters and leaflets about Welfare and Supplementary Benefit rights, gives rise to the question of the provenance and authoritativeness of the material to be displayed. Posters and leaflets issued by the Central Office of Information, the Department of Health and Social Security and other authoritative bodies are usually displayed in libraries, but items of a disputatious or polemic kind, whilst not necessarily excluded, are considered individually.'

Mitt Romney, the defeated Republican
Presidential candidate, was named as the winner of the 'Foot in Mouth'
award for spoken gibberish after regularly tying himself in knots during
the US election campaign.

one particularly confusing episode, he told voters: 'I believe in an
America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the
America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love.'

Other organisations selected for the 'Golden Bulls' included Enfield Council, Transport for London and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Transport for London was also named for its catastrophic attempt to explain the relatively simple concept of 'Billing Days' and 'Billing Periods' in road use bills.

'Billing Day means a day falling no earlier than 5 Working Days after the last day of that Billing Period or such other day as Transport for London may in the particular circumstances of the case determine on which Transport for London shall take the automatic payment under paragraph (8) of the scheme order,' it began.

'Billing Period in relation to CC Auto Pay means a period of 1 month or such other period as Transport for London may determine and specify on its Congestion Charging website in each case beginning with the day on which Transport for London accepts an application for the Registration of a CC Auto Pay Account or such other day as Transport for London may in the particular circumstances of the case accept.'