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White Papers are clear as mud

White Papers are clear as mud
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White Papers are clear as mud

Governance | Gordon Hunter | 23 Aug 2011

Gordon Hunter can't quite get his head around the jargonistic government White Papers.

Am I thick? Am I pedantic? (don’t bother to answer) I find it really difficult to respond to government White Papers.

Take the 55-page masterpiece on “Open Public Services”.  I understand its a fairly obvious and wholly laudable message: that we should have more local control of a better range of health services, housing, schools and so on. What I don’t like is the jargon ('floor targets', 'choice prompts'), rhetoric ('overwhelming imperative', 'urgent moral purpose'), and the impossible or unintelligible questions like:

"Consistent with the government’s fiscal plans, what further opportunities exist to target funding to help the poorest, promote social mobility and provide fair access to public services?"

I’d need degrees in accounting, social science, philosophy and economics to make an informed response.

"What else can government do to overcome any traditional boundaries between public service providers, which get in the way of solutions to people’s needs?"

What does this mean?

The chances of getting sensible answers from ordinary citizens are slim. I shall have to leave the task to mainstream service providers and dedicated think tanks.
 
Never mind 'Open Government', what about 'Open (and accessible) Government White Papers'?

 

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Gordon Hunter

Gordon Hunter is director of the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, which he started in 2002, and blogs for Civil Society on all things 'local'.  He has a background in HR and an ambition to expel all thoughtless jargon.

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