The UK Civil Service - Humour

This Section contains various tongue-in-cheek advice about working in the UK Civil Service. But don't forget that many a true word is said in jest ...

Let's begin with a number of lessons in speaking and writing the civil servants' language: Mandarin.

It is no accident that Whitehall officials are known as Mandarins. Their language is often as hard to understand as anything spoken in Beijing. These first 9 lessons, mainly written by David Fuhr and Martin Jones, with a contributions from Jo Rixom, will provide you with the basic language that you need to get by and survive in Whitehall.

Lessons 1 & 2: Basic Vocabulary: What your Bosses Really Mean - and ...

the Whitehall Clock and Calendar

Lesson 3: Basic Vocabulary: Policy Development

Lessons 4 & 5: Communicating with Ministers' Offices - and ...

Management Speak

Lessons 6 & 7: How to Write Government Documents - The Title & The Foreword

Lesson 8: How to Write Government Documents - The Text

Lesson 9: Understanding Drafting Meetings


Lesson 10 is a Masterclass by Lord Butler.

Lesson 11 provides sage advice from Sir Humphrey Appleby on how to survive Ministers' attempts at Civil Service Reform.


Martin Stanley

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