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Jargon Buster Directory  

The Central Source for all Jargon

Government - Councils

A lot of council jargon comes from central government and with the labour governments usual enthusiasm for spin on most topics, many phrases are fairly catchy or punchy usually hiding an ulterior motive.

A classic example of this is the use of the term 'cabinet member'. Isn't that something to do with central government big-wigs? - Now' some of your own local council members like to be refered to as 'cabinet members' - isn't it sad! These local District Councillors who are incapable of making it to central government can still make take a title of 'cabinet member' at the local level. We will be putting traffic wardens in a uniform next - oh...that's already happened has it?

Some council jargon comes from the council committee members themselves when they have to invent terms or excuses for poor performance. Other council jargon comes from internal council departments such as Planning who love to invent new 'smoke an mirror' terms such as 'sustainable development' or 'urban design team'.

I loathe council jargon & this section  is just small sample of what there actually is out there.


Council Jargon.


Means re-contacting people who have taken part in a consultation to with regard to make sure ensure that they were actually interviewed and if the interview was carried out properly.


A Census is a survey of a whole population rather than a sample of some people within the population.

Citizens’ Jury

A Citizens’ Jury is made up of people called together to make a judgment on complex issues. Their decision will be based on the evidence they hear.

Closed Questions

These are questions where the answer you can give is limited to one option, such as choosing yes or no.


Data is all information collected during a consultation, such as how many people took part, how many answered yes to a question, how many answered no or how many were satisfied and how many is dissatisfied.

Deliberated Poll

This is when people are asked the same questions twice to see whether their opinion has changed. The second poll is done after they have been given information relevant to the topic to see if this information has changed the opinions they held when first questioned.


This is information collected about the people who have taken part in a consultation - including age, sex and ethnicity.

Depth Interviews

These are usually face- to-face interviews with individuals, although they are sometimes done over the telephone.


E-consultation, is consultation carried out using technology alternatives to the more traditional instead of more traditional techniques such as paper questionnaires. This includes utilise e-mail, online internet forums and discussions and text messaging.


Are the people who run consultations, including chairing of focus groups and running workshops.

Focus Group

Are groups of no more than ten people brought together for open-ended discussion to gain a deeper understanding of peoples attitudes, ideas and opinions.


Forum’s are an arena for the discussion of issues surrounding a particular service. It is made up people who have a direct interest in the service. There are forums on many issues and services, including youth forums, travellers forums and local community forums. These forums explore the issues and examine ways of addressing problems and making changes.


This is the method used to carry out a consultation. This includes, focus groups, questionnaires, interviews and roadshows/ exhibitions.

Mystery Shopping

Is where people act as customers to experience a service and see whether it matches up to an expected standard.

Neighbourhood Forum

This is any kind of structured, regular local meetings for local people to consult about issues of local importance.

Online Form

This is a form that can be completed electronically and is usually found on a website but can also be sent as an e-mail.

Open Question

This means questions where you can express your own views and opinions rather than picking your answer from a list of options.


A pilot is a test or practice, where a small version of a consultation is carried out before the full version to see how well it works and to identify any weaknesses.


This simply means asking people’s opinion on a particular issue or set of issues. They usually consist of being asked yes or answers.


This is the group of people from which a sample will be taken. This could be based on things such as location, gender, sex or it could mean everyone such as with the Census.


This refers to methods of consultation that collects people’s opinions so that an understanding of what people really think and believe can be gathered. The benefit of this type of consultation is that it not only identifies what people think but also, why they think it. This includes focus groups and one-to-one interviews.


This refers to methods of consultation that collects statistical information. Quantative consultation is about finding out how many people hold a particular view, but doesn’t explain why. Methods that produce these types of results include questionnaires and polls.


Specify the number of respondents that fall into the categories required (e.g. so many women, so many men etc.). Interviewers are given quota sheets to show them how many of each type of person are to be interviewed. The sample quota profile is a profile of all the individuals that will be interviewed.


These are formal polls that are held on a single issue.

Representative Sample

This is a sample of people taken from the population which as closely as possible matches the character of that population. This can include age groups, ethnicity and location.


This is the person who takes part in a consultation by answering questions or expressing their views and ideas at a given time.

Response Rate

This is the percentage of the people who were asked to respond to a consultation who actually did respond. A good response rate is more likely to produce results that reflect what the population think than a poor one.


Roadshows are events that give people an opportunity to see exhibits, speak to experts, ask questions and make comment.


This is the group of people identified within a population who will be asked to take part in a consultation.


These are cards that display lists of responses from which the respondent has to make choices.


Are people / organisations that have an interest in a particular area or service. This can include the users of a service and bodies that work alongside the service provider.


Are used to ask people - who have been judged as representative of a chosen population - a set of pre-determined questions

User Groups

User groups are made up of a small group of people who are selected because they use a particular service. These people then meet up ever so often and discuss how a service is doing and exploring ideas of how it can be improved.

Visioning Exercises

These exercises are a way of consulting a wide variety of people on specific issues that are large scale or significant in impact at the same time with the aim of planning for the future. The format for this is usually to bring large groups of interested parties together to debate the issues and decide on a way forward.


Workshops are similar to citizen's Juries. However, they are hold on single days where as juries tend to last for a number of days.





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