Buzzwords and acronyms are ubiquitous throughout public service provision worldwide. Additionally, such terms are subject to frequent change, and public servants are expected to use the most up-to-date language in their work in order to reflect current policy, mirror institutional norms, and for purposes of equality or public value. This chapter provides two examples of language use in health and social care services in the UK, focusing on the terms “intellectual disability” and “frailty.” Both are relatively recent clinical terms adopted in health and social care public service provision. The chapter draws on empirical findings from a discourse analysis of interviews with public servants to explore their perceptions of these terms and how they have come to use them in their practice. The discourse analysis reveals a number of tensions, benefits, and challenges associated with changing terminology and the expectations that come with this. In conclusion, changes to terminology are generally made to benefit public value and service experience; however, such changes can give rise to personal dilemmas for the public servant in practice.
Cluley, V., & Radnor, Z. (2021). “Considered Language” in Public Service: Changing Discourses and Their Implementation in Practice. In Public Service: Changing Discourses and Their Implementation in Practice (259-276). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29980-4_82