Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Art Of Taking Minutes...

I see that there is a current kerfuffle about the release of the Cabinet minutes from the meetings where the Cabinet discussed going to war with Iraq. Whatever was said, I doubt that there will be much to be gained from reading the minutes. Civil Servants have perfected the art of minute-taking, as Sir Humphrey Appleby, that apparently omniscient Whitehall mandarin, explains HERE.

(I can't put up the whole video clip, because it's been disabled by the BBC, but trust me, it's worth going to watch it!!)

1 comment:

Ttony said...

The Cabinet's done and they've all gone to dinner
The Secretary stays getting thinner and thinner
Racking his brains to record and report
What he thinks that they think they ought to have thought.

(Lines penned by the first Sir Humphrey)

The problem is that Civil Service minutes are a record of decisions taken and the context in which they were taken, while in most non-civil service contexts, minutes tend to be long transcripts of recorded speech ("The Chairman said O his God"). I write the former a lot: I doubt anybody who wasn't part of the process would get much from them.

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