7. GovSpeak@Work

Knowledge Base – The use of a wiki in the B.C. government


Governments around the world are famous for their use of acronyms. Most public servants have experienced the feeling of missing out on part of a conversation because they couldn’t keep all the acronyms straight. An estimate on the B.C. government’s @Work site suggests there are more than 14,000 acronyms in use across the public service.

For new staff, being asked on the first day of work something like “Do you have the BN for the ADM regarding LDB regulations?” or “Can you find the GLE for PHSA?” can be particularly challenging. For administrative staff, keeping up with changes and circulating new acronyms is a time-consuming task.

The Practice

The idea came from a director in the Ministry of Finance, who recognized that there were many employees keeping and updating lists of acronyms all around the province’s offices. Recognizing that valuable administration time was being taken up by this task he had the idea to develop a wiki for acronyms:

 “Even though this is a simple example, my philosophy is that every little bit helps and I particularly value the time and purpose of our admin staff.”

The site is called GovSpeak and is made available across the B.C. government through the internal @Work site. GovSpeak provides one central location for access and uploads of new acronyms, their definitions, related links, sources and contacts. This simple tool can potentially save hours of administrative time and support staff in learning or keeping up with this language.