Sunday, 19 December 2010

FoI request #1 Code name projects such as Victoria Sponge

Derek Tickles

15 October 2010

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

I found the recent revelations concerning the project to abolish
the Audit Commission was code named Operation Victoria Sponge
hilarious (see:

Once I had recovered from my fit of laughter I contacted a source
at CLG who is currently working at a senior level as well as a
close colleague at national newspaper. I asked them both whether
they were aware of any other clandestine projects that have been
undertaken under pseudonyms or codename at CLG. I was surprised by
the response I was given.

Can you please confirm whether the following code names have been
used and if they relate to the projects described please?

1. Operation Jam(-jar) Roly Poly - Project to upgrade Eric Pickles'
car from Toyota Prius to a Jaguar.

2. Operation Spotted Dick - Project to increase media profile of
Pickles and to ensure his regular appearance on TV news, radio and
in national newspapers

3. Operation Lardy Cake - Project to encourage Ministers to
exercise more to help fight obesity as this has been perceived
negatively by public and is a priority according to PM.

4. Operation Raspberry Tart - Project to abolish evidence based
policy and encourage public confidence in decisions being made on
the fly.

5. Operation fruitcake - To pass responsibility of CLG external
press and media to special advisers to enable a more controlled

6. Operation fairy cake - Project to extend the influence and roles
of CLG special advisers who have recently come under criticism

7. Operation Eton mess - Project to force councils to return to
weekly bin collection so that middle class homes do not need to
have over flowing slop buckets in their kitchens.

8. Operation Belgian waffle - Project to minimise funding to the
European Regional Development Fund.

9. Operation gooseberry fool - Project to eradicate public's
perception that CLG ministers are stupid or naive at best.

10. Operation Let them eat cake - Project to appease local
authorities with reduction in bureaucracy before savage spending

I sincerely hope that some of these projects were ideas generated
during an over zealous awayday and were not used. Please can you
supply any other codes names used with a project description.

I have previously held the work of CLG in high regard and I feel
that the use of these, quite frankly childish, project names is
embarrassing. Can you please supply me of the name of the minister,
special advisor or senior civil servant that approved the use of
the code names?

Keep having fun,

Derek Tickles

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