I heard the other day about a council that has a no bad news policy.

The idea sounded intriguing if not challenging in these straitened times when there’s so much, er, bad news for councils.

It led me to pondering the question of who should speak truth to power.

In any organisation that’s got its culture* right it shouldn’t be a problem.  The wisdom of its leaders will make them want to seek the truth no matter what it is, who knows it or how uncomfortable it is.  Only by knowing the truth can wrong things be stopped and problems dealt with.

How many organisations (public, private or voluntary sectors) are like this?  Not I suspect one with a no bad news policy.

Who in those organisations, and in the no bad news council, speaks truth to power?


1. * – my definition of culture?  Nothing high falutin’.  Simply the answer to the question How do you do things around here?

2. “The phrase ‘speaking truth to power’ goes back to 1955, when the American Friends Service Committee published Speak Truth to Power, a pamphlet that proposed a new approach to the Cold War” – Glossary of Quaker Terms and Phrases