Circumlocution office

Related to Circumlocution office: Little Dorrit
a term of ridicule for a governmental office where business is delayed by passing through the hands of different officials.

See also: Circumlocution

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in classic literature ?
If I might offer any apology for so exaggerated a fiction as the Barnacles and the Circumlocution Office, I would seek it in the common experience of an Englishman, without presuming to mention the unimportant fact of my having done that violence to good manners, in the days of a Russian war, and of a Court of Inquiry at Chelsea.
The routings of Blandois/Rigaud, Dorrit himself and Merdle cause a much deeper impression and are attended by a much greater clamour, while what stays longest in many readers' memories is the reiterative stridency of Dickens's attack on the indolent, nepotistic and corrupt powers-that-be whose self-serving political and economic relations are superintended and rubber-stamped by the laissez-non-faire ineffectuality of the Circumlocution Office. Even a criminal like Blandois/ Rigaud is not unaware of the pernicious hold the establishment's knights of industry have on society.
Unless the Birmingham MPs, whose contribution to date has been pathetic, commit themselves wholeheartedly and make the fight for justice a cause celebre, the campaign will go round in circles like the Circumlocution Office in Dickens' Little Dorrit where no public business of any kind makes progress.
This is not to say that Rowland did not have a fierce side that sometimes erupted in a department meeting, or in a discussion about curriculum, or in the face of bureaucratic interventions from some Circumlocution Office or another.
Charles Dickens's depiction of the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit (20) is less severe but perhaps more familiar, as is to be expected from someone writing about a more securely ordered and at least quasi-democratic regime.
The England of the Circumlocution Office, institutional incarnation of "traditional culture" has no room for Doycean inventiveness; refused patents, this "public offender" whose crime is his wit as a Renaissance humanist might have understood the term ("he has been ingenious, and he has been trying to turn his ingenuity to his country's services" [160]) is forced to take his inventions out of the county and seek contracts and success abroad, more precisely in France, that "barbaric power", as the narrator puts it with irony (735); and Doyce was not the only inventor to be spurned by his own countrymen.
"It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office." (Charles Dickens, 'Little Dorritt', Chapter10)
Characteristic of Dickens, the story exposes harsh class distinctions in the early 19th century, as well as shadowy financial doings, blackmail and even a big, heartless bureaucracy, the Circumlocution Office, which all makes the author seem a little bit like Nostradamus.
THE BBC dramatisation of Little Dorrit portrayed an invented government department, the Circumlocution Office. It generated forms and memoranda with no purpose, and was awash with paper and a large staff who achieved nothing.
But the fact that the book centres on the Swiftian extravagance of the Circumlocution Office (rather than an actual department of Whitehall) testifies to the huge importance of that 'incantatory rhetoric' both here and throughout the canon.
(59) Like the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit, (60) the result could be a repository for an organization's "bad facts" that would serve to deflect the organization's accountability to those with whom its other agents deal.
I'll scratch a subsistence living out of five stony-lonesome acres, I'll wash cars or run a filling-station, I'll raise earthworms, I'll make little brass cannons and sell them, but I won't be a well-paid functionary in the Circumlocution Office." If they only would so speak, as men should, the "Liberal" Establishment would end like the soap-bubble it is -- pricked by the pin of integrity.