Merseyside Police changed its strapline from "Neighbourhood Policing" to "Total Policing" as part of a £12 300 "rebranding exercise".
West Sussex county council paid a private company £13 000 to help it "better understand what residents wanted". This produced the new motto "With you, for you, making the most of West Sussex".
Hammersmith and Fulham introduced five new mottos to replace its old one, "Serving our Community" – which it felt "no longer reflected the values of the council" – as part of a £10 000 exercise.
Similar schemes in Redbridge ("A better place to live") and Harlow ("Working together for Harlow") cost £80 000 and £65 000 respectively. The Campaign for Plain English said:
"These are stunningly vacuous and inane forms of drivel They are worthy of David Brent - they are totally meaningless and achieve and say nothing. It is criminal to think people are wasting public money and public time to come up with this rubbish."
Some bodies have ditched traditional mottos, sometimes in Latin, in favour of sayings featuring modern "buzzwords". Others have introduced new mottos which are hardly different from earlier ones.
Wiltshire police achieved both feats. The force dropped "Primus et Optimus" ("First and Best") from its crest while changing its "strapline" motto from "Keeping Wiltshire safe" to "Delivering safe and satisfied communities" before settling for "Delivering safe, satisfied and confident communities".
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) ditched "Semper Paratus" ("Always Ready") for "Making our communities safe places to live, work and visit".
Many of the new mottos reflect the public sector's interest in health and "sustainability".
Amber Valley council went from "To improve community well being" to "To improve the sustainability and well being of local communities".
Merseyside FRS changed "Making Merseyside a safer, stronger community" to "To make Merseyside a safer, stronger, healthier community"; it said the change was because "people in poor health or at risk of developing medical, physical or mental health conditions are at a greater risk from fire".
Critics said many new mottos were "vanity statements" marking the arrival of a new chief or minister.
When David Miliband became Foreign Secretary he spent £4 200 creating a new mission statement for the Foreign Office because the existing one; "Work for the UK's interests in a safe, just and prosperous world", needed "a clearer focus" and "should be more memorable". The result was the motto "Better World, Better Britain".
South Yorkshire Fire Services's new strapline "Working for a safer South Yorkshire" was introduced as part of a £5 200 project.
Warwick district's mission statement "Building on excellence, to become world class by 2012" formed part of a £3 024 scheme.
Further examples of TTel's survey were:
- Many changes are only minor tweaks. Northamptonshire council went from "To make Northamptonshire an excellent place to live and work" to "Proud to make Northamptonshire a great place to live and work"; Maldon council switched from "To maintain a district which takes pride in itself" to "To maintain and encourage a district which takes pride in itself".
- Fife FRS went from "Making Fife safer" to "Making our communities safe", while Durham and Darlington FRS went from "A safe place to live and work" to "Safer people, safer places" to "Safest people, safest places".
- Some mottos can take a long time to introduce. Warrington's 27-word "vision" took three years to develop and entailed a series of staff "workshops".
- Others are quicker. Staffordshire Police came up with "Keeping our communities safe and reassured" after paying consultants £2,000 for a "planning day". It cost a further £5,000 to put the new statement on signs and stationery.
- Some mottos seem to be statements of the obvious, such as "Sussex Police Serving Sussex".
- Others appear to go beyond the organisation's remit; Suffolk FRS changed "To make Suffolk the safest county in England" to "To make Suffolk a place where people lead safe and fulfulling lives".
- Oxford city's motto changed from "Building pride in our city" to "Building a world-class city for everyone" because the first motto was considered too exclusive; a council spokesman said the aim was to improve the city "for all - not just some - of its citizens".
- The Met Office has changed three times in five years, finally settling on "To be recognised as the best weather and climate service in the world".
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission has had five mission statements since its creation in 2007 and has spent more than £2,000 putting them on mousemats and posters.
- Even National Parks now have mottos. Northumberland's is "Inspiring landscapes, thriving communities", Pembrokeshire's "Keeping the national park special".
- Many straplines are self congratulatory. Staffordshire Moorlands council changed from "Aiming for Excellence" to "Achieving Excellence", Dartford's is "If only all Councils were like Dartford"; Wandsworth spent £3,232 changing from "An Excellent Council" to "Number one for service and value".
- In an apparent u-turn, North Tyneside changed its motto from "Closer" to "Widening horizons".