Ronald Reagan once memorably said that "the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
That's probably a phrase that would resonate with Nicole Mamo, who runs a recruitment agency supplying British hospitals with temporary staff. She wanted to place an advert post with the government-run Jobcentre Plus for a domestic cleaner who "must be very reliable and hard-working". As she pointed out, her company's reputation would be at stake if the staff they recruited are not reliable.
Jobcentre Plus, incidentally, describes itself as "a government agency supporting people of working age from welfare into work, and helping employers to fill their vacancies."
But according to the Daily Telegraph, "a Jobcentre Plus worker claimed that the word ''reliable'' meant they could be sued for discriminating against unreliable workers" and refused to display the advert.
Ms Mamo was, unsurprisingly, flabbergasted at this nonsense and took what now seems to be the only effective course of action when faced with such incidents of institutionalised insanity – she went to the media.
This elicited a typically evasive response from a government spokesperson who insisted that adverts for "reliable applicants" had not been banned and the advert had now been posted online.
She said: "I can confirm that we took the advert from the employer and put it onto our website. "Every advert goes onto our website and onto the Jobpoints. Reliability is important to employers, as it is for Jobcentre Plus, and we welcome ads seeking reliable applicants."