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Call to join plain English campaign

29 August 2013

Call to join plain English campaign

All local authorities need to communicate with ratepayers using clear, honest communications, says Writemark Awards Trustee Gregory Fortuin. If they are communicating well they could take home the top honours in the annual Plain English Awards.

“Ratepayers need to understand in plain English what their council is doing. It’s vital in our democratic system of government,” says Mr Fortuin. He says the Plain English Awards aren't just about finding and rewarding great documents and websites. They're also about honouring the organisations and people who produce great writing, including local authorities.

If a local authority has a solid commitment to plain English and plenty of great work to prove it, they could enter the Plain English Champion: Best Organisation award, says Mr Fortuin. This is the premier award with a prize worth $10,000.

A plain English campaign might include:
• a plain English standard
• staff training
• documents redrafted into plain English
• internal and external publicity campaigns
• a style guide that supports plain English
• intranet materials
• publications.

If a staff member has made a contribution to the local authority’s assurance of clear, reader-friendly communication they could be honoured as the Plain English Champion: Best Individual or Team.  

For example, if an individual or team has:
• convinced senior management to support a plain English initiative
• led a plain English project — large or small
• run workshops or regular team meetings on plain English
• helped others produce clear, reader-friendly writing
• written newsletter articles or intranet resources about plain English topics
• rewritten template letters into plain English.

The Turnaround category has been widened this year to accept ‘before and after’ versions of documents or websites from any organisation. So if someone has slaved over a redraft and they’re really proud of it, here’s a chance to get that hard work recognised.

Entries for the plain English awards are open at www.plainenglishawards.org.nz
They close on 20 September 2013.


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