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
“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
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
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.