The public wants you to use plain English because it’s easy to understand, accessible and clear
People want to be able to understand all emails, letters, websites, leaflets and forms produced by the public sector.
What is plain English in the public sector?
Using plain language means that most people should get a basic understanding the first time they read something.
Some writers in the public sector feel that if they don’t use long words, jargon and formal expressions, they won’t sound professional enough. That isn’t true. It’s easy to sound professional while using everyday words that most people will easily understand.
Avoiding jargon or over-formal words is an inclusive way of writing and is particularly helpful for people whose first language is not English. For example, you could replace ‘caveat’ with ‘condition’, replace ‘remuneration’ with ‘payment’, and replace ‘optimum’ with ‘best’.
Using wordy phrases simply clogs up a sentence, without improving it. Would you rather read ‘in view of the fact that’ or ‘because’? Which is easier to read: ‘in the event that’ or ‘if’?
What we do
We design and deliver training courses to help writers and editors in the public sector to create effective documents. Courses are based on the specific needs of the organisation, the writers and their intended readership and, where possible, use authentic materials for practical exercises.
We also provide editing and proofreading services – so that organisations can feel confident all their writing is clear, concise, accessible and suitable for its target audiences.
Recently, we’ve worked with:
- Writers in a semi-state agency to create clear, concise, accessible copy for their website
- Researchers to write reports that are accessible for a mixed expert and non-expert readership
- Writers to create easy-to-read guides for consumers
- A marketing team to write press releases, brochures and web content without jargon, repetition and waffle
- Minute-takers to produce clear, concise, accurate, user-focused minutes
- Editors and proofreaders to ensure all their materials are clear, effective and free of errors
Read a case study
Citizens Information Board
The course went through the process of planning, writing and editing in clear English . . . It provided a structured approach to the writing process to ensure it achieves what is intended . . . I enjoyed the course and found it helpful . . . Working on real examples was a good exercise. It gives me a systematic approach to apply to my writing . . . I enjoyed the course and got a lot of it . . . It was good revision, with new tips on writing for the web . . . The course was concise and focused. – Comments from the participants of the customised Writing for the Web course
Read more testimonials