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Plain English campaign news articles

Compulsory purchase order is a 'must buy' in plain English

The Scottish Government has launched new guidance on compulsory purchase orders for Local Authorities and an easy read guide for members of the public.

This is the first time in over 30 years the guidance for Local Authorities has been updated.

Read more: Compulsory purchase order is a 'must buy' in plain English

Protect your livelihood with plain language

As people in major towns of the UK sweep their lives back into order, it has been suggested that the national riots were triggered after a 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, was shot in London by police officers. But the absence of plain English in a major public crisis has again made matters worse with details of the shooting being poorly communicated by the police force, and the difficulties experienced by police officers in deciphering the street language of young rioters.

Earlier this year, the 7/7 evidence hearings were heavily criticised by the attending judge, Lady Justice Hallet, for being seriously short of ‘plain English’.

Read more: Protect your livelihood with plain language

Banks’ crippling charges and switching stand-off

The Treasury Select Committee are pushing the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) to press the Government into taking action to make bank charges clearer and switching between bank accounts easier. In the meantime, this triangle of pressure is causing account holders unnecessary costs and loss of choice, while the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury Select Committee argue about taking action.

This betrayal of customers’ rights cuts deeper when, to a great extent, the issue of clearer information to promote fairer competition was addressed in Northern Ireland as early as 2007.

Read more: Banks’ crippling charges and switching stand-off

Pension ‘trail commissions’ create a trail of misery

Recent research from the watchdog Consumer Focus shows that the banned pension trail commissions paid to independent financial advisers may continue to cost some pension savers millions of pounds. This is money that could be invested in the saver’s pension scheme rather than the financial advisers’ pockets.

Read more: Pension ‘trail commissions’ create a trail of misery

OCBC house is in order with plain language

Plain English Campaign congratulate Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank), Singapore for taking another lead in the banking industry by achieving the Crystal Mark accreditation for their mortgage information. OCBC are working with Plain English Campaign in response to findings from studies about unclear financial information made in December 2010. OCBC are determined to make sure that every step of their mortgage process will be written in plain English. The first OCBC documents to receive the only internationally recognised standard for clear writing are the Home Loan mortgage application form, the letter of offer, the mortgage terms and conditions and the letter of declaration.

Read more: OCBC house is in order with plain language

Crystal-clear Korea

Plain English Campaign is honoured to be invited as guest speakers for the national conference of ‘Korean Language Officers’('GugEo- ChaekImGwan') in Seoul at the end of May 2011. The organisation works to promote plain language, or as they call it in Korea, ‘public language, as used by central and local government.

The two-day conference will gather the Korean Language Officers throughout the country to share language policies and operations for raising awareness and providing education for anyone communicating public information.

Read more: Crystal-clear Korea

Even Dr Doolittle spoke plain English to the animals

Well-meaning American academics are taking us a step closer to the world of George Orwell's Animal Farm, but without the author's love for plain English. US academic editors of the new 'Journal for Animal Ethics' are calling for new "animal language" that avoids using traditional terms such as 'pet' and 'wild'. Their aim is to improve relationships between humans and the wider world of animals.

Plain English Campaign receives daily complaints from the public about gobbledygook language. Some feature the documents written by academics, or the jargon of science, that is transferred into our everyday lives in public information. But so far we have not received complaints about terms such as 'beast' or 'pest', from any animal, other than the highly intelligent species at the University of Illinois.

Read more: Even Dr Doolittle spoke plain English to the animals

2011 nominations needed for Women in Public Life awards.

Nominations for the Women in Public Life awards will close on Friday 6 May 2011. This is a chance to acknowledge the positive contributions and actions of women in our community.

Last year, Chrissie received both an award for her contributions to the community and an additional award for her overall outstanding contribution.

Read the full press release for details of how to place your nomination before the closing date.

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