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Plain English campaign news articles

University makes It crystal clear

A University of Derby online application form has been recognised for its straightforward style with a Crystal Mark. It is the first form of its kind to be recognised by the Plain English Campaign in this way.

The Plain English Campaign gives the award with their distinctive Crystal Mark logo to documents and websites that provide information clearly, with the best use of English and correct use of punctuation and grammar.

Read more: University makes It crystal clear

Parking fine whines

Parking notices are frequently named by drivers as a serious irritation.
Misreading a parking sign can lead to a hefty fine, particularly if the penalty notice is also unclear. Plain English Campaign feel it is time to apply plain English to everything connected with parking to make life easier and less costly for all involved.

Councils have to invest in managing parking to please businesses, residents and drivers. Due to the number of emails we have received, there is no doubt that parking is a sensitive subject for drivers.

Whether it’s the signs, the lines, or the fines – parking creates nothing but whines.
Traffic wardens have to cope first hand with the negative response to their attempts at managing the growing number of vehicles on our roads. Meanwhile, drivers struggle with the looming threat of a parking fine.

Richmond Borough Council has tried to tackle the problem by introducing a ‘humane parking’ scheme, which in reality is little more than an attempt to introduce a ‘reasonable parking’ scheme. Sadly, the name itself left many drivers puzzled by the use of such language.

Read more: Parking fine whines

Stockport Express article

This page shows the content of an article published in the Stockport Express on October 13, 2010

Chrissie's a winner, plain and simple

The Plain English campaign has proved it has staying power after its founder scooped a top gong at the Women in Public Life Awards.

Chrissie Maher OBE, from the organisation based in New Mills, was named winner in the public affairs category at a glitzy ceremony at the Northumberland Hotel, London.

Read more: Stockport Express article

Nanny McPhee - bull or champion?

The annual awards are coming and the jargon is pouring in - particularly a number of nominations for Emma Thompson, the actress, who recently spoke out against the sloppy language of teenagers.

You can read a report of her comments in the Mail Online.

It must be the first time that the same person and the same comment has been nominated for both the good and bad categories of our awards. And that divided public opinion is reflected within the campaign's offices.

Read more: Nanny McPhee - bull or champion?

Too few houses, too many words

The housing market is being attacked on all fronts with buyers struggling to get mortgages and house prices dropping by £200 each day in the last month alone.

This means the rental market is under greater pressure.Tenants and landlords are faced with worrying contractual responsibilities. Landlords face the possibility of being caught with a tenant and no rent as a result of unemployment and redundancies. Equally, tenants face confusion over their responsibilities in times of crisis. And where there is confusion, there is opportunity for some to take advantage of the vulnerable – whether landlords or tenants.

Read more: Too few houses, too many words

Plain English and the HMRC

Plain English won't solve this one, but plain common sense is a start

Despite the current tax-code fiasco, and the ensuing media backlash, in the last 15 years Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have made some surprising and impressive improvements to their communications with taxpayers.

When Plain English Campaign started, we were involved with reviewing hundreds of thousands of government documents. Some of these documents included tax information and we were proud to welcome HMRC on board as one of our earliest corporate members. We eventually worked on a major document
- 'How to fill in your tax return' - in 1996 and have trained many HMRC employees since then.

This gives us all the more reason to feel extremely disappointed by recent public communications from HMRC, as those early years of investment and effort appear to have been forgotten.

Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign, says, 'This isn't the first time that the campaign has had to give the tax system a good shaking.
Only a couple of years ago we provided a plain English explanation of the 10p tax band after we were overwhelmed with complaints from the public.

Read more: Plain English and the HMRC

Chrissie stands out for women with plain English

Chrissie stands out for women with plain English

Chrissie Maher OBE, was selected as winner of the Public Affairs category from an overwhelming number of nominations for the ‘Women in Public Life’ awards. The event was hosted by BBC presenter, Sian Willams for the Dods and Scottish Widows 2010 awards and held a further surprise for Chrissie when she was also selected for the category of ‘Outstanding achiever of the year’.

(Clicking on a photo will show a larger version, with more information.)

Read more: Chrissie stands out for women with plain English

Not plain English in nature

Every so often the public remind us why the campaign exists in a way that leaves no question about the need for plain English.

Photo of sign located on the border between Chadderton and Royton along the A663, Broadway - courtesy of Damian Slevin

Photo of sign located on the border between Chadderton and Royton along the A663, Broadway - courtesy of Damian Slevin

Read more: Not plain English in nature

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