Plain English campaign news articles
Big steps to overcome the small print
- Created on Thursday, 03 March 2011 11:40
Plain English Campaign are applauding the consumer contracts team at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the regulatory body for traders throughout the UK. The OFT's year-long study of unclear terms and conditions in consumer contracts covered a range of customer complaints about things such as contracts for gym membership and the small print involved in buying football clubs’ season tickets.
The findings from this year-long study revealed some new information, such as consumers being put off by the length of long-winded contracts. However, it confirmed our well-known fears about the unfairness of small print.
Power points for comparison
- Created on Friday, 18 February 2011 14:02
Plain English Campaign continue to fight for clearer information in energy bills. We were pleased to support the comparison website, www.uswitch.com, when they asked for our review of yearly energy statements. These statements are a regulatory requirement, laid down by Ofgem, for all energy providers to provide an individual statement to their customers that shows the customer's consumption and costs over the past 12 months. But the results of the uSwitch public survey show that some energy companies have been slow to meet this regulation, and those that are meeting it could do with improving the clarity of the statements.
Losing your will to live - plain English instead of legal jargon
- Created on Thursday, 17 February 2011 15:35
Plain English Campaign have been watching the BBC 2 programme 'Can't take it with you' and clearly so have many other people, judging by the increase in queries received at the campaign office on the subject of wills and probate.
Let us know about any difficulties you have with understanding the wording of wills.
A few years ago, the outcry on this subject resulted in the Government calling for regulation among the growing number of will writers. Those without a valid legal qualification fall outside of the compensation currently available from The Law Society, in the event of disputes resulting from unclear will writing.
The Law Society are launching a campaign to press for better regulations in will writing. Plain English Campaign supports this and the need for plain English in all legal documents, wherever possible.
Mists of management-speak
- Created on Friday, 11 February 2011 11:33
The fog of jargon and management-speak has left many of us wandering clueless. The now sadly familiar word, 'redundancy', used for losing a job, is cushioned with ever more obscure words such as, 'displaced', a term originally used to refer to refugees. One employee was told that their job was to be 'offshored', although it is doubtful that this referred to working from an exotic island office. And the latest cloak for bad news refers to redundancies as 'transitioning out of the business'. Naturally, no-one likes to be the bearer of bad news, but this lack of clarity can raise suspicion about the true message.
Plain English Campaign have previously criticised the 'ploddledygook' found in communications from the police. But a recent joint news release from Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police forces, is a damning example of the serious danger of words that can hide the true meaning.
Award winners receive industry recognition
- Created on Monday, 07 February 2011 16:05
In 2009, Plain English Campaign launched a new awards category that would look at the clarity of the spoken word.
We feel that the campaign's fight for clear communications should relate to all channels for sending and receiving information. Books, newspapers and other printed documents will probably never disappear, but people now have to cope with even more information than ever. And sometimes information created for one communication channel does not work as well in another without being completely rewritten or redesigned.
This makes plain English a clear choice for whatever way you choose to communicate. And to prove it works, we are proud to announce that the winners of our 2009 Plain English Communicator award, Ashbourne Radio, have now been awarded (with High Peak Radio) further recognition for their clear presentation style.