News

Plain English campaign news articles

Gobbledygook on the BBC

On Monday 7 March at 7.30pm, BBC Inside Out East Midlands will be full of gobbledygook and jargon as BBC presenter John Holmes travels to Derbyshire for an update on the story of Plain English Campaign.

Read more: Gobbledygook on the BBC

Big steps to overcome the small print

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.

Read more: Big steps to overcome the small print

Power points for comparison

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.

Read more: Power points for comparison

Losing your will to live - plain English instead of legal jargon

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.

Read more: Losing your will to live - plain English instead of legal jargon

Mists of management-speak

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.

Read more: Mists of management-speak

Copyright © 2014 Plain English Campaign. All Rights Reserved.

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

I accept cookies from this site.

EU Cookie Directive Module Information