Wordy, convoluted, unclear writing has been a problem for centuries in both the public and private sectors. But the federal government took a big step to address the issue by passing the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Simply put, the Act states that every document a federal employee writes that will be read by a taxpayer must be written in plain English. Here are some of the highlights of the Act:
- The purpose of this Act is to improve the effectiveness and accountability of Federal agencies to the public by promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.
- The head of each agency shall designate one or more senior officials within the agency to oversee the agency implementation of this Act, communicate the requirements of this Act to the employees of the agency, and train employees of the agency in plain writing.
- Agencies will also create and maintain a plain writing section of the agency’s website that is accessible from the homepage of the agency’s website.
- Beginning not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, each agency shall use plain writing in every document the agency issues or substantially revises.