Cultural change in government
Over the years, we have heard endless tales of busy government ministers and senior officials struggling to read the advice they are given. Too many writers find it hard to strike a professional, authoritative tone without lapsing into officialese and complexity.
When a government department recognises a problem and asks for help, we swing into action with a plain English reform program.
In 2001, one such department started by commissioning a writing evaluation. When the results confirmed there was room to improve, it then booked training for its managers. The response was so positive that we ended up training over 230 staff, including the CEO and Executive.
With training underway, the Foundation's editing team began reworking key documents, including the department's flagship published reports, client-facing communications and internal templates.
We then redeveloped its writing style manual, co-authored its annual report and ran refresher workshops to cement our earlier training.
The average document is now 40% shorter, much clearer and far more readable. The organisation's major stakeholders have been extremely receptive, and the department's writing culture has shifted permanently.
After more than 10 years, the department remains one of our major Getting to the point® clients.