Plain English Awards announce finalists


Who’s the clearest of them all? Which organisation best understands the need for clarity in communication?

The list of finalists in the 2014 Plain English Awards is out. Winners to be announced 27th November.

The finalist organisations are united by their dedication to clarity in communication. They understand that communicating clearly and simply contributes to their success, and they walk the talk. Clear communication shows they respect and understand their audiences and readers, and it builds goodwill. These organisations also know that clear communication can increase their bottom line.

This ninth year of the Awards saw 122 entries across 12 categories.

‘The Awards encourage organisations to show they care about communicating honestly and clearly,’ says Gregory Fortuin, Chair of the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust. ‘Making the effort to communicate in plain English can make a difference to the lives of many people.’

Categories in the Awards honour documents and websites — and the people who write them. And members of the public could join in the push for plain English by nominating good or bad documents in the People’s Choice category.

Clear communication is an important contributor to an organisation’s success. For example, last year’s grand prize winner, the Ministry of Social Development, reduced the number of phonecalls from welfare clients needing to clarify a point from an average 25% to just 2.5%. Fewer phonecalls means money saved, and less pressure on the call centre.

The spokesman for the Environmental Protection Authority said he’d been complimented for their winning entry: ‘…getting fan mail for a government publication is something of a rarity.’

First prize in the premier Champion category of the Awards is $10,000 in plain English consultancy from sponsor Write Limited. The finalists are:

Plain English Champion — Best Organisation


Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team

Inland Revenue — Lindsay Botham
Ministry of Social Development — Sarah Moodie
StudyLink — StudyLink Service Support Team

Best Plain English Document — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation (NGO)

Commerce Commission — Know your rights as a consumer brochure
NZ On Air — Statement of Intent 2014–2018
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand — Get Ahead Skills: My Planning My Preparation: Workbook

Best Plain English Document — Private Sector

Mercer (NZ) Limited — Annual Member Benefit Statement
Skills Active Aotearoa — Information Sheets 
Woods Creative Limited — PowerSmart DLE brochure and owner’s manual

Best Plain English Website — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation (NGO)

Careers New Zealand —
Commerce Commission —
Ministry of Education —

Best Plain English Website — Private Sector

Mercer (NZ) Limited —
Woods Creative Limited —
WooHoo NZ Tax Refunds —

Best Plain English Sentence Transformation

Internal Affairs — sentence from website
Statistics New Zealand — sentence from Income tables [web page]
Xero — sentence from Tax Rates

Best Plain English Technical Communicator

Janet Green, Risk and Assurance team, Ministry of Social Development
Kylie McGrath, Xero
Laura Southgate, Xero
Ros Black, Xero

Best Plain English Annual Report

Beef + Lamb New Zealand — Annual Report 2012–2013
Mercer (NZ) Limited — Annual Report

Best Plain English Turnaround

MAS — MAS Motor Vehicle Insurance
MAS — MAS House and Contents Insurance
Spark New Zealand — Call Minder

People’s Choice — Best Plain English Communication

In this category, we can’t tell you who the finalist is. There’s only one, so we would be giving away the winner! All will be revealed at the Awards ceremony on 27 November.  

People’s Choice — Worst ‘Brainstrain’ Communication

We can’t very well congratulate the ‘Brainstrain’ finalists, but here they are!

Air New Zealand — Important Notices
Earthquake Commission — Email about a simple repair job that hadn’t been sorted after 3 years (and 3 months)





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