Social Security gets an A+, State gets a C- on Federal Plain Language Report Card
Center for Plain Language issues grades to government agencies
WASHINGTON, DC, November 17, 2015— The Center for Plain Language issued its annual Federal Plain Language Report Card today grading government agencies on how well they communicate with the nation’s taxpayers. The Social Security Administration tied for top grades with the Department of Homeland Security. The Departments of State and Transportation received the lowest grades.
The annual evaluation, announced by Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA), grades federal government agencies on their adherence to the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The yearly Federal Plain Language Report Card shows how well the agencies are doing, giving grades from A to F on:
- Compliance with the requirements of the Plain Writing Act
- Plain Writing & Information Design
“I believe that clear communication from the government is critical,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack. “Our federal agencies have a responsibility to provide clear and precise communication, but for years we’ve been bogged down by gobbledygook. I have been a strong supporter of simplifying the way Americans receive information from their government to improve transparency, and I’m proud to be a voice in ensuring that federal agencies are communicating in plain language.”
“This year’s report card grades tell us that federal agencies continue their efforts to promote plain language and to write clearly,” said Chip Crane, PhD, Center for Plain Language Board Member and Report Card Analysis Lead. “Each year the grades have improved overall (with a few exceptions), showing growing support from senior leaders. Plain language reps, writers, communication folks—they get it. They want to serve the public with clear writing, but the task is great. The culture is slowly changing, and we hope the momentum continues.”
“Plain language saves money by making communication more efficient,” said Susan Kleimann, PhD, Center for Plain Language Chair. “Government agencies have to do less explaining, deal with fewer mistakes, and do less re-work. Plain language helps everyone get things right the first time.”
The Center for Plain Language, a non-profit organization, supports those who use plain language, trains those who should use plain language, and urges people to demand plain language in all the documents they receive, read, and use. For more information and to become a member, visit www.centerforplainlanguage.org.
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