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Plain English campaign news articles

Warning: Nuts repeat on you

An action team set up by Plain English Campaign is keeping watch over the poor communications in food labelling this year. The nuttiest find so far is on a chocolate selection card.

Chocolate-lovers can read no fewer than eight mentions about the nut content in the chocolate menu selection alone. Further details on the back of the Cadbury Milk Tray box go on to give the full ingredients and nutritional values, once more including the nuts.

Warnings are essential for allergy sufferers. But with three of the ten chocolates listed already containing the word ‘nut’ in their menu names, Plain English Campaign is puzzled by this need for such frequent repetition.

Read more: Warning: Nuts repeat on you

Award nominations

Plain English Campaign is accepting nominations for their 2012 Golden Bull awards, and two outstanding EU examples of gobbledygook have been received today. The first is from an EU office, 'The Directorate General Information Society and Media (DG INFSO)' and the second from the Spanish central bank, 'The Bank of Spain'.

The first example from the EU website tells us that ordinary 'thinking' and 'doing' is simply not enough in a digital future. We think that 'prepare for reflections' and 'anticipatory thinking' means plain old 'thinking ahead'! There probably isn't much space left on the 'time horizon' for that though, with all the 'envisaging of scenarios', 'generating of policy options ' and 'inspiring of strategic choices'.

"The project envisages scenarios on a time horizon 2040-50 and generates ideas and policy options with a view to inspire future strategic choices of DG INFSO and the Commission."

Read more: Award nominations

BBC cannot always be trusted to use plain English

While the BBC is still recognised by many as a worldwide standard in communication, there are parts of the organisation receiving criticism from programme listeners.

Read more: BBC cannot always be trusted to use plain English

Mum's the word

Making family decisions, or giving parental advice, can be difficult when you can't find the right words. But it is possibly more difficult for parents to understand and interpret the volumes of information they receive daily from government and businesses.

Read more: Mum's the word

Plain English and legal advice are essential bedfellows

Lady Justice Hallett has been nominated for our Osborne Memorial award for speaking up in court about the need for plain English. She joins the likes of Baroness Thatcher for her support during the Rayner Review of government documents and Harriet Harman MP for her work on the plain English explanations of the Equalities Bill.

Read more: Plain English and legal advice are essential bedfellows

Compulsory purchase order is a 'must buy' in plain English

The Scottish Government has launched new guidance on compulsory purchase orders for Local Authorities and an easy read guide for members of the public.

This is the first time in over 30 years the guidance for Local Authorities has been updated.

Read more: Compulsory purchase order is a 'must buy' in plain English

Protect your livelihood with plain language

As people in major towns of the UK sweep their lives back into order, it has been suggested that the national riots were triggered after a 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, was shot in London by police officers. But the absence of plain English in a major public crisis has again made matters worse with details of the shooting being poorly communicated by the police force, and the difficulties experienced by police officers in deciphering the street language of young rioters.

Earlier this year, the 7/7 evidence hearings were heavily criticised by the attending judge, Lady Justice Hallet, for being seriously short of ‘plain English’.

Read more: Protect your livelihood with plain language

Banks’ crippling charges and switching stand-off

The Treasury Select Committee are pushing the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) to press the Government into taking action to make bank charges clearer and switching between bank accounts easier. In the meantime, this triangle of pressure is causing account holders unnecessary costs and loss of choice, while the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury Select Committee argue about taking action.

This betrayal of customers’ rights cuts deeper when, to a great extent, the issue of clearer information to promote fairer competition was addressed in Northern Ireland as early as 2007.

Read more: Banks’ crippling charges and switching stand-off

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