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Yes Prime Minister?

The Prime Minister has urged all civil servants to use plain English when providing information to ministers.

David Cameron, in a letter circulated on 16 July, strongly recommends all officials remain clear in their written communication.

“We’re surrounded by complex issues on which we must make important decisions,” wrote the PM.

“Civil servants may know them inside out, but ministers can’t know everything in detail. So we rely on you to cut through the complexity and cut out the jargon. Please be brief and use straightforward language.”

Mr Cameron goes on to emphasise what he sees as the need for “brief, simple, human and jargon-free” documents. He also extends these clear communication principles to information given to the general public.

“All our communications with the public should be human, clear, simple, helpful and professional,” he added. “This means explaining complexity in everyday terms.”

As with Michael Gove, who recently made similar demands of his staff, we can only hope the Prime Minister’s aims are successful. We can’t see an end to civil service jargon any time soon, but less of it would surely be welcome.

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