With Liberty, Justice and Plain English for All
One of my former colleagues, Wendy Herman, a former journalist who consults and runs excellent "plain English" workshops from her base in Toronto, told me that plain English is now "the law." I thought Wendy was joking, but, sure enough, she pointed me to information about an Executive Order signed by President Obama last October to improve the clarity of government regulations. Here's some wording from the Plain Writing Act of 2010:
"(12) Each agency shall draft its regulations to be simple and easy to understand, with the goal of minimizing the potential for uncertainty and litigation arising from such uncertainty."
Wendy pointed out that by July, each U.S. government agency has to have a senior officer in charge of Plain English, all employees must be trained, and regular reports need to be issued to show compliance with the new regulation.
I must admit I like it. There's recognition from the top of this country that clear, effective communications is essential for government agencies to be effective. Anyone planning to start calling themselves a Plain English professional?