Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Social landlords and Plain English

The Plain English Campaign has just announced its latest awards. Looking at past winners I am surprised that social landlords aren’t represented among the winners of Golden Bulls.

While some housing associations have clear and well laid out tenants handbooks, other handbooks are written without tenants in mind. When I have put text from tenant handbooks through reading ease scoring they have have been shown to assume fairly advanced levels of education. How may tenants would understand a tenant handbook that talks about problems with soffits?

I do wonder how many organisations actually use the reading ease scoring that can be found on basic Word packages. The Plain English Campaign has its own Driven Defence software too to make text understandable.

Social landlords have an admirable commitment to translation into other languages (albeit sometimes forgetting the new migrant communities have emerged in the last decade). It would be good if all social landlords (and other public services) had a similar enthusiasm for Plain English.

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