Given the nature of government responsibilities and the frequency and intensity of our interactions with the public and with other departments, we need to communicate in ways that are clear, understandable, and user friendly. The public does not use print materials as most civil servants would expect. The reasons for this are:
People are inundated with printed materials they often don’t have time to read. They are impatient with printed matter: they need a reason to read it. Strong, clear writing that gets right to the point and is well laid out increases the motivation to read. Furthermore, many people do not think that their government cares whether it is communicating adequately. A B.C. study showed that only 26 per cent of people surveyed thought that civil servants and municipal governments even tried to communicate with the average person.
Despite the fact that half of our audience has problems using written materials, we still rely on written communication to get our message across. In letters, brochures, print media, pamphlets, the Internet, and other written formats, there is a need to take extra care to communicate in plain language.
All managers have a responsibility to ensure that written communications are developed in plain language. Understandability and clarity of written communication is the ultimate responsibility of the Deputy head in each department.
To do this, departments may:
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