Client: Leeds City Council
PR team: In-house
Timescale: January 2010 - ongoing
Budget: Less than £5,000
Leeds City Council wanted to cut the jargon and 'council-speak' among staff.
- To raise awareness of how the public can be confused by 'council speak'
- To reduce the number of residents having to contact the council for clarification
- To encourage staff to challenge examples of bad communication.
Strategy and plan
An internal investigation found that one-quarter of all contact from the public could be avoided if the council used plain English, and this could save £2.5m.
The comms team ran workshops giving advice on writing and challenging some of the myths about the use of English in council documents. The workshops are ongoing.
Measurement and evaluation
To date, 100 staff and managers have attended the workshops. Feedback has shown that 85 per cent of participants now say they fully understand the principles of plain English. The campaign has been featured in The Daily Telegraph and Daily Star, and on The One Show.
The national Plain English Campaign has identified Leeds City Council as a pioneer in encouraging employees to use plain English. Similar projects are now being set up within individual council departments.