Plain English for the public sector

Course information

In the public sector, all your public communications need to be clear, concise, accessible and user-focused. This highly practical course will give you the skills and confidence to write successfully in plain English.

Plain English means writing so that your intended audience can they understand it the first time they read. In Ireland, the new Programme for Government includes a section on plain language for all public service communications. It notes the benefits of plain English: ‘People can understand information the first time they read or hear it. Using plain language saves time and money and reduces mistakes and complaints’. 

This course will help you and your teams to get ready for the new plain language regulations. It will show you how to create new communications in plain English and how to adapt existing publications that you’re updating. It will use some of your in-house materials, such as reports, web content, letters and guides.

After this course, you will be able to:

  • Plan clear, concise, well-structured, accessible communications
  • Write in plain English for different audiences and types of communication
  • Use clear, concise English with a professional tone
  • Edit your own and your colleagues’ writing to a plain English standard (on one-day course only)
  • Update materials to ensure they comply with plain English guidelines

Who should attend?

This course will help you to prepare for the plain language legislation set out in the new Programme for Government. It’s for anyone who is
 involved in writing for the general public or for other public sector agencies. It will be of interest to experienced writers who would like
a refresher or who are new to the area of plain English. It’s also for new writers and editors who want to understand the principles
and practice of plain language in the public sector.

What’s covered in this course

1

What is plain English?

  • What is plain English?
  • Why use it?

  • Check readability with the Flesch Reading Ease Scale
  • Identify plain English for: reports, guides, leaflets, websites, letters and emails
2

Plan for plain English

  • Define your purpose
  • Identify your target audiences
  • Consider messages and structure
  • Assess the best way to reach intended readers
  • Create a skeleton outline
3

Write in plain English

  • Build short, clear sentences and paragraphs
  • Use strong active verbs
  • Cut repetition and waffle
  • Use headings, subheads and bullet-point lists
  • Avoid, or explain, jargon
For a more detailed course outline, please get in touch.

Course delivery options ​

Live online training

Choose a practical interactive online session. Then, for more practice, write some new plain English content, which will be edited by your trainer.

Tailored in-house courses

Get the training you need with customised onsite training for your teams. One-day or half-day courses for small groups.

Bespoke coaching – online

One-to-one sessions focus on your challenges and objectives. Practical exercises are based on your own communications.

Get expert tips for your business writing – in our free fact-sheets

Want a refresher on punctuation? Or a quick guide to plain English? What about tips on writing for your website? Or useful phrases for minutes? Our fact-sheets are full of information that will help you to write clear, correct English.

Other courses you might find interesting:

We’ve delivered this course for many public sector organisations, including

Testimonials

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Please get in touch - We're happy to help

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Please get in touch - We're happy to help

By clicking 'Send Message', you agree to our terms and privacy policy.

Please get in touch - We're happy to help

By clicking 'Send Message', you agree to our terms and privacy policy.

Get FREE fact-sheets

Want expert tips and tools to improve your writing?

  • Quick Guide to Plain English
  • Quick Punctuation Guide
  • Quick Grammar Guide
  • Ten Common Errors
  • Commonly Confused Words
  • Customer Communications with Impact
  • Writing for the Web
  • Web Accessibility
  • Editing for Results
  • Writing & Editing Checklist
  • Minutes – Useful Phrases

By clicking 'Send Message', you agree to our terms and privacy policy.