Media release: 14 October 2021
Winners in the 2021 annual Plain English Awards were announced at an online ceremony earlier today. More than a hundred people attended the virtual ceremony, including many Awards supporters from outside New Zealand.
Two Champion winners
The award for the Plain English Champion — Best Organisation went to Citizens Advice Bureau New Zealand (CAB). Lead judge for the category Matt Huntington said he was particularly impressed by CAB’s understanding of how communicating clearly is key to their effectiveness.
‘And then they take it one extra step to acknowledge the importance of communicating with empathy and respect on top of that!’ Matt says. ‘The fact that they can do this successfully while relying on such a large and diverse group of volunteers is a testament to their grounding in plain language communications.’
Entries for the Awards opened up to Australia for the first time this year. And one of the Australian entries was awarded the Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team. Lauren Kelindeman, from law firm Legalite in Melbourne, was praised by judges for her exemplary work. Legalite was also a finalist in the Plain English Champion — Best Organisation category.
‘Lauren’s commitment to plain English shines bright in the amount of work she’s done and the quality of the advice she’s created,’ says judge Steph Prince.
In praise of clear documents and websites
The award for the Best Plain English Document in the private sector went to Ryman Healthcare for its myRyman Life eLearning tool. Health Navigator NZ took out the public sector award with its leaflet on treating type 2 diabetes, Empagliflozin.
The Best Plain English Website award for the public sector went to the Ministry of Social Development for the website www.youthservice.govt.nz. No entries made it to winner status in the private sector award for this category in 2021.
Rethinking a document or website to improve it
The Best Plain English Turnaround award went to Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency for its turnaround of The New Zealand code for cycling.
Legal, Annual Report, and Technical Communicator categories
Southern Cross Travel Insurance took out the Best Legal Document award for its Domestic Travel Insurance Policy Document.
National Trauma Network won Best Plain English Annual Report for its New Zealand Trauma Registry Annual Report 2019/20.
The Best Plain English Technical Communicator was the team at thinkstep-anz.
Spotlight on the humble sentence
Auckland City Council won the award for Best Plain English Sentence Transformation.
People’s Choice — the best ‘but no worst’
Several top-notch entries were submitted by members of the public for the People’s Choice — Best Plain English Communication category. Kiwibank won this award for its letter We’re improving our home loan documents.
One of the judges of this entry said, ‘Taking complex subject matter such as home loans and making it accessible is not easy. Kiwibank have done an excellent job in communicating this, and on a single A4 sheet! Bravo!’
And in what is thought to be a first for the Plain English Awards, no entries were received for the notorious People’s Choice — Worst Brainstrain award. Lead judge for this category Simon Hertnon says he’d like to think that this is a good sign: ‘A sign that people are putting more thought into their communications. That the plain language message is getting through.’
Telling stories to inspire others
The theme of this year’s Awards was ‘Story!’ Awards founder and CE of plain language consultancy Write Limited Lynda Harris says:
‘The goal of sharing stories is to help people understand the “why” behind different plain language projects. That is, why a plain language approach was vitally important for that project, and how it helped its success.
‘By telling people’s stories, we want to shine a light on the impact of people’s efforts. And to give the public a glimpse behind the scenes of plain language as it plays out in the lives of individuals and organisations. Ultimately, we’d like people to be inspired to take similar approaches.’
Thanks to Awards sponsors
Sponsors play a key part in keeping the Plain English Awards going. Organisers would like to thank the following organisations for their support: WriteMark Limited, Write Limited, the Wright Family Foundation, Graphic Solutions, NZ Super Fund, Newsroom, Streamliners, TechCommNZ, Skillset, printing.com, MoneyHub, Consumer, Shelly Davies, Community Comms Collective, Editor Software (UK), Informed Investor magazine, Kendons, and Modica Group.
Find out more
See the full list of winners and finalists
Nicola Welby October 20th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Awards ceremony, Communications, Media release
Tags: 2021 Plain English Awards, Best communication, Best Plain English Communication, Brainstrain, champions, clear communication, People's Choice, plain English, Plain English Awards, plain language, recognition, writing for the public
A line-up of the best for 2022 | Photo by Nicola Welby
Congratulations to all our 2021 winners — what a fabulous achievement! Our judges were so impressed with the quality of entries this year and you deserve all the praise you’ve received.
We loved hearing the plain language stories that you shared with us. And we’re proud that you’ve kept the torch burning bright for clear communication in such a busy year. So pat yourselves on the back for a job well done!
Our Awards champions — raising the bar for clear communication
An extra special shoutout to Citizens Advice Bureau New Zealand, winner of the Plain English Champion — Best Organisation category. And another one to Lauren Kelindeman from Legalite in Australia, winner of the Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team category. Your contributions to the plain language movement are making all the difference to the lives of everyone in our corner of the world.
As our founder Lynda Harris said,
Whether you’re a bold visionary, a passionate campaigner, or a quiet doer, you have qualities that the world needs more of. You have stories to tell about people who need clarity and connection. And you have the skills to inspire others to be champions like you.
So keep up the good fight and stand up for what’s right! Because you’re our champions for 2021 and we couldn’t be more proud.
Find out more about the 2021 winners
Jonathan Tan October 14th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Awards ceremony
Tags: 2021 finalists, 2021 Plain English Awards, 2021 winners, Best Annual Report, Best Individual or Team, Best Legal Document, Best Organisation, Best Plain English Communication, Best Plain English Sentence Transformation, Best Plain English Technical Communicator, Best Plain English Turnaround, Best Plain English Website, Champion, clear communication, judges, People's Choice, sponsors. Awards ceremony
It’s time to celebrate! | Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash
With preparations for our cyber-ceremony in full swing, you can now register your place to attend.
Register for the 2021 Plain English Awards ceremony
What you can look forward to at this year’s event
This year, for the first time, we’re running our celebrations online. While we’ll miss celebrating with people in person, our aim is to make this year’s event super special in its own way.
Our MC James Elliott is bound to delight
Now in his fifth year as MC of the Awards, lawyer and comedian James Elliott is a firm highlight at our ceremonies. James is back this year and guaranteed to entertain.
Find out more about James
Bring your supporters along — we can host more people online
With no limits to seat numbers, we’d love you to invite as many of your supporters to join you at the ceremony as possible. In the past, we’ve often had to limit spaces to 150 people — but that’s not a problem this year!
Our overseas entrants and supporters can easily join us
We’ve always extended an invitation to our ceremony to both our domestic and international supporters. However, often the overseas contingent isn’t able to make it. Happily (and time differences aside), that’s not a problem this year either!
We opened up entries to Australia for the first time this year
Read about our international panel of judges
Celebrate International Plain Language Week at the same time
Our Awards ceremony is right in the middle of International Plain Language Week. This gives you a readymade way to get involved in an international event that celebrates clarity.
So, don’t hang about — register your place at the 2021 Plain English Awards ceremony
Thanks again to our sponsors for their commitment to the (plain language) cause
We have an incredible line-up of sponsors this year. We’d like to thank them all for their support.
Read about this year’s sponsors
Melissa Wardell September 30th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Awards ceremony, 2021 Plain English Awards, Australian clear communication awards, Awards ceremony, Communications, Finalists, Judges, People's Choice awards, Plain English Awards
Tags: 2021 Plain English Awards, Best Plain English Communication, clear communication, Finalists, judges, People's Choice, sponsors, winners
Looking forward to celebrating this year’s winners | Photo by Universal Eye on Unsplash
Our international panels of judges have settled on this year’s finalists.
Find out which entries made the grade
So, what made an entry good enough to become a finalist this year? Here’s a taste of what our judges had to say:
[The writer] is fighting against engrained writing attitudes, including in [their] company, which is quite courageous.
I found the content incredibly compelling. The language, structure and visual devices beautifully enhance this detailed and informative content.
The combination of plain writing and relevant graphics make [this document] a joy to read.
[This document] is an excellent example of keeping anxious people informed on a critical topic.
We’re now counting down to our virtual Awards ceremony on Thursday, 14 October, where we’ll announce and celebrate this year’s winners.
Find out more about our ceremony plans
See who entered the Awards in 2021
Meet our judges
Melissa Wardell September 15th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Finalists
Tags: 2021 Plain English Awards, Best Organisation, Best Plain English Communication, Brainstrain, Champion, clarity, clear communication, clear writing, judges, recognition
We’ve got lots to celebrate this year! | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Join us to celebrate our finalists and winners at our virtual Awards ceremony on Thursday, 14 October.
Our people are at the heart of what we do
Every year we have more people involved in the Awards than you’d expect. Many of these people are behind the scenes and plenty of them not in the limelight.
We love getting lots of our people together at the end of the Awards season to celebrate our finalists and winners, and promote the benefits of clear communication. Our Awards ceremony usually happens in person, but this year we need to think differently.
We’ll celebrate online for 2021
We knew from the outset that we’d need to think laterally when planning for our 2021 ceremony. So, in place of our in-person event, we’re going to run our Awards ceremony online.
We’ll miss being able to applaud our winners in person. At the same time, we’re excited about the many opportunities running an online ceremony gives us. We definitely won’t have a seat limit in 2021! And we’re going to run the ceremony at a time that works better for some our overseas judges and entrants. A flow-on benefit will be that you’ll be able to join during the day if you’re in New Zealand.
Our Awards ceremony is right in the middle of International Plain Language Week too. So you’ve got a readymade way to get involved in an international event that celebrates clarity.
So come along, grab your friends and supporters, and join us at our online Awards ceremony. We’ll have more details for you soon. For now, make sure you pencil in 11am until 1pm on Thursday, 14 October to celebrate with us!
Oh, and did we say that registrations will be free of charge this year? See you in October!
Who’s in the running for an award in 2021?
Huge thanks to our sponsors, who make the Plain English Awards possible
Melissa Wardell September 13th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Awards ceremony, Communications, Finalists, Judges, People's Choice awards, Plain English Awards, Winners
Tags: 2021 finalists, 2021 Plain English Awards, 2021 winners, award winners, Awards ceremony, Best Plain English Communication, clear communication, Industry awards, online ceremony, People's Choice Awards, Plain English Awards
Don’t panic! You’ve got extra time to get your Plain English Awards entries in | Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash
We know what it’s like to be busy, and how difficult it can be to meet deadlines when the pressure’s on. That’s why we’re giving you extra time to submit your Plain Language Awards entries.
Entries for the 2022 Plain Language Awards will now close at 5pm on Tuesday, 2 August.
Get the recognition you deserve for your clear communications
The Plain Language Awards are one of New Zealand’s leading industry awards. Imagine how good you and your team would feel if you became a finalist … or even a winner?!
Find out more about our Awards categories
Get some inspiration from our past winners
Nominate the good and the bad for People’s Choice
Dob in a bad document, or praise an easy-to-read one! The more the public speak up and demand plain English, the easier it is for us all.
Power to the people — vote for plain!
Have you read something that strained your brain? Nominate it!
Get involved with the People’s Choice
It only takes a sentence!
If you’re short on time, enter a few beautifully transformed sentences for the Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation award.
Well-written sentences create a fine reading experience
Enter your transformed sentences by 2 August
Nicola Welby July 29th, 2021
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation, Communications, Industry awards, People's Choice awards, Social good
Tags: Best Plain English Communication, clear communication, clear writing, Industry awards, People's Choice, Plain English Awards
Which do you choose? Nominate the good and the bad for the People’s Choice | Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash
Have you ever found a document so challenging to read that you had to call on a mate for help? Or have you found a document so surprisingly easy to read that the stress lines of those furrowed brows just disappeared in a flash?
You have the power to tell the world what you want from anything you read — and plain is the way to go! And the two People’s Choice categories can help you and others choose plain over waffle.
Fight the good fight and show what’s right
Imagine a world where your insurance documents, legal contracts, application forms, and other important pieces of information are clear and easy to read. The more that we all speak up and demand clear communication, the better it gets for everyone!
The Best Plain English Communication shows the world that plain English is the right way to write. You can give someone a pat on the back for an amazing piece of writing.
As Awards MC and long-time supporter James Elliott puts it:
Plain English is hard to define but we recognise its absence when we see gobbledygook.
Show the world what good looks like, and help create demand for lots more good writing!
Nominate a People’s Choice Best Communication
Don’t strain the brain — make it plain
How many brains does it take to change a lightbulb? If it takes more than one person or read-through to ‘click’ with what you’re reading, the writer hasn’t done a good job.
Call out poor communication! The Brainstrain category highlights communications that could be much clearer. Past winners of this infamous award have taken the award in good humour and seen the opportunities to improve.
Nominate a Brainstrain
Let the People’s Choice be your voice!
Vote for clarity and clear communication. Exercise your democratic right and let your voice be heard.
We don’t want to deal with jargon. We don’t want obscurity. We don’t want confusion when we read anything. We want to understand everything, plain and simple!
Meet the 2019 winners of the People’s Choice
Meet the 2021 judges of the People’s Choice
Jonathan Tan July 21st, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, People's Choice awards
Tags: Best Plain English Communication, Brainstrain, clear communication, jargon, People's Choice, power of plain English, Worst Brainstrain
Calling all our Australian friends: It’s time to celebrate your successes in clear communication | Photo by Karl Anderson on Unsplash
Plain language is important to us here in New Zealand. It’s also a big thing in Australia. At the moment, Australia doesn’t have any awards celebrating clear communication.
Let’s not beat around the bush! After recognising the gap and fielding several enquiries, we’re opening up entries to Australia.
Haere mai, Australian plain language enthusiasts!
We’re excited to now be welcoming entries from any individual or organisation in Australia, as well as New Zealand. You’d just need to meet the same conditions as entrants do here: See our terms and conditions
You’ll also need to be an organisation that’s registered in Australia, or have a registered Australian address.
The standard entry fee for people in Australia will be AUD$125, and AUD$65 for registered charities.
Australian-based entries are welcome for any Awards categories
From Champion Organisation through to Best Plain English Legal Document, people and businesses in Australia are welcome to enter any of our categories. You can also nominate the good and the bad in our two People’s Choice categories: the Best Plain English Communication and the Worst Brainstrain Communication.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get entering!
Entries are open until 31 July
Read about how to enter
Melissa Wardell June 17th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Australian clear communication awards, Communications, People's Choice awards, Plain English Awards
Tags: Best Legal Document, Best Organisation, Best Plain English Communication, Brainstrain, Champion, clear communication, People's Choice Awards, plain English, Plain English Awards
We’re excited to announce that entries are open! | Photo by James Lee on Unsplash
The Awards are officially open for entries in all categories. After a break in 2020, the Awards are back for 2021 — and they’re better than ever! We all saw the amazing benefits of clear and plain communications from the Government and health agencies. This heightened awareness of clear communication has set the scene beautifully for the return of the Plain English Awards.
Here’s what you need to know about the Awards in 2021. We’ve got a new unifying theme for the Awards, a combination of new and familiar judges, and all your favourite categories.
Tell the story of your plain language project
This year we’ve introduced a Story theme — and we’re offering you the chance to share your plain language stories through our video gallery. We’re particularly looking for people in workplaces to share stories about the benefits of their plain language projects. No project is too big or too small!
These stories will inspire others to embrace the benefits of plain language for organisations and their customers. We hope the gallery will become a go-to resource for people to get plain language inspiration.
Our judges and sponsors are joining in the fun as well. You can share a video without needing to enter the Awards. But we hope you’ll feel inspired to enter once you read about the available categories.
Check out the first videos in the gallery
Meet our judging panel
From Dunedin to Denver, Gisborne to Edinburgh, this year’s judging panel is made up of plain language experts from around New Zealand and the world. You’ve met some of them before and others are joining us for the first time in 2021. Together they make up an experienced and insightful team of plain language pros!
Find out more about this year’s judges
Choose your Awards category and get your entry ready
The Awards have a range of categories to suit almost every type of document (and websites).
If you’re starting off or pressed for time, you might consider entering the short and sweet Best Plain English Sentence Transformation. If you’ve transformed a whole document, you might be ready for the Best Plain English Turnaround. You can enter a Best Plain English Document or Website — with a choice of public or private sector.
For specialist business documents, you’ll find a Best Plain English Legal Document category and Best Plain English Annual Report. We’re seeing some of the finest examples of these documents coming through, with the quality of entries rising every year.
Specialist technical communicators have a category just for them. And those working on a team project or an organisation-wide project can enter the Champion categories.
Discover whether you’re a contender for the Champion category
Get some inspiration for the Sentence Transformation category
Review all the categories and find out how to enter
Nominate a best or worst communication
The Awards also include two categories that any member of the public can nominate communications for, to be judged by our People’s Choice judging panel. These are the People’s Choice Best Plain English Communication and the Worst Brainstrain Communication categories. These categories are always lots of fun — we love giving a voice to all of New Zealand.
Read about the People’s Choice in 2019
Get involved in the 2021 People’s Choice awards
Anne-Marie Chisnall May 31st, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, People's Choice awards, Plain English Awards
Tags: Best Plain English Communication, clear communication, clear writing, judges, People's Choice, People's Choice Awards, plain English, Plain English Awards, Worst Brainstrain
Media release: 7 May 2021
After holding off entries last year, the full Plain English Awards are back in 2021. The Awards will look a little different this year, with a virtual ceremony and some new ways for entrants to share their inspiring work in clear communication.
Fresh Awards with a new theme
This year’s theme for the Awards is Story. We’re inviting the public to share the stories behind their plain language projects in short videos. We’ll showcase these videos in a gallery to inspire and enlighten the wider public. The video gallery is open now.
‘A major goal for the Awards has always been to bring plain language into common use,’ says chair of the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust, Gregory Fortuin. ‘We know that stories raise awareness and inspire action. The more visible the stories of our entrants, the more sparks of possibility and innovation will be lit.’
All the familiar categories are back
This year’s Awards will feature all categories, including the two People’s Choice categories for Best Communication and the infamous Brainstrain.
‘As we’ve seen in the events of 2020 and beyond, clear communication makes a real difference in people’s lives,’ Gregory says. ‘Here’s a chance to celebrate all the great work that people having been doing over the past couple of years.’
Important dates for the 2021 Awards
- 1 June: Entries open
- 31 July: Entries close
- 30 September: Finalists announced
- 14 October: Winners announced
Big thanks to our media partner, Newsroom
The goodwill and support of our sponsorship partners keeps the Plain English Awards ticking. We’re immensely grateful to New Zealand-based news and current affairs site, Newsroom.co.nz for believing in our cause and being our media partner.
Get more information
Jonathan Tan, project manager, 2021 Plain English Awards | firstname.lastname@example.org
Gregory Fortuin, Chair, WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust | 021 465 254
Nicola Welby May 7th, 2021
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Media release, Plain English Awards, Story theme
Tags: 2021 Plain English Awards, Best communication, Best Plain English Communication, Brainstrain, clear communication, People's Choice, plain English, Plain English Awards, plain language, recognition, writing for the public