Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team 2014

StudyLink — StudyLink Service Support Team

Judges’ comment

Your campaign was comprehensive and diverse with multiple communications channels used to convey the message. You set clear goals and provided business results that showed improvement. Your success has been demonstrated by a dramatic increase in early student enrolments. The writing is simple and clear, and uses step-by-step instructions well to ensure your reader understands what they need to do, and where they are at in the process. You have demonstrated that you understood the problem StudyLink faced (a bottleneck of applications) and what students need in order to motivate them to start the process. The success of your campaign is undeniable.

Media statement

A continued focus on people and their needs has resulted in a third consecutive win at the WriteMark Plain English Awards for the Ministry of Social Development.

The Ministry followed 2012’s Best Turnaround award with last year’s Plain English Champion — Best Organisation award. Now, in 2014’s WriteMark Plain English Awards, the Ministry has won both the Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team award, and the Best Plain English Technical Communicator award. In addition, StudyLink has been recognised as a finalist in the Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team category.

‘I am thrilled that the Ministry’s efforts to make our communications clear and readable have been recognised,’ says Carolyn Risk, Deputy CE of Corporate and Governance.

‘We support some of the most vulnerable people in New Zealand and good, clear communication is fundamental to meeting their needs. We are always looking at ways we can better support the people who count on our services, as well as raising the standard of all our work within the Ministry. Replacing technical and bureaucratic language with clear, plain language is part of this.’

The StudyLink team was a finalist in the Plain English Champion — Best Team or Individual award category for their ‘Call to Action’ 2013–14 campaign.

‘We recognised that students needed better information, timeframes, and guidelines for the student support application process. We revised our messages, resulting in a 46% increase in student applications received by 16 December: 90,700 more than the same time in December 2012,’ says Susan Kosmala.

‘To have three finalists in this year’s awards is a huge honour, and I am very proud that our staff are continuing to look for opportunities to improve how we talk to those we deal with,’ says Ms Risk.

The three Ministry of Social Development finalists were:
Sarah Moodie — Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team
StudyLink Service Support — Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team
Janet Green, Risk and Assurance — Best Plain English Technical Communicator

Olivia Guthrie
Governance Advisor, Strategy and Governance