Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain English Turnaround 2015


Judge Matt Huntington with Emma Adcock

Document name

Preparing for TB testing

Judges’ comment

The new document has a clear purpose as a guide for safe testing. You have structured it well, with content that’s easy to skim thanks to a safety section, tips, and checklists.

You’ve used white space to good effect in the rewrite — the original was very dense. The rewrite is an attractive document with a considered and simple layout.

Headings make it explicitly clear who the document is for, and why. You’ve kept paragraphs short and concise, and your sentences are frontloaded and active. Well done.

The language in the original was passive and verbose. The rewrite talks directly to farmers and feels far more conversational. The tone is neutral and helpful.

You’ve done a great job with this rewrite. It’s a vast improvement on the original. This is a usable and useful document, which does the job well. Nice work!

Media statement

OSPRI is delighted to be named winner of the WriteMark Plain English Awards for the Best Plain English Turnaround. As a first time entrant, this has given us confirmation that our communications are direct, effective, and easily understood.

OSPRI is a non-profit organisation managing New Zealand’s national animal identification and tracing (NAIT) programme and the TBfree programme. We communicate with the people who make up New Zealand’s agricultural backbone — farmers, landowners, contractors, and business owners.

We recently had an opportunity to reassess the way we communicate, to revisit our main documents and explore the use of online channels to convey important information. We approached our task with a fundamental commitment to using plain English to reinforce the accuracy, brevity, and clarity of all OSPRI collateral.

The language we use is often necessarily technical, and feedback from our farmer focus groups indicated a strong preference for simple, plain English to get the messages across. Because we’re making sure all our communications are easy to understand, farmers know how to meet their obligations. This supports our work towards livestock traceability and a TB-free New Zealand.