Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Plain English Champion — Best Project 2015

Ministry of Social Development

Judge Sarah Stacy-Baynes (centre) with Cheryl Malofie and Carl Crafar

Judges’ comment

We were impressed by the potential of this project. You took on a challenge that many dread — one of the biggest potential time wasters, the weekly team meeting. Using a few techniques (slide limits, multi-media, cutting back on the amount of information) you’ve made meetings more meaningful and useful for staff. Teaching staff to create truly effective slideshow presentations could mean huge savings in taxpayer dollars.

We could clearly see the before and after changes. And the difference the project has made to staff is clear. They now know what they need to do to work effectively, and everyone should spend less time sitting bored and disinterested through painful slideshow deliveries.

This is plain English in action. You have done an incredible job of cutting away time-wasting information and getting staff to focus on what others need to know in a succinct way.

Media statement

The Ministry of Social Development is delighted to win the 2015 Plain English Champion — Best Project award.

Communicating clearly with our staff is vital so they know how to help the more than 1.6 million New Zealanders who use our services.

MSD’s Service Delivery group reinvented its Weekly Brief, a document for sharing a wide range of detailed technical information with 6,000 staff every week.

The language, format, and presentation has been updated into a more user-friendly briefing for teams. Information is written in plain English and delivered in short updates, which are easy for staff to digest and use in their work with clients.

‘This has been an important project for us and it’s satisfying to have our efforts recognised,’ says MSD Deputy Chief Executive Carl Crafar.