Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain English Document — Public Sector 2021

Ministry of Social Development

Document name

COVID-19 emails to clients 2020

Judges’ comments

The emails impressed us. The emails you sent mid-lockdown and on 12 August answered the vital question (Will I still get my benefit?) earlier and we liked that.

You answered all the questions we imagined your readers would be asking themselves.

You made the key issues stand out with your active headlines and the bullet list.

Media statement

When New Zealand locked down to stop COVID-19 in March 2020, this had major implications for how we supported New Zealanders who needed help.

We had to close our 125 service centres around the country to the public and instead deliver full services to clients online and over the phone.

Lockdown was stressful for everyone, but our clients are particularly vulnerable.

We needed to reassure them that their payments would continue, and that we were still there for them. We have continued to do this with each lockdown.

We produced a series of emails for clients to help them understand how to get help from us under the different COVID-19 Alert Levels, if they weren’t able to connect with us the way they normally would.

We think the emails, created and sent out by our Service Delivery Communications Team, did the trick.

David Venables
Lead Advisor, Corporate Affairs,
Ministry of Social Development