Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain English Document — Public Sector 2021

Dunedin City Council

Document name

tō tātou eke whakamuri: the future of us

Judges’ comments

You have separated topics well so that reader can select what interests them most.

You present your ideas in logical paragraphs, with a topic sentence followed by supporting ideas. The ideas flow well. You have plenty of short sentences and even your longer sentences would not be too taxing for readers in a single-column format.

The tone of the document is a strength. Readers who had not seen your previous consultation document might have been surprised by its informality. It reads more like a conversation than a standard bureaucratic document from a council.

Media statement

Over the past few years we’ve made a real commitment to using plain English as much as possible when we talk and work with our community. That isn’t always easy in the public sector, where there are often lots of rules to follow and technical language to interpret, but we’ve shown it can be done.

Producing a simply written, well-designed 10-year plan consultation document encouraged more of our residents to let us know what they wanted for the future of their city.

We’re thrilled to have been recognised for this award for the second time — it’s a great incentive to continue our efforts to use plain English as much as possible.

Sandy Graham
Chief Executive
Dunedin City Council