Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain English Sentence Transformation 2021

Auckland Council

Nick Bishop, Auckland Council

Sentence from

Change of Dog Ownership online form

Judges’ comments

Maryland Spencer
I really like this sentence rewrite. Though small, the change is significant. It’s written with the reader in mind and provides only what they need to know in a clear, easy way. All verbose obstruction has been completely eliminated which creates an engaging tone. I imagine this sort of editing for an entire document would reap big rewards for all audiences. Well done.

Suraya Casey
The original statement shows how authorities sometimes, without meaning to, create a sense of ‘us and them’. The new version’s writer saw potential to relate to readers as their equals. The rewritten sentences are short and use many everyday words. They apply several plain English principles.

Gail Marshall
The rewrite still does the job and more. It uses understandable language and while the message still carries a firm obligation/warning, it is not intimidating or confusing in the way the original sentence was.

Media statement

Encouraged by our win in the Best Plain English website category in 2018, we continued to work on improving every aspect of our digital communication.

With the regular updates and improvements to our online services, we paid special attention to legal content which often adds complexity where we really need clarity.

Our sentence transformation entry this year is a brilliant example of an individual’s effort, supported by a team on a mission to speak our customers’ language and communicate complex messages as clearly as possible.

Aleksandra Cirilovic
Digital Editor