Don't just recycle internal documents

Avoid the reproduction of documents aimed at an internal audience on a website that is meant for the general public.

"People outside the organization are the ones who need help understanding what it does, yet descriptions of an organization's purpose are often written in ways that make sense mainly to insiders.

"Government agencies are often the worst offenders, and many users were baffled at the profuse bureaucratese and impenetrable abbreviations on the government sites we tested."

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox - 27 October 2003

Most local authority officers use a particular style, language and format for internal documents that is at best opaque to the public and more often than not completely unfathomable.

Except where documents make up committee reports or other public records, internal documents should not be published as though they were intended for public consumption. The Plain English Campaign can provide helpful guidance on the use of plain language and terminology, and there is further guidance available in the city council's communication toolkit (officers should refer to the relevant page on the city council intranet).

This page was last updated on 25 January 2012

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