Gasp! Shock! Outrage!

It looks like Parliament (at least a small part of it) is starting to get the ball rolling on improving government language! Not that they swear *all* the time, but as you are all no doubt aware, they really may as well do, for the amount of sense they make.

A Parliament Select Committee (that is, a group of people who look at one topic in particular) is looking for your examples of bad use of language in government material. They just want a paragraph or two to illustrate the case – I don’t think they’re ready for entire leaflets circled in red pen!

Email one or two short examples to pasc@parliament.uk. It could be something on your tax return, your passport application, a confusing bit in the jobseekers allowance (or whatever it’s called now) guidance, or even some of the more obscure bits from the consultations I’ve been translating!

Here’s a (rather too long) example, with editors notes in red to start you off:

From Care Matters: Time for Change

Improving the role of the corporate parent the corporate what, now?, as part of children”s trusts who?, is key to improving the outcomes what kind of outcomes? for children in care. It is with the corporate parent that responsibility and accountability for the wellbeing and future prospects of children in care ultimately rest. A good corporate parent must offer everything that a good parent would, including stability. It must address both the difficulties which children in care experience and the challenges of parenting does this mean corporate parenting, or the other sort? within a complex system of different services. Equally, it is important that children have a chance to shape and influence don’t they mean the same thing? the parenting they receive. To improve the role of the corporate parent we are:

  • Expecting every local authority to put in place arrangements is that the same as arranging them, or do they just hire the room and hope someone turns up? for a “Children in Care Council”, with direct links to the Director of Children”s Services and Lead Member what’s one of those?. This will give children in care a forum to express their views and influence is the council required to take their views into account? the services and support they receive;
  • Expecting every local authority to set out its “Pledge” isn’t that a kind of polish? to children in care. The pledge will cover the services and support children in care should expect to receive;
  • Making clear that the Director of Children”s Services and Lead Member for Children”s Services Oh right, so this lead member is also part of children’s services should be responsible for leading improvements in corporate parenting are they accountable to anyone?;
  • Disseminating Government funded corporate parenting training materials does this mean actual training, or just leaflets?, developed by the National Children”s Bureau, to help authorities to ensure that effective arrangements are in place locally;
  • Introducing an Annual Stocktake is this Tesco now? of the outcomes for children in care. This national ministerial what does ministerial mean event like a conference, or something? will review progress for children in care with key stakeholders what are stakeholders, again? and representatives of local government, health services and young people in care; and
  • Introducing a three year programme of proportionate proportionate to what? inspection, led by Ofsted, of how local authorities are improving outcomes for children in care.

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Corinne Pritchard

Corinne Pritchard

Information Designer at Simply Understand
I believe design and designers can and should make the world a better place. I love designing things that help people understand complex ideas.
Corinne Pritchard

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