Plain Writing Act Compliance Report July 13, 2011
This report outlines our progress on implementing the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Please check back periodically for updates.
I. Senior Agency Official for Plain Writing
The Act requires us to designate a Senior Agency Official for Plain Writing. We have designated William E. Spriggs, Assistant Secretary for Policy, as our Senior Official for Plain Writing. Dr. Spriggs and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP) will lead our efforts towards compliance with the Act. OASP's efforts will be overseen by Kathleen E. Franks, Director of Regulatory and Programmatic Policy, who will serve as the DOL Plain Writing Coordinator.
II. Agency Communications Produced in a Format that is Consistent with the Plain Writing Guidelines
As of July 2011, we have identified the module that will be used to train staff on plain writing guidelines. Our goal is to train all required staff by September 30, 2011 and to begin releasing agency communications in formats that are consistent with the guidelines by October 2011.
III. Communication of Plain Writing Act's Requirements to DOL Staff
The Deputy Secretary of Labor has issued a memorandum to all Department staff explaining the requirements of the Plain Writing Act. We are working to also include information in upcoming editions of our Department Newsletter and on our intranet. In addition, we are working to produce an elevator poster campaign that will highlight the Act's requirements.
As of July 2011, we have identified the module that will be used to train staff on plain writing guidelines. During the remainder of July, we will incorporate this module into our existing employee training system and will identify staff within each DOL agency that must complete the training. Our goal is to train all required staff by September 30, 2011.
V. Ongoing Compliance/Sustaining Change
We are fully committed to complying with the requirements of the Plain Writing Act. We believe that information intended for the public should be user-friendly and easy to understand. To ensure ongoing compliance, we will designate Plain Language Coordinators in each DOL agency, who will be responsible for ensuring each agency's compliance with the requirements. These Coordinators will work closely with OASP to ensure that materials created after October 13, 2011 are written in compliance with the Plain Language Guidelines. As a routine part of the Department's clearance process, OASP will review documents to ensure compliance with Plain Language requirements.
VI. Agency's plain writing website
We have established a Plain Writing website, which is available at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/PlainWriting/. The site contains all of the required elements, including an overview of the Act and its requirements; the documents that are covered by the Act; the timeframes associated with compliance; and a link to this (and future) compliance reports. The site also provides an easy way for the public to notify us about DOL documents that are not in plain language. We intend to review any input received through the site and revise the identified documents, as appropriate.
VII. Customer Satisfaction Evaluation
After we begin developing materials in the Plain Writing format, we plan to provide a continuous mechanism for the public to inform us about their experiences. We are exploring use of an internet portal that will allow the public provide feedback on our new materials and will also allow other readers to agree with and add on to other comments. Our goal is to have this mechanism available by October 2011.