Plain Writing Act Annual Compliance Report April 13, 2012
The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing "a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.
We, the U.S. Department of Labor, are committed to complying with the Act. The Department has established a Plain Writing website (www.dol.gov/dol/PlainWriting/ ) that includes an overview of the Act and its requirements, documents that are covered, and timeframes associated with compliance. Plain Language Coordinators in each DOL agency have been identified. These coordinators are responsible for ensuring each agency's compliance with the Act's requirements.
Since the Act was passed, several Departmental agencies have fully embraced the objectives of the Act by either requiring or making specialized training available for their staff. For instance, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs required all of their National Office staff to attend a two-day Effective Writing course as a part of their professional development. Also, the Employment and Training Administration designed a two-day Government and Business writing class for their staff that precisely addressed the specific nuances of their agency's mission. These agency-specific writing courses provided staff with the necessary tools and vision to produce required training materials and manuals for the public in a clear and concise manner.
In May 2012, we began our most anticipated and ambitious effort towards meeting a planned goal of the Department since committing to compliance with the Act--providing all 19,000 DOL national and regional office employees and contractors with plain writing training.
DOL has identified a Business Writing course that instructs participants on the use of writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and consistent with the best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience. This on-line training course is mandatory for all DOL employees and many contractor employees and must be taken every three years. The training is to be completed by the end of July 2012. In addition, all new employees will be required to take this course as they begin working for DOL.
In addition to the rollout of the on-line course, the Department regularly provides a two-day effective writing course for employees desiring or requiring more in-depth training. This course has been available to DOL and contractor employees in the national and regional offices over the past year and many have taken advantage of this opportunity.