There are eight pieces of legislation where plain language is required and eleven where it is referenced. One example is the newly promulgated Consumer Protection Act (where there is a “right to information in plain and understandable language”). Another example is the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (which makes provision for the “Right to information in plain and understandable language”). In our experience, people either don’t know or tend to ignore the plain language requirements when drafting documents.
There are also many benefits to be gained from drafting in plain language.
We perform an audit of your existing documents to determine whether they comply with the definition of plain language in our law. The documents are measured against:
- your policy, guidelines and style guides; or
- various objective criteria that are agreed with you in advance.
Any drafting, reviewing, commenting on or amending of these documents is excluded from the scope of the audit.
As part of the audit the organisation should determine the circulation or readership of the document. In our experience, the biggest impact is achieved by converting the documents with the biggest circulation first. We also determine whether reader tests are required for a specific document. We also highlight any legal concerns with a document.
The audit will help you to:
- Assess where you are
- Determine the gap between your reality and compliance
- Find solutions to fill the gap (for example, the document needs to be redrafted or edited)
We use various tools, like a plain language audit tool, to conduct the audit. Through the audit you either get assurance that you comply or we help you to find solutions to ensure that you comply.
The deliverables are:
- a completed plain language audit tool, including a plain language document register for the documents in your organisation and a list of suggested actions.
- a written report on the audit.
The provision of any solutions or implementation of any action items that are identified or suggested are not included in the scope of the audit and will be quoted separately. It also excludes any consultation around a specific document.