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OMB Issues Preliminary Guidance on Plain Language Act

The Office of Management and Budget this month issued a preliminary guidance to help agencies implement a new federal law designed to eliminate the “federalese” in government communications.

The Office of Management and Budget this month issued a preliminary guidance to help agencies implement a new federal law designed to eliminate the “federalese” in government communications.

The OMB guidance, released Nov. 22, is a follow-up to the Plain Writing Act, which President Obama signed into law last month. The preliminary rules will help agencies improve the transparency of language used in official government communications while OMB writes the final rules, which are to be published next year.

The guidance noted that plain writing should be regarded as an essential part of open government and that it can eliminate barriers to public participation in programs for benefits and services.

Or to put it more plainly, as OMB said in a memo to agency heads: “Avoiding ambiguity and unnecessary complexity can increase compliance simply because people understand better what they are supposed to do.”

To see more, go to: www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/2011/m11-05.pdf.

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