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It's clear: Three agencies are tops in plain language

Three federal organizations tied as the clearest communicators in 2014, according to an annual report card on how well the federal government conveys information to the public.

Three federal organizations tied as the clearest communicators in 2014, according to an annual report card on how well the federal government conveys information to the public.

The Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration and Securities and Exchange Commission all had the top grades on the 2014 Federal Plain Language Report Card for the use of plain language and compliance with the Plain Writing Act of 2010.

Every year, the Center for Plain Language judges agencies on three factors—compliance, writing and information design—and grades their ability to communicate efficiently and effectively with the public. This year, the three top federal organizations each got A's for compliance and writing, and B's for information design—the highest among 22 departments and agencies. No agency among the 22 got an A for information design.

“Clarity, transparency, and the department’s responsiveness to the American public are among our highest priorities, and this success proves that we have exceeded that goal,” DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

Among the 22 federal organizations, the Departments of State and Interior ranked at the bottom, each earning an F for compliance and Incompletes for writing and design. The Department of Education also ranked near the bottom, with a D for compliance, a C for writing and a B for design. Aside from those three, all the other agencies received A's for compliance.

See the report card here.

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

That must be why people bring their Social Security notices into the office to have us tell them what they mean all the time! They are just basking in all that clarity! Not to put too fine a point on it, but I've seen notices that took us a couple of weeks to research and translate. Give me a break!

Thu, Jan 29, 2015 Happily Retired in NOVA

It is unfortunate that the Department of the Interior ranked at the bottom for writing, design and compliance. It is still very much a paper agency.

Thu, Jan 29, 2015

It's sad but amusing that the Dept of Education got a D.

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