A Plain Language Audit Tool The Northwest Territories Literacy Council
green line

Why should you do a plain language audit? pencil image

We all have a responsibility to produce written information that people can read, understand, and use. A plain language audit can help you identify documents that should be edited for plain language.

Government, business, and nonprofit organizations use many documents:

  • Forms and applications – income support, jobs, funding, legal aid, licences, housing.
  • Reports – land use or economic plans, environmental assessments, discussion papers, strategies.
  • Legal documents – land claims, insurance, child custody, impact benefit agreements, contracts, adoption, sentencing. Brochures and booklets – health, social well-being, education, sports and fitness, employment, housing, daycare.
  • Instructions and manuals – workplace health and safety, hazardous waste, elections, firearms safety, prescriptions.
  • Internal documents – memos, briefing notes, decision papers, reports, meeting minutes, policies.
  • Letters and memos.

Government, business, and nonprofit organizations
use these documents to:

  • Give people information.
  • Change peoples’ behaviour or thinking.
  • Help people make decisions.
  • Consult with people.
  • Register people for programs or services.
People are often confused, ask a lot of questions, fill out forms incorrectly, skip information, or just don’t read the information they get. People need to be able to read, understand, and use written information to participate fully in society.

line graphic
Previous Table of Contents Next
line graphic