Plain writing compliance report, April 13, 2017
Plain language officials
- Greg Scott, Assistant Staff Director, Information Division, Office of Communications, is the Federal Election Commission’s Senior Official Responsible for Plain Writing.
- The FEC’s Plain Language Coordinators are Amy Kort, Performance Manager, Office of the Deputy Staff Director for Management and Administration, and Robert Kahn, Attorney, Administrative Law Team, Office of General Counsel.
Communications in plain language
The FEC has a long-standing commitment to using plain language in its publications and other documents. Specific examples include:
- Campaign Guides and other print and on-line documents that help candidates, political committees and the public understand and comply with the campaign finance laws. (See http://www.fec.gov/info/publications.shtml#guides.)
- Print and on-line brochures and handouts that highlight ways the public can participate in campaigns—most notably the Citizens’ Guide and Volunteer Activity brochures. (See http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/brochures.shtml.)
- Educational videos on YouTube that briefly describe specific requirements of the campaign finance law. (See http://www.fec.gov/info/elearning.shtml.)
- Our Record newsletter provides timely information about the latest developments at the FEC and in federal campaign finance law. (See http://www.fec.gov/pages/record.shtml.)
Informing and educating agency staff
- We have posted information on the agency’s intranet site that describes requirements of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, including a PowerPoint presentation and links to additional resources. This information reaches all FEC employees.
- We have encouraged agency staff to take our on-line training course that reviews plain language principles and provides specific examples of plain writing. Many staff members who routinely communicate with the public have completed the course.
- Performance Manager Amy Kort and Attorney Robert Kahn are the agency’s primary contacts for compliance issues. Mr. Kahn focuses on documents produced by the Office of General Counsel, while Ms. Kort is responsible for all other covered publications and documents.
- Ms. Kort and Mr. Kahn not only monitor our use of plain language, they also document and respond to public feedback through our email@example.com e-mail account. They keep detailed records of this activity to help measure our success and for use in our annual Plain Writing Act compliance reports. During the past year, we have not received any comments or questions about our Plain Language program.
Plain language web page
- Our Plain Language page at http://www.fec.gov/info/plainwriting.shtml describes our long-standing commitment to plain language and details our plans to implement the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Those plans focus primarily on improving our existing educational resources for the public and for campaign finance law practitioners. Visitors can access the page from the FEC home page at http://www.fec.gov or via our Open Government page: http://www.fec.gov/open/index.shtml.
- We encourage visitors to submit comments, questions and suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Our Plain Language page reflects guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ and by the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) at http://www.plainlanguage.gov.
Evaluating customer satisfaction
Over the years, we have periodically asked our customers to evaluate our services, including the clarity of our publications. While responses to these mail-in surveys have generally been favorable, we continue to seek public input to improve not only our use of plain language, but all of our public services. We continue to expand and improve our evaluation process by using e-mail, the web and other technologies. Robust interaction between the agency and the public is essential to the success of our plain language program.
During the past year, we have received consistently favorable feedback regarding our outreach materials, including materials distributed at agency conferences and on our website and YouTube page.