Undaunted by crazy deadlines, we can often fit in an urgent editing job.

Our work is simply to help you clarify.

Plain-English editing and writing-skills training: helping you clarify your web and printed communications.

Document Accreditation

DOCUMENT ACCREDITATION

Website Accreditation

WEBSITE ACCREDITATION

writing skill courses

WRITING SKILLS COURSES

Document and website editing

DOCUMENT AND WEBSITE EDITING

What we offer

  • Accreditation of your public documents with the Clear English Standard logo – see Editing menu.
  • High-quality writing-skills courses (virtual and face-to-face) for your staff – see Writing-skills courses menu.
  • A distance-learning course to improve every individual’s writing skills – see Writing-skills courses menu.
  • Accreditation of your website with the Clear English Standard logo – see Editing menu.
  • Rapid, affordable editing of your documents and website, even if you choose not to use the Clear English Standard – see Editing menu.

We work for every kind of organization, offering a first-class service by published authors and editors at a reasonable cost. We’re a business, independent of the UK government. So, just to be clear, our accreditation services for documents and websites are not part of any official scheme.

News and updates

  • The fifth edition of our director Martin Cutts’s book the Oxford Guide to Plain English is now on sale (GBP9.99). Order at www.oup.com using promotion code ADFLYK2 to save 30%.
  • Martin was honoured by Clarity, the international campaign for plain legal language, at a conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2023. He became one of the first three inductees of Clarity’s Plain Language Hall of Fame.
  • In 2022, we asked the National Cyber Security Service (NCSC, part of GCHQ) to rewrite its over-complex booklet about the Cyber Essentials scheme. Download our critique of this hideous document here. Responding, the NCSC rewrote and redesigned the booklet, and it’s now much clearer. Success!
  • Several websites have earned the right to display the Gold level of the Clear English Standard, showing they’ve met our accreditation criteria. This accolade is now held by (among others) Warmworks, MoneyHelper, and the Bank of England. Scheme details: see Editing menu.
  • Our latest paperback, Nailing the Lies of the Plain English Campaign, is available on free download here (116 pages, 10MB). The book examines the claims and activities of a well-known operator in the plain-language field, and tells you some surprising stuff about the legendary broadcaster John Humphrys. Details: see Books.
B&CE

Our expert team members

Our small team of published authors and editors are highly experienced in the writing-skills field. The company is managed by Martin Cutts, author of Lucid Law, the Plain English Lexicon and the Oxford Guide to Plain English. Most of our courses are presented by Ruth Thornton, one of the best writing-skills trainers in the UK and the author of the Adult Learners’ Writing Guide (Chambers). Martin and Ruth are assisted by several tried and trusted freelances.

Find out more about our expert team members here.

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Why use plain language?

Whether you’re writing to customers, colleagues or members of the public, it makes sense to use language they’ll easily be able to understand. We can call this ‘plain language’ or ‘clear language’. Plain language improves efficiency and saves money because more people will read and act upon the documents you send them. Plain language is now required by many leading organizations and industries, by several regulators and even by some laws.

Find out more about the importance of using plain language here.

Durham County Council has dealt with Martin Cutts and Plain Language Commission (clearest.co.uk ltd) for many years now, using their expertise for our housing register literature. All our forms, letters, leaflets and guides for Durham Key Options are sent for Clear English Standard approval, and communications have always been speedy and concise. The nature of the work can be very specific and may need multiple correspondence but the utmost patience is always shown by Martin and his team. The end product is always fantastic and represents good value for money. We highly recommend others to use Plain Language Commission.

John Kelly
Choice Based Lettings Team Leader, Durham County Council

Tenants told us they wanted to get information about the Charter in a straightforward jargon-free way that people who are not housing professionals could understand. Plain Language Commission made the process painless, with good communication throughout, and gave us an extremely fast turnaround at every stage.

Scottish Government

The course was very successful – largely thanks to Ruth Thornton’s excellent presentation skills. Everyone can see the benefits and we’re all very keen to practise what we’ve learnt.

Norwich Union Life

It was refreshing to be taught by people who could take an independent look at our written work. Their comments and criticisms were constructive. I found them approachable and their enthusiasm motivating.

The course presenter is fantastic – very knowledgeable and knows how to get across the key messages.

Ecorys

The balance of theory and practice was just right.

The sections on planning and structuring gave me a whole new way of approaching something I dread and, I hope, avoiding debilitating panics!

The training was fantastic! Ruth was excellent and highly knowledgeable and the course materials were, as you would expect, well structured, clear and highly effective. The team and I found the entire experience extremely useful and I would be keen on exploring other courses in the near future, in particular creative and marketing writing.

ICSA

I thought the session for management team went very well. Martin Cutts was excellent and using the members’ room with everyone around the table made it feel much less like ‘enforced’ training, engendered a team approach and everyone happily joined in. Three service managers have already told me how much they enjoyed it and it is good to hear the word ‘enjoy’. So congratulations and thanks for your efforts.

Pendle Council

Thought you would like to know that everyone on this course came back with very positive feedback; they all thoroughly enjoyed the day and took a lot from it. They were also complimentary of the trainer. It is quite unusual for all delegates to be unanimous in their praise – all credit to the trainer.

Head of conference and office services
Financial Services Authority

Clients we’ve worked with

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Plain Language Commission is independent of the UK Government.

We belong to PLAIN, the international association for plain-language supporters and practitioners around the world.