Latest Public Sector News

05.09.16

Over 80% of local authority websites fail ‘readability’ guidelines

How easy to read is your website? A new report suggests 82% of council websites could be confusing readers by failing to use plain English.

VisibleThread analysed up to 100 pages on 191 local authority websites for factors such as ‘readability’, ‘passive language’, ‘long sentences’ and ‘word complexity density’.

It found that 82% of local authority websites did not achieve the target score of 60 for readability, despite 2014 government guidelines stating that plain English is “mandatory for all of Gov.UK”.

Furthermore, only 3.6% achieved 4% use of passive language or less.

Just 1% of websites – two out of all those surveyed – met the score of a maximum of 5% of sentences containing more than 25 words. However, 13% of councils met or exceeded the target score for sentence complexity.

According to the data, the five most understandable councils in the country are South Tyneside, Eastbourne Borough, London Borough of Hackney, Durham and Huntingdonshire. The five hardest to read, in contrast, were Sevenoaks, Worcester, Chiltern, the Isles of Scilly and Malvern Hills, where 31% of sentences contained more than 25 words.

The public sector has an unfortunate reputation for a love of jargon. Sometimes, of course, public servants need to use complex or technical language. However, VisibleThread’s research is a timely reminder that, when communicating with the public we serve, we need to do so in words they can understand.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

The evolution of digital transformation for local government

05/06/2020The evolution of digital transformation for local government

Content provided by TechnologyOne, editorially reviewed by Public Sector Executive. A CEO’s perspective  Andrew Grant, former CEO of Aylesbury V... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >