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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Plain Language

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing "a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to writing new documents in plain language by October 2011, using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines and following the Office of Management and Budget's final guidance issued on April 13, 2011.

We need your help to comply with this Act! Let us know if you have trouble understanding our documents or the pages on our Web site: VAPlainLanguage@va.gov 

Senior Agency Official

Bonnie Miranda, Executive Secretary and Gemma Button, Deputy Executive Secretary from the Office of the Secretary, Office of the Executive Secretariat, have oversight responsibility for VA's plain language efforts. Other Department Points of Contact are: Ms. Katrice Pasteur, Director, Office of Executive Correspondence, Veterans Health Administration, Ms. Andrea Downs, Executive Reviewer, Veterans Benefit Administration, and Ms. Liz Tate, Chief, Executive Correspondence, National Cemetery Administration.

We are training our employees and have strengthened our oversight process to ensure that you— the reader—will benefit from our products and services. To this end, we intend to use plain language in any document that:

  • is necessary for obtaining any VA benefit or service;
  • provides information about any VA benefit or service; or
  • explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that VA administers or enforces.

To help us comply with this Act and evaluate our progress, we invite you to contact Us with feedback on the following topics:

  • Our Plain Writing Action Plan
  • Difficulty understanding our documents or information on our public Web site
  • Use of plain language in our public meetings

Implementation Plan

You can review the Department of Veterans Affairs Plain Language Implementation Plan here.

Plain Language Committee

VA has organized a committee of Plain Language points of contact from the three Administrations and Staff offices to:

  • Assist in the review and revision of policy and guidance.
  • Monitor VA compliance with the Plain Writing Act.
  • Promote VA's implementation plan.
  • Share best practices and resources.

Plain Language Compliance Report

You can review the Department of Veterans Affairs Plain Language Compliance Report here.

Plain Writing Resources

In order to assist you with your Plain Language training and ensure that VA complies with the Act, listed are some resources for you to explore.

The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is the official interagency working group designated to assist in issuing plain writing guidance. The PLAIN Web site includes guidelines on plain language and tools for writing in plain language.

Training

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