Photo: Rob Suisted
One of the last frontiers of plain language in the US federal government is acquisition/procurement language.
Many agencies have made great strides in changing their language: lawyers, tax correspondence, health information, and benefits. However, contracts — and people who deal with them to buy products, services, and solutions to carry out their agency’s mission — are rarely in plain language.
People make the usual arguments: the lawyers blessed it, it worked last time, we can’t change things, and people are used to it.
But to make it easier for customers, one agency — the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) — did. Staff looked at a regularly reported pain point: the instructions to suppliers on how to sell information technology to other federal agencies, and decided they could do better.
The results? The Making it Easier Initiative and the Schedule 70 Roadmap, both on GSA.gov.