Government Digital Service wants plainer English in contracts

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
15 September 2015

The UK’s Government Digital Service is rewriting its contracts in plainer English to make them easier to understand.

In a blog Warren Smith, interim assistant director of G-Cloud and the Digital Commercial Programme, said his team had reduced the number of words in the digital services contract by more than 40 per cent and they were aiming for a two-line limit on sentences.

“We know that the majority of buyers and suppliers who read the procurement documentation aren’t legal professionals so we’d like to make our contracts reflect this,” he said.

“So far we’ve reduced the number of words by over 40 per cent, without reducing the material content. We’re hoping to reduce this further in the final version of the contract.

“As well as drafting in plain English and removing unnecessary content, we’re aiming for a two-line limit on sentences. This significantly increases the ease of understanding and reduces reading time.”

As well as simpler wording, Smith said a summary of the main points would also be included at the beginning of contracts.

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