New Australian style manual is coming

| July 19, 2019

Ethos CRS has been appointed by the Digital Transformation Agency to undertake the first stage of the project to develop the seventh edition of the Australian Government’s Style manual. The Style manual sets the standard for writing and publishing and is to be updated for the digital age.

Chief Executive Officer of Ethos CRS, Chas Savage, said that Ethos CRS wants to produce the definitive digital style manual, one that is recognised by all users as setting a new authoritative standard—both in Australia and internationally—and one that helps make government communications simple, clear and consistent.

Mr Savage said the objective of the project is to refresh and define government style and provide comprehensive advice on whole-of-government standards and publishing requirements.

“But this project is not just about commas or fonts or formatting. It is important because clear writing by government is important. People should be able to understand their rights and responsibilities, how they can access services and how they can meet obligations. Our objective is to make documents clearer and the lives of readers easier.

“We also know that the current edition, published in 2002, is silent on the style conventions that enable the creation and use of digital content. A whole generation is waiting for the Australian Government to define digital style.”

Ethos CRS will collaborate with the Digital Transformation Agency to scope out the detail and digital architecture of the new digital Style manual in stage 1, which is to begin in July 2019. Work to develop content will commence after the successful completion of stage 1 and the Digital Transformation Agency aims to release the live product in 2020.

Ethos CRS is Australia’s leading consultancy for advice on clear writing and clear English for government and business. They are a specialist company based in Canberra that is expert in communications, writing and editing, policy, regulation and leadership.

“The ability of the Ethos CRS team to produce a comprehensive, practical and authoritative Style manualis based on a long experience training government employees to write clearly.

“With our partners, the Australian National Dictionary Centre at The Australian National University, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand, and Principle Co, Ethos CRS has drawn together experts in government writing, in contemporary Australian English usage and in clear writing conventions as they are practised around the world.

“This team understand the principles that underpin the work of drafting clear documents and we know what makes government documents comprehensive, practical and authoritative,” Mr Savage said.