Plain English Campaign
Plain English Campaign Limited (PEC) is a commercial editing and training firm based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1979 by Chrissie Maher, the company positions itself as a leader in plain language advocacy, working to persuade organisations in the UK and abroad to communicate with the public in plain language. In 1990, Plain English Campaign created the Crystal Mark, its seal of approval. This is a symbol printed on documents which it considers to be as clear as possible for the intended audience. According to the Plain English Campaign, the symbol appears on over 20,000 documents worldwide. They also give out the annual Foot in Mouth Award for "a baffling comment by a public figure" and the Golden Bull Award for "the worst examples of written tripe". Notable winners of the Foot in Mouth Award include George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.
Plain English Campaign has worked all over the world for companies and organisations including British Gas, British Telecom, Irish Life, Telefónica O2 and the World Bowls association. It has also worked with the majority of UK council and government departments. Many UK forms and bills carry the Crystal Mark, including the British Passport application form. Plain English Campaign is often described in the media as a pressure group, and regularly makes public comment about language-related news stories, particularly jargon. In 2006 its supporters voted Bill Shankly the author of the greatest footballing quotation of all time. A 2004 survey revealed that ‘At the end of the day’ was considered the most irritating cliché. Chrissie Maher was awarded the OBE in 1994 for her services to plain communication. Famous supporters of PEC include Margaret Thatcher and broadcaster John Humphrys.