Some 100 Dutch language experts are being drafted in to help make civil servants easier to understand, the home affairs ministry said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of articles are up for review and by the end of this year, the 100 most used letters, website texts and brochures should have been improved, the ministry said. By the end of 2020, that total should have reached 1,000.
The aim of the project to make sure civil servants use language which the man in the street can understand, the ministry said. The Direct Duidelijk Brigade (literally, immediately clear brigade) will coach officials in their use of words, re-write texts and offer training programmes.
So far around 200 civil servants have been on courses to improve their writing skills. The government has also set up a special website with writing tips, sample letters and lists.
‘For many citizens, the language used by the government is too difficult. They are unable to decipher what their rights are and what the government expects of them,’ according to the official English summary of the new campaign.
Despite the efforts made so far, more needs to be done, junior minister Raymond Knops told the AD.
In the paper he refers to a job advert published by his own department which is looking for a Raakvlakmanager Strategische Beheerorganisatie Digitaal Stelsel Omgevingswet, or an Interface Manager Strategic Management Organisation Digital System Zoning Law. ‘I had to ask how this could happen,’ Knops said.
The project is costing €3m but the government hopes the end result will save money. In Den Bosch, for example, simplifying a form to request a home help generated an estimated €125,000 in savings.
The campaign a joint initiative between Dutch language lobby group Taalunie and home affairs ministry.