Pensions get plain English booklet boost

IF YOU don’t know what a defined benefit pension scheme is, are unsure about what constitutes “reckonable service” and would run a mile rather than read up on the implications of the Pensions Act, help is at hand.

The Irish Pensions Board has decided to help consumers understand the workings of pensions by employing a “plain English” consultant to spruce up its information campaigns.

The board has advertised for tenders from suitable companies who can assist with editing information it publishes “to ensure it is written in plain English”, and to provide proofreading services for its publications.

“It’s just to make them more user-friendly,” said IPB spokesman David Malone yesterday. “This is an area where people have to become more educated. Research shows people don’t understand pensions and a lot of that is because of the language used.”

The plain English service will be used by the board as it prepares booklets or revises existing publications, on its website and possibly as part of future media advertising.

“We’d be confident it would feed through the general organisation,” said Mr Malone.

“I don’t think you’re going to end up with a situation where a piece of legislation is going to be scripted in plain English, or the intricacies of a green paper, but particularly in our consumer publications we would use it.”

He said the board had been implementing policies to make its publications more understandable in recent times, and decided to advertise for outside help.

Translation companies and proofreaders are among the sectors expected to show interest in the contract.

One of the conditions for participation in the process is the tenders “must be in English”, according to the IPB. Among the criteria for the successful company will be fast turnaround times, training of the board’s staff and helping to provide a style guide.

“The successful tenderer will be awarded a contract to provide plain English and proofreading services for a period of one year and the board shall have the option to extend that contract for one or more successive periods of one year,” states the board’s advert.

The deadline for receipt of tenders is February 15.

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