Government writing services

Since starting business in 2000 our specialist writers for government have helped many government departments and agencies with plain English writing and editing. By helping the department, agency, minister or senior leaders talk more directly and more appropriately to stakeholders and the public, our government writing creates more effective communications. Our work includes:

  • annual reports
  • websites
  • fact sheets
  • case studies
  • brochures and flyers
  • working as a government internal communications writer
  • speeches
  • newsletters
  • press releases
  • general writers for government and much more.

Elegance of language may not be in the power of all of us; but simplicity and straightforwardness are. Write much as you would speak; speak as you think. Be what you say; and, within the rules of prudence, say what you are.

So said Henry Alford — English churchman, theologian, textual critic, scholar, poet and writer — about 150 years ago. The same rings true today and it’s called plain English. Put simply or, dare we say it, plainly, plain English is writing something in a way that gives someone a good chance of understanding it on the first reading, and in the way that you want them to. A good government writer uses clear, direct writing, with as few words as possible, which avoids ambiguity, verbage and complex sentences. This does not, however, mean always using simple words at the expense of the most accurate or writing like a pre-schooler.

What is apparently a simple and effective message is usually the product of long and careful crafting. For a government writer this process is impossible without a sound grasp of language from the ground up. So whether it’s copywriting from scratch, a light edit or major surgery involving a complete rethink of an existing document, we will craft your government document into a leaner, cleaner and more concise message that can be understood and acted on after one reading. Of course, while editing, we’ll rigorously maintain the original meaning and intent, and never change facts or figures. In addition, correct grammar, punctuation and spelling ensures you’re always represented in the best possible light.

And, of course, when you work with us, you work with professional government writing experts with a strong work ethic, integrity and an understanding of how to communicate to the general public, internal stakeholders and specialist audiences. Together, we will make your document the most effective it can be.

Some examples of our work

The Education State

education sate

02_education sate

The brief:

The Education State initiative by Victoria’s Andrews government aims to build an education system that produces excellence and reduces the impact of disadvantage. Working over several months, both in house and remotely, with The Department of Education and Training, APM wrote around 40 fact sheets and range of press releases, brochures, web sites, FAQs and other collateral for launch of this initiative.

Copy sample:

The brave new world of work skills

Globalisation and the emergence of low-cost producers in China, India and Indonesia have ensured our economic future no longer lies in making things but in advanced manufacturing and knowledge-based service industries. This shift is going on right now and will require workers with conceptual, analytical and information-processing skills, i.e., STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Maths). While international benchmarks put Australia/Victoria as a middle-to-upper ranked STEM-skilled workforce (often ahead of the USA and UK), our business community is still struggling to find enough people to fill roles and believes STEM skills should be a priority issue.

STEM at work

In its Skills outlook 2013 report the OECD highlighted how the technological revolution has affected everything from how we ’talk‘ with our family and friends, how we shop, and especially how and where we work. This has shifted the skills that future workers will need strongly towards STEM. They’ll need numeracy and problem-solving skills to grasp complex, abstract information, and to conduct analyses and complex reasoning about quantities and data, statistics and chance, spatial relationships, and change, proportions and formulas.

What is a STEM job?

There’s not a recognised, global set of STEM jobs but health professions, agriculture, environment and related fields, and computing are all typically included, as are accountancy and business studies, economics and econometrics. In fact, of the 85 fields of study available, there are about 50 fields that have a STEM element.


Former Lands Department Chemical Inquiry

chem report image

The brief:

The Victorian Government established an inquiry into the use of chemicals by government employees – specifically 245T and 24D – between 1965 and 1995, in Western Victoria. Working very closely with the inquiry’s Chair Greg Tweedly, APM was commissioned to plain English edit and proof read this 100k word report while also ensuring all 900 references adhered to a consistent Harvard style. This involved simplifying complex scientific information without losing any meaning or intent as well as consulting on a range of content and style issues to ensure the final document flowed clearly and concisely.

Copy sample: 

This Inquiry comes at a time of heightened concern in the Ballarat community around the impact of exposure to the chemicals 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) on the Department’s employees. The Inquiry has investigated the likely exposures of Department employees in the Ballarat region to these chemicals from 1965 to 1995 and any potential health risks. Many people will be looking for this Report to find out if there is a definite link between 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T to cancers and other illnesses of family, friends and work colleagues. The Inquiry was not tasked to assess this but to ascertain the likely exposure of employees to 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T and therefore better understand any potential health risks. Our key finding is that, prior to 1981, it is plausible that exposure to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD,a contaminant in 2,4,5-T) may cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma or soft tissue sarcoma. With so many possible causes of cancer, however, it’s impossible to be absolutely certain that this exposure is one of those causes.


National Broadband Network

The brief:

The Australian Government plan for a National Broadband Network (NBN) represents the largest ever infrastructure project undertaken in this country. The government’s web agency commissioned APM to adapt existing brochure copy and corporate documents into a web-friendly form. The final product explained the NBN roll out and its benefits, transforming technical information into plain English.

Copy sample:

What is broadband?

Basically broadband is super-fast internet that is always on. Unlike a dial-up connection, it does not block your phone line and there’s no need to reconnect to network after logging off.

Companies are developing new uses for broadband every day and we need the bandwidth and speeds available to handle them. The NBN will connect 90% of all Australians with state-of-the-art fibre optic wires and 10% with next-generation wireless and satellite technologies. It offers access to digital content, applications and a range of services 24/7 100 times faster than what we have now. Plus it can deliver much more video and data, voice, TV and simultaneously over really long distances.

As you can see, the NBN will serve us all very well for decades to come.

For more go to nbn.gov.au