Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Plain Writing Implementation Plan – June 2011
The Plain Writing Act (Public Law
111-274) was signed into law by the President on October 13, 2010.
The Act, which applies to the FDIC, is intended “to improve the
effectiveness and accountability of Federal agencies to the public by
promoting clear Government communication that the public can
understand and use.”
The Act requires that Federal
agencies prepare certain documents intended for the public according to
plain writing guidelines. Covered documents include documents relating
to agency benefits and services and compliance with agency laws and
regulations. They include both paper and electronic versions of
documents such as letters, publications, forms, notices, and
The FDIC is responsible for ensuring
that agency personnel prepare documents intended for the public
according to plain writing guidelines. The Corporation is also
responsible for providing annual compliance reports on the
implementation of the Plain Writing Act, and for establishing a mailbox
for receiving and responding to public comments.
Roles and Responsibilities
- The Legal Division
will be responsible for notifying FDIC employees of the Act’s
- Corporate University
(CU) will be responsible for developing appropriate training
- The Director, Office
of Public Affairs, with appropriate delegation, will be responsible
for implementing the Act’s requirements.
- The Division of
Administration (DOA) will be responsible for establishing a process to
oversee the FDIC’s ongoing compliance with the Act’s requirements.
- DOA, working with
the Office of Public Affairs (OPA), and under the general auspices of
the Division of Information Technology (DIT), will be responsible for
developing a plain writing section on the FDIC’s public web site.
- DOA will be the FDIC
point-of-contact for public comments on the FDIC’s implementation of
the Act and will be responsible for all required reports.
- On July 13, 2011,
the FDIC Chairman, or designee, will issue a memorandum to Division
and Office Directors providing guidance on roles and responsibilities
for implementing the Plain Writing Act at the FDIC.
- Shortly after the
Chairman’s memorandum is issued, the designated plain writing program
coordinator in DOA will send a follow-up correspondence to Division
and Office Directors. This message will ask the Division and Office
Directors to designate contact points to interact with the program
coordinator and to prepare a comprehensive list of documents that are
believed to be “covered documents” under the Act. This message will
also reference the establishment of an annual compliance certification
process for Divisions and Offices, as well as periodic reviews of
covered documents on a “sample test” basis.
- Based on input from
Divisions and Offices, the program coordinator will compile a
comprehensive list of FDIC-generated documents believed to be covered
under the Act. The list will be submitted to the Legal Division for a
formal opinion on whether the items listed are, in fact, “covered
documents”. This opinion will be circulated to all Divisions and
Offices for awareness and future compliance.
- On July 13, 2011,
DOA, working through OPA, will launch a plain writing section on the
FDIC’s public web site. The site will provide an overview of the
FDIC’s compliance with the Act, will include links to plain writing
reference materials, and will provide the email link to a mailbox for
public comments. The web site will also include copies of the FDIC’s
implementation plan and annual compliance reports (due on April 13,
2012 and annually thereafter).
- During the period
prior to October 13, 2011, and periodically thereafter, CU will
provide training for employees on plain writing principles. Initial
training to employees with a high need for awareness will be conducted
during Summer 2011 through classroom training. Subsequent training
may be provided through computer-based instruction.
- As required in the
Act, all FDIC employees who prepare “covered documents” will use plain
writing by no later than October 13, 2011.
- As required, DOA,
working in conjunction with other Divisions and Offices, will respond
to public comments received through the plain writing mailbox and will
oversee the resolution of any compliance issues that may arise.
- During March 2012,
and annually thereafter, the program coordinator will work with
Division and Office points of contact to get certifications of
compliance with the Act from all Division and Office Directors. In
any circumstances of non-compliance, Division and Office Directors
will be required describe the reasons why the non-compliance exists
and the steps that are being taken to remedy it.