The borough council is currently seeking views on its draft ‘Statement of Community Involvement’. You’ll find it here goo.gl/W63Ss2
Now, assuming that you’re part of the community, you’ll want to know how you might be involved. So just click on the link and start reading. The document’s only thirty three pages long.
The draft says that the council “will work with [hard to reach] groups to see how to best involve them.” It seems reasonable that some of these groups might have modest educational achievements, so it also seems reasonable that a document that talks about involving them should be written appropriately. Particularly as it’s a consultation document.
From time to time we mention Microsoft Word’s ‘readability test’. It’s a standard feature of Word, and, as its name suggests, it estimates how easy it is to read a particular piece of text. We’ve submitted the first two introductory paragraphs of the draft ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ to the test, and they score about 15. That puts them in the “Very difficult to read. Best understood by university graduates” category. To be fair, the score is slightly adrift – not enough to affect the category – because the initial paragraph contains repetitive gobbledeegook (which suggests that not even the council has managed to read it!)
If you want to know more about the readability test, you’ll find information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesch%E2%80%93Kincaid_readability_tests
(Footnote. i. We wrote similar criticisms about an earlier Statement of Community Involvement consultation back in 2005 when the council observed: “Despite extensive attempts at obtaining input from the local community and other important groups and organisations, the response has been low.” We suggested that this was hardly a surprise. A dozen years later, we expect pretty much the same lukewarm response. ii. We don’t always comment adversely on council documents. About a recent SHBC residential accommodation design guide, we wrote to the council: “The guide is excellent and a welcome addition to the council’s planning documents.”)