Hennepin County honored for ditching legalese

Hennepin County has won an award for stripping its website of legal jargon and government speak.

The Center for Plain Language honored the county with two 2013 ClearMark awards last month in Washington D.C.

HennCo has come a long way. Here’s how it used to advise visitors of the rules at the Minnetonka Home School:

Custodial adults and other approved visitors shall be allowed to visit residents in designated and supervised areas that allow for appropriate physical contact and informal communication. Visits shall be subject only to limitations necessary to maintain order and security at the Hennepin County Home School.

… and so on for 562 impenetrable words. Now it has dropped the shalls, and condensed the document into a handful of bullet points:

Who can visit?
Visits are limited to:

  • Parents
  • Step-parents
  • Legal guardians
  • Custodial adults
  • Children of residents

The center apparently deducted no points for leaving in the term “custodial adults.” We are talking about a government website after all.