Report Writing

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Designed for Florida Association of Code Enforcers, in association with the Florida Institute of Government, this material helps prepare participants for the Report Writing questions on the Code Enforcement certification exam.

I have no control over the content of the handouts/workbook used for this training program, so the content is more dry and static than I would like.

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Report Writing

  1. 1. (Report WritingFacilitated by Chris FriendThe John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government )
  2. 2. ( Introductions ⊛ Name ) ⊛ What You Do/Did ⊛ Years of Service ⊛ Experience With Reports
  3. 3. ( Today’s Agenda 1. Reports: Purpose & Goals ) 2. Writing Style 3. Writing Process 4. Memos & Emails
  4. 4. ( Chapter 1 Reports: Purpose and Goals )
  5. 5. ( Purpose of This Seminar ) To teach Officers how to gather information and organize, write, and edit successful code enforcement documents that are accurate, complete, and understandable— the first time they’re read!
  6. 6. ( Purpose of This Seminar ) To teach Officers how to gather information and organize, write, and edit successful code enforcement documents that are accurate, complete, and understandable— the first time they’re read!
  7. 7. ( Purpose of This Seminar ) To teach Officers how to gather information and organize, write, and edit successful code enforcement documents that are accurate, complete, and understandable— the first time they’re read!
  8. 8. ( Goals of Reports ⊛ Record Evidence ) ⊛ Document violations & corrections ⊛ Dates & Times ⊛ People, Places, & Events ⊛ Cite codes, ordinances, & statutes
  9. 9. ( Your Goals ⊛ Be accurate. ) ⊛ Be logical. (Check your inferences.) ⊛ Be objective. ⊛ Rely on verifiable evidence. ⊛ Remove personal feelings.
  10. 10. ( Types of Documents ⊛ Initial Complaint/ ) Investigation ⊛ Activity/Follow-up ⊛ Case Docket or Summary ⊛ Miscellaneous
  11. 11. ( Document Uses ⊛ Permanent Record ) ⊛ Statistics & Reference ⊛ Informs Violator ⊛ Coordinates Follow-up ⊛ Helps Investigations ⊛ Officer Evaluations
  12. 12. ( Sources ⊛ Direct Observations ) ⊛ Public Reporting ⊛ Visits ⊛ Phone Calls & Emails ⊛ Interviews/Discussions ⊛ Other Reports & Documents
  13. 13. ( Report Readers ⊛ Other Officers ) ⊛ Supervisors ⊛ Attorneys ⊛ Judges, Enforcement Boards, etc. ⊛ Gov’t Officials ⊛ Reporters ⊛ Citizens, incl. Violators
  14. 14. ( Benefits of Standards ⊛ Uniform Writing ) ⊛ Consistency = Accuracy ⊛ Better Completion ⊛ Consistent Training
  15. 15. ( Sources of Standards ⊛ Florida Statutes ) ⊛ Administrative Rules ⊛ Dept./Agency SOPs ⊛ Pre-made Forms
  16. 16. ( Potential Problems ⊛ Handwriting ) ⊛ Insufficient Info ⊛ Too Much Detail ⊛ Omitted Interactions ⊛ Omitted Agreements ⊛ Limiting Forms
  17. 17. ( Chapter 1 Reports: Purpose and Goals )
  18. 18. ( Chapter 2 Writing Style for Reports )
  19. 19. ( Plain Language ⊛ Use everyday words. ) ⊛ Use strong, active verbs. ⊛ Consider using lists. ⊛ Keep sentences/¶s short. ⊛ Use “you” and “we”.
  20. 20. ( Rules for Code Docs 1. Include facts only. ) 2. Write clearly. 3. Be concise. 4. Be complete. 5. Write accurately.
  21. 21. ( Rules for Code Docs 6. Check grammar and ) punctuation. 7. Ensure mechanical accuracy. 8. Write legibly. 9. Be on time.
  22. 22. ( Rules for Sentences 1. Include everything ) necessary. 2. Exclude everything else. 3. Keep sentences short (avg 17 words).
  23. 23. ( Rules for Sentences 4. Keep nouns close to ) verbs. 5. Prefer active voice. 6. Eliminate misplaced modifiers. 7. Eliminate redundancy.
  24. 24. ( Rules for Paragraphs 1. Keep them on one ) topic and in order. 2. Keep them short. (75 words, or 5 sentences, works well.) 3. Keep them positive.
  25. 25. ( Chapter 2 Writing Style for Reports )
  26. 26. ( Chapter 3 Code-Enforcement Documents )
  27. 27. ( Writing Process ⊛ Determine Purpose ) ⊛ Identify Reader ⊛ Gather Info ⊛ Organize the Document ⊛ Write
  28. 28. ( Written Communication ) Pu er ad r po Re Effective se Writing Message
  29. 29. ( Purpose ⊛ Record Violations & ) Resolutions ⊛ Initiation ⊛ Initial Complaint or Investigation ⊛ Activity (Follow-up) ⊛ Case Dockets/Summaries
  30. 30. ( Reader Analysis ⊛ Primary vs. Secondary ) ⊛ Education Level (sentence/word length) ⊛ Language Type ⊛ Common ⊛ Professional ⊛ Specialized ⊛ Geographic
  31. 31. ( Gathering Information ⊛ 6 Question Words ) ⊛ Take Notes! ⊛ Be prompt. ⊛ Use ink. ⊛ Keep organized. ⊛ Take Photos.
  32. 32. ( Outlining ⊛ Why outline? ) ⊛ Organization ⊛ Thoroughness ⊛ Directness ⊛ Simplicity
  33. 33. ( Outlining ⊛ How to Organize? ) ⊛ Chronologically ⊛ Formally ⊛ Likely Dept. Standard ⊛ Summary ⊛ Purpose ⊛ Report ⊛ Conclusion/Recommendation
  34. 34. ( Initial Complaint • Full narrative sentences ) Notification or • Chronological order Observation • Use appropriate form to make sure you get all needed info Staff Creates Complaint Form YES Make Notice Officer Visits Site Violation? of Violation NO Close the Complaint
  35. 35. ( Initial Complaint ⊛ Cover the 6 question words. ) ⊛ Use complete sentences. ⊛ Use the first (not third) person. ⊛ Use chronological order. ⊛ Be neat.
  36. 36. ( Follow-up Document ⊛ Use forms, if available. ) ⊛ Use chronological order. ⊛ Use mixed case. ⊛ Skip lines between ¶s. ⊛ Type, don’t write.
  37. 37. ( Case Docket ) ⊛ Board Name & Docket Title ⊛ Purpose ⊛ Description ⊛ Past Hearing/Order ⊛ Case History ⊛ Summary of Notices ⊛ Recommendation (Opt.)
  38. 38. ( Chapter 3 Code-Enforcement Documents )
  39. 39. ( Chapter 4 Memo & Email Update )
  40. 40. ( Memos & Emails Use ⊛ Simple, Standardized ) Format ⊛ Jargon (If Reader Understands) ⊛ Headings & Lists
  41. 41. ( Memos & Emails Omit ⊛ Salutation ) ⊛ Complimentary Close ⊛ Name/Title/Signature ⊛ Titles (Mr., Mrs., etc.)
  42. 42. ( Memo & Email To-Dos 1. Use Signposts ) 2. Use Simple Style 3. Number Questions 4. Know Your Reader
  43. 43. ( Memo & Email To-Dos 5. Be Conversational ) 6. Use Plain Language 7. Be Polite 8. Attach Wisely
  44. 44. ( Memo & Email Don’ts 9. Don’t be emotional or ) confidential. (No anger or gossip.) 10. Don’t be rude or careless. (Think patience and privacy.)
  45. 45. ( Fixing Long Emails ⊛ Summary ) ⊛ Background ⊛ Action
  46. 46. ( Email Warning ⊛ Never send something ) via email that you wouldn’t want to see in the newspaper. ⊛ Forwarding ⊛ Sunshine Laws
  47. 47. ( Thank You. )Facilitated by Chris FriendThe John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government

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