Content development stage for Style Manual to get underway

The Australian Government Style Manual has hit a milestone with the signing of a contract for scoping work with a content partner.    

7 editions of the hardcopy Style Manual stacked on top of each other

Do you remember 2002? Perhaps you enjoyed the 2nd instalment of Lord of the Rings at the cinema. Or you may have treated yourself to a 2nd-gen iPod, complete with 20GB of storage. If you were working in writing or editing, you may have also picked up the 6th edition of the Style Manual, which was published that year.

We're guessing that copy is now dog-eared, annotated and bookmarked with sticky notes. With the move to digital government services, we also know it’s now outdated in many ways.

The Style Manual is Australian Government’s authoritative source of guidance writing and editing. Our aim with the 7th edition is to make all government communication simple, clear and easy to read.

We're ready to start delivering a digital edition 

An updated Style Manual has been anticipated for many years. The great news is, we've hit a milestone on the way to delivering it.

Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and Ethos CRS have just signed a contract to begin scoping the content for the first-ever digital Style Manual. If successful, we'll move into content delivery with the aim of releasing a live product in 2020.  DTA approached the market in February for a specialist content partner. Ethos was the successful tenderer.

Ethos CRS Director Chas Savage and Style Manual Engagement Lead Susan Baird smile as they hold signed contracts

Caption: Ethos CRS Director Chas Savage and Style Manual Engagement Lead Susan Baird sign the contract for Style Manual content scoping. 


Ethos brings significant experience in government communications and training to the Style Manual. It has also partnered with subject experts in editing and language including:

  • Australian National University 
  • Australian National Dictionary Centre 
  • Oxford University Press 

The updated Style Manual will reflect contemporary government usage. It will also have much-needed new sections on content design and digital media.

We want to make government communication simple, clear and consistent

DTA has been working on the Style Manual since 2017. Over that time, we've been busy doing user research and building prototypes. This work will help us make sure it will be useful to everyone who writes and edits for government. Our aim is to make all government communication simple, clear and consistent.

As the authoritative source of rules and guidance for government style, the 7th edition will also lead to significant cost savings.

A 2015 Department of Finance report found that the potential savings from 79 agencies using the same source of style guidance would be between $15.8M and $39.5M. This would give agencies more time to focus on their specific in-house style needs.

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