The HSE content guide sets out how we develop content for HSE digital communications. We use this guidance to create digital content that people can easily find, use and understand.

Following these rules will help us be consistent, professional and effective in all our content.

That’s why everyone who writes for should follow these rules.

Content design principles

All our content is based on these principles.

The rules for language

This covers the rules for plain English, as well as the basics of style – including abbreviations, dates and numbers, capitalisation, using contractions.

The rules for structure

How to use titles, headings, paragraphs, bullet lists and links.

How to write about people

Writing about people with disabilities, age, gender and sexuality.

Writing technical medical and legal content

How to use plain English and strip out jargon in medical and legal content.


Make sure your content meets accessibility standards.

Images and copyright

Choosing and formatting images, writing captions and crediting images correctly.


Links to some of the research that this manual is based on, as well as interesting resources.

Voice and tone

How to reflect our values – care, compassion, trust and learning – in everything we do.