Your Roles in the Council
Welsh Language & Councils
The Welsh language has official legal status in Wales which means that Welsh should be treated no less favourably than the English language in Wales and that people in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so. The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 set out a range of standards that apply to public bodies, including councils, and established the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner.
The Commissioner publishes a Compliance Notice for each public body, which says how that public body should apply the Standards; each Compliance Notice is unique to the organisation, so councils may be required to attain different levels of compliance within the standards. You should therefore ask council officers for guidance around how the standards apply to you in your role as a councillor and how they apply to the council as a service provider and as an employer.
The Welsh Language Commissioner’s role is to promote the Welsh language and improve the opportunities people have to use it. The Commissioner also seeks to ensure that public bodies follow their Compliance Notices and investigates any complaints that an organisation has not met the standards or its Compliance Notice. The Commissioner has enforcement powers and can impose fines on public bodies for non-compliance.
The standards cover these 6 areas of work in a council:
1. Service Delivery Standards – focuses upon the provision of services, procurement, corporate identity and communication;
2. Policy Making Standards – focuses upon assessing impact on the Welsh language in all policy decisions and taking positive steps to promote language use;
3. Operational Standards – focuses upon the promotion and facilitation of Welsh in relation to an organisation’s internal activities;
4. Promotion Standards – focuses upon promoting the Welsh language in all aspects of business including external / partnership work; and looks specifically at education and skills, language transmission, children and young people, the community and a supporting infrastructure for the Welsh language;
5. Record Keeping Standards – focuses upon maintaining records for compliance in areas such as staff skills, complaints, training and recruitment including compliance with the other Standards; and
6. Additional Standards – requires the council to prepare an Annual Report regarding standard compliance, and to provide information to the Welsh Language Commissioner as required.