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This is the Welsh Ministers’ 4th annual report on their compliance with the Welsh Language Standards since the standards came into force on 30 March 2016. The standards have been embedded within the organisation for some time, and have become an operational reality for the Welsh Government.

Whilst preparing the report, the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold, and as a result, the government is now working differently. During this period the Welsh language has been at the forefront of our planning; during uncertain times it is more important than ever to communicate with the public in their language of choice. There has been tremendous pressure on ministers and officials because of the pandemic, but we have continued to successfully operate bilingually.

During the period of preparing for the implementation of the standards, for reasons of clarity and propriety, a revised structure was established within the government, separating the Welsh language policy functions from the work of ensuring compliance with the standards. This arrangement continues. The Welsh language policy team, the Welsh Language Division, is based within the Education and Public Services Group, whilst the team involved in complying with the standards is located within the Office of the First Minister’s Group. A very small team of staff work centrally on compliance although they are supported by a network of co-ordinators and they receive wider support of course from colleagues throughout the organisation.

The Welsh Government's strategy for promoting the use of Welsh within the organisation, Cymraeg. It belongs to us all, was launched during the present reporting period. The strategy sets out an ambitious and long-term aim to increase the use the Welsh language, one that will have a positive impact on the use of the language in the organisation for generations to come. In launching the strategy to staff, the Permanent Secretary set out her commitment to implementing the strategy and noted that her aim over the first period is for the Welsh Government to become an exemplar organisation in its internal use of the Welsh language compared to similar organisations.

1. Compliance with Service Delivery Standards

1.1 General

Our aim is to ensure that the people of Wales can engage with their Government in their language of choice at all times, and that we provide high-quality bilingual services on every occasion.

We continue to operate through a network of language co-ordinators, as mentioned above, with representatives from across the organisation. The network of co-ordinators provides a forum for discussion on good practice and any obstacles that arise. It allows us to share key messages on compliance within the different groups, it provides a first point of contact for colleagues to seek advice on the use of Welsh and compliance with the standards, and provides assurance to the central standards team on compliance within the organisation. The network continues to be a significant part of the jigsaw of compliance with the standards.

1.2 Complaints

We received 24 complaints relating to Service Delivery Standards during the reporting period. Two complaints were received directly from members of the public. These complaints were investigated and responded to under the first stage of the Welsh Government's complaints policy; within 10 working days. Of the 22 complaints received from the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office, 9 investigations have been terminated, with the remainder ongoing.

Use of our services

  Alterian (Eng) Drupal (Eng) Total (Eng) Alterian (Welsh) Drupal (Welsh) Total (Welsh)
Page views 510,044 13,350,230 13,860,274 22,495 852,330 874,825
Document downloads 91,484 1,146,462 1,237,946 3,609 46,516 50,125
Ministerial and official correspondence

The ministers' private offices received 14,441 items of correspondence during the reporting period to ministerial addresses, of which 671 (4.6%) were received in Welsh. There was an increase of 14.5% in the overall correspondence received during the period.

2. Compliance with the Policy Making Standards

2.1 General

Cymraeg 2050: A million speakers is the Welsh Government's strategy for promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language. Cymraeg 2050 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act both state that the Welsh language is a strategic priority for the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government's vision is to see the Welsh language thrive, with an increase in the number of people who speak and use the language in their everyday lives.

The policy making standards require the Welsh Government to:

  1. consider the effects or impacts of our policy decisions on the Welsh language (both positive and negative)
  2. consider how to increase positive effects, mitigate or reduce adverse effects and take all opportunities to promote the use of Welsh
  3. seek views on the effects on the Welsh language when engaging or consulting and to seek the view of Welsh speakers and users of the language

A new integrated impact assessment framework was introduced in 2018 to consider the effects of policy decisions on opportunities to use the Welsh language and not to treat the Welsh language less favourably than English. The purpose of the framework is to provide comprehensive advice to staff on giving due consideration to a range of subjects, including the Welsh language, when making policy decisions. The Welsh language impact assessment is one of the statutory, mandatory assessments that officials must complete when developing, reviewing or revising policies.

The aim is to develop policies of the highest possible quality which in turn make a difference to the citizens of Wales. The framework fits closely with the Cymraeg 2050 objectives, and ensures that its objectives are mainstreamed within Ministerial policy decisions. In order to help staff use the new framework, a comprehensive guide was developed for staff along with a data handbook on the Welsh language in Wales.

The Welsh Government’s standard consultation templates have been revised to ensure that we receive respondents' comments on the effects of our policy decisions on the Welsh language. Similarly, standard procurement templates ensure that the standards are an important consideration when contracting third party services. Guidance has been developed for staff on compliance with requirements during consultation exercises, contracting services, grant funding and research commissioning.

2.2 Complaints

One complaint relating to the policy making standards was received during the reporting period. The investigation was terminated by the Commissioner.

3. Compliance with the Operational Standards

3.1 Developing a policy on the internal use of Welsh

The Welsh Government's formal strategy for promoting the Welsh language internally sets a challenge for us to gradually become a bilingual organisation over the next thirty years. Our aim is that the Welsh Government should become truly bilingual by 2050; a workplace where it is routine for both Welsh and English to be used naturally and interchangeably. This means that, over the next three decades, Welsh Government employees now and in the future will have to work together to develop the Welsh language capacity of the organisation to enable our workforce to at least be able to understand basic Welsh.

This is a long-term goal, but we need to put steps in place to work towards it now. We will strengthen learning and development by expanding and improving our offer to learn Welsh, as well as providing more opportunities for staff to use Welsh. This will help us deliver high quality bilingual services to the people of Wales.

As a result of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 we have a statutory duty to adopt a policy that promotes and facilitates the use of Welsh in the workplace. In 2017 the Welsh Government's Welsh language strategy, Cymraeg 2050: A million speakers, asked us to "lead by example" in our use of Welsh in the workplace. And, the First Minister, in his manifesto to become leader of the Labour Party in Wales, promised to "mainstream" the Welsh language across all our policy areas. Other public bodies have also made great strides in this area, both local authorities and national bodies, and so it was time for us to take action ourselves.

The strategy sets a long-term goal. But we will focus initially on the first 5 years, 2020-2025, during which we will aim to become an exemplar organisation in our use of the Welsh language compared to similar bodies in Wales. There are 10 actions in the strategy which mean that we start on the path to 2050 in a gradual, reasonable and proportionate way. The principles underpinning the strategy are crucial.

  • Making a long term commitment and leading the way: change will be incremental and will happen over time, but we intend to lead by example in the way we promote use of the language in the workplace.
  • Investing in staff and providing opportunities to learn Welsh and develop language skills: it is crucial that effective and convenient training is provided, with people given both time and motivation to continuously improve their Welsh language skills.
  • Remaining an open, inclusive and diverse organisation: everyone has the potential to be a Welsh speaker and this strategy does not conflict with our commitment to being open, inclusive and diverse – although Welsh language skills will progressively be needed for more posts, developing a bilingual workforce does not mean (or imply) those skills being a universal pre-requisite for joining the Welsh Government.
  • Continuously reviewing our ways of working to facilitate the increased use of Welsh: when we introduce new internal policies and initiatives we will review the extent to which they provide further opportunities for staff to use Welsh in their day to day work.

3.2 Training – Health and safety

New resources for health and safety were launched during January this year, namely a bilingual online course which enables staff to undertake a health and safety assessments at their desk.

3.3 Complaints

No complaints relating to the Operational Standards were received during the reporting period.

3.4 Welsh language skills

March 2020

  Reading Speaking Understanding Writing
0 37.9% (2155) 46.2% (2626) 41.3% (2347) 52.6% (2985)
1 24.8% (1408) 21.7% (1230) 20.1% (1139) 17.7% (1005)
2 7.9% (451) 4.9% (280) 10.0% (568) 10.0% (568)
3 5.8% (331) 3.2% (184) 3.6% (203) 5.5% (312)
4 5.6% (318) 5.0% (285) 5.3% (299) 5.8% (331)
5 12.9% (730) 14.0% (793) 14.8% (842) 7.9% (450)
X 5.0% (286) 4.9% (281) 4.9% (281) 5.2% (296)

March 2019

  Reading Speaking Understanding Writing
0 38.6% (2145) 46.6% (2588) 42.0% (2333) 52.9% (2942)
1 24.3% (1349) 21.4% (1189) 19.8% (1098) 17.5% (972)
2 8.0% (446) 4.9% (271) 10.0% (553) 5.4% (301)
3 5.8% (321) 3.4% (190) 3.5% (194) 5.5% (305)
4 5.7% (315) 5.0% (279) 5.3% (295) 5.9% (329)
5 12.8% (714) 13.9% (774) 14.8% (824) 7.8% (433)
X 4.8% (267) 4.8% (266) 4.7% (260) 4.9% (275)

3.5 Welsh language training data 2019 to 2020

Weekly classes

We received 134 applications to attend Welsh language weekly classes for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Weekly lessons data

  Total number registered Entry Foundation Intermediate Advanced Proficiency
Aberystwyth 21 7 7 5 2 X
Bangor 3 3 X X X X
Cardiff* 89 34 16 16 20 3
Total number of applicants 113 44 23 21 22 3

*Cardiff University is also introducing a dedicated 1-1 entry level course for a deaf member of staff. This course is included in the figure above.

Residential courses

12 members of staff attended residential courses during the period.

Work Welsh online courses

Course Registered Completed
Croeso / Welcome: Part 1 57 11
Croeso / Welcome: Part 2 8 3
Croeso Nôl / Welcome Back: Part 1 10 2
Croeso Nôl / Welcome Back: Part 2 3 2
Gwella Eich Cymraeg / Improving your Welsh: Part 1 16 1
Gwella Eich Cymraeg / Improving your Welsh: Part 2 1 1

Induction sessions

Induction training must be undertaken by all new members of staff. As part of the process, the compliance team provides a language awareness session during the course. During the reporting period:

  • Number of sessions – 19 (280 staff members)
  • Number of Welsh language sessions – 1 (8 members of staff)
  • Induction – priority resourcing (new staff) sessions – 2 (16 members of staff)

Other Welsh medium courses

  • Number of health and safety well-being courses – 21 (170 staff members)
  • Number of Welsh health and safety well-being courses – 1 (4 members of staff)

Other online courses

Awareness of the Welsh language e-learning (through the medium of English) – 44 members of staff completed

Awareness of the Welsh language e-learning (through the medium of Welsh) – 7 members of staff completed

Welsh language Network

A total of 150 Welsh Government employees are members of our newly launched internal Welsh language network on our intranet pages. The purpose of the network is to provide space on our Learning Lab pages (which are staff training pages on the intranet) so that staff can practice and improve their confidence by having conversations with others. It is also a place to share information about Welsh-medium courses, to share good practice and our learners’ thoughts. Learners and fluent speakers have been sharing their experiences of learning, their favourite Welsh words, sharing stories about the Welsh language from the media, and sharing information about Welsh events outside work. We will work with the Corporate Learning and Development Team over the next year to develop the forum and increase the number of members.

3.6 Number of new and vacant advertised posts categorised as posts requiring:

  1. Essential Welsh language skills
  2. Welsh language skills to be learnt when appointed
  3. Welsh language skills desirable
  4. Welsh language skills are not necessary
Category Advertised internally Advertised externally
Essential 23 23
Learnt on appointment 1 0
Desirable 48 86
Not necessary 662 83
Total 734 192