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Complying with Welsh language standards

The Welsh Language Commissioner is responsible for regulating organizations’ compliance with Welsh language standards. The Commissioner’s Regulatory Framework, which came into effect on 1 April 2016, explains how the Commissioner intends to conduct her work of regulating Welsh language standards from this date forward.

 

Complaints

If your complaint involves an organization that has to adhere to standards the Cmmissioner will look to see whether she has the right to consider he complaint.
Your complaint must be in writing, unless your personal circumstances ean that you cannot do this. You are expected to complain to the Commissioner within 12 months of becoming aware of the problem.
 
What will the Commissioner do after receiving your complaint?
If the Commissioner can consider your complaint, she will contact the organization in question to request further information to validate the complaint. If the Commissioner is satisfied that there is a suspicion that the organization has failed to adhere to a standard, an investigation will be carried out.
 
If the Commissioner decides that an organization has failed to adhere to a standard she may recommend what the organization should do to improve the situation, and in some cases, may impose enforcement action or a civil penalty upon the organization.
 
Appealing or requesting a review of the Commissioner’s decision
If you are dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s response to your complaint it is possible that you have a legal right to appeal or request a review of the decision.
 
The Welsh Language Tribunal is responsible for hearing applications to review the Commissioner’s decisions. The Commissioner will inform you if you have a right to appeal to the Tribunal.
 
 
 
The Welsh Language Commissioner’s Regulatory
 
Framework
 
 
The Welsh Language Commissioner is responsible for regulating organizations’ compliance with their statutory language duties. The Commissioner’s Regulatory Framework, which came into effect on 1 April 2016, explains how the Commissioner intends to conduct her work of regulating Welsh language standards and Welsh language schemes from this date forward.
 
The Commissioner believes that compliance is not achieved through enforcement alone; therefore she will maintain a programme of work which will encourage compliance and help to enable things to happen as they should.
 
Broadly speaking, the Commissioner intends to regulate through a combination of various methods, including using her powers under section 4 of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 (Welsh Language Measure), learning and reporting on the experiences of Welsh language users, (possibly) issuing codes of practice, conducting thematic studies on a variety of standards as well as considering how best to respond to annual reports on Welsh language standards or annual monitoring reports on the implementation of Welsh language schemes.
 
 
Annual reports
 
 
In the context of the Welsh Language Measure and Welsh language standards, standards regulations refer to ‘a body producing an annual report’ which deals with the way in which it has complied with the service delivery, policy making and operational standards.
 
A report of this type must include, for example, the number of complaints received by the body, the number of employees who have Welsh language skills as well as information concerning training courses offered by the body during the financial year in question. Furthermore, regulations refer to a body’s obligation to provide any information the Commissioner may ask for which relates to its compliance with all groups of standards. Lastly, a body must publish an annual report and ensure that it publicises the fact that it has done so.
 
In the context of the 1993 Welsh Language Act, bodies that operate Welsh language schemes are under a statutory duty to prepare and present an annual monitoring report for the attention of the Commissioner which describes how they implement those schemes.
 
Within an annual monitoring report, bodies are expected to demonstrate that they are complying with their language schemes and include information and evidence about the main issues relating to the schemes’ implementation. The Commissioner has produced reporting guidelines for different groups of bodies. A list of all the Commissioner’s responses to annual monitoring reports can be found here.
 
 
 

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