A report of a statutory investigation held by the Welsh Language Board has been released today.
The Welsh Language Board received complaints which alleged that Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council failed to provide bilingual publicity material, bilingual written communication, simultaneous translation in meetings between Council officers and members of the public, and bilingual leaflets regarding civil parking enforcement.
In accordance with Section 17 of the Welsh Language Act 1993 the Welsh Language Board held a statutory investigation into the allegations.
During the process of conducting the investigation the Welsh Language Board was abolished under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, and the responsibility for holding statutory investigations into the operation of Welsh language schemes was transferred to the newly established Welsh Language Commissioner.
The investigation concluded that the Council had failed to comply with its Language Scheme in four out of the five areas investigated, namely Written communication, Meetings with customers, Publishing and printing materials, Forms and explanatory material.
The report includes a series of recommendations, which will enable the Council to resolve the situation and comply with its Scheme in the future:
- appoint a senior officer and committee to be responsible for the Welsh language, and establish a procedure to ensure the implementation of its Welsh Language Scheme
- ensure appropriate procedures are in place for publishing bilingual written material and ensure that staff are aware of these procedures
- obtain detailed information about the Council's current ability to provide bilingual services, by identifying the Welsh language skill levels of its staff and by preparing a Linguistic Skills Strategy - which will provide for, amongst other things, language training
- prepare a robust plan, with a detailed and clear timetable, for developing and maintaining a bilingual website and ensure that the Council has a clear policy on the use of Welsh on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and so on
The officers of the Welsh Language Commissioner will monitor the Council’s implementation of the recommendations.
Notes to editors
The Welsh Language Board was abolished on 31 March 2012.
For more information, please contact Meinir Jones 029 2087 7564 or 07977 219395