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Sharing ideas to improve the way public organisations use the Welsh language

In August this year, the Welsh Language Commissioner published ‘A Measure of Success’, assurance report showing a real improvement in the way public organisations treat the Welsh language since the introduction of Welsh language standards. To promote further improvement, the Commissioner will hold a seminar for public organisations to share successful practices and to learn from each other.
During the day, various organisations will share successful experiences relating to Welsh language services, increasing opportunities for staff to use Welsh at work, promoting the use of the Welsh language more widely in the community and keeping track of their own performance.

One of the examples which will be showcased is research by Bangor University to try to support staff to speak more Welsh with each other at the University. Lowri Hughes, Head of Policy and Development at Canolfan Bedwyr said: “We were aware that staff who could speak Welsh didn’t always do so at the workplace, and we wanted to understand the situation in order to provide the most effective support possible to them. Initial research with one team showed that little over 25% of the conversations between staff happened through the medium of Welsh. As part of the research, we asked five members of staff to use Welsh with colleagues who could understand them. Observing the effect of the project, we concluded that Welsh was then used in over 60% of conversations. The University will now develop the ARFer programme with the aim to develop a resource that can be use in the workplace by other organisations.”
Another case which will be shared is the work done by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to develop its Welsh language services by training its Welsh speaking staff at its call centre to provide more services through the medium of Welsh.
Tony Curliss, Operational Manager for Customer Relations at Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: "The key to success is to make the most efficient use possible of our limited staff resources. We treat Welsh and English exactly the same, and doing things in Welsh is no more complicated than doing things in English. We get the same level of customer satisfaction to Welsh enquiries as we do to English enquiries."
The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said: “We know that people have more opportunities than ever to use the Welsh language. But, behind every good quality service or programme, a lot of work goes on in the background. By lifting the lid on this work and learning about the experiences of those who have planned their use of Welsh through creative and innovative thinking, I want to see successful practices being shared and transferred. My aim is to show what works, and motivate organisations to follow each other’s example and emulate projects or practices that have succeeded by others, so that the experiences of Welsh speakers continue to improve.”

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