Today the Welsh Language Commissioner received a long and detailed letter from the Minister with responsibility for the Welsh language, Leighton Andrews AM, responding to a letter presented to him on 28 November 2012 introducing a set of draft standards in relation to the Welsh language.
In May 2012 the Commissioner published a body of draft standards, and consulted widely on their contents for a three month period. The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 did not require that the Commissioner held this consultation prior to submitting them to the Welsh Ministers. Nevertheless, bearing in mind the importance of what needs to be done in terms of promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language, the Commissioner thought it was important to consult with a new community of stakeholders. During this time the Commissioner held nine public meetings, which were attended by over 350 people. The Commissioner received 261 written responses to the consultation, and those responses came from every county in Wales as well as from all the public, private and third. Following the consultation, the Commissioner revised the draft standards and presented them to Welsh Ministers.
In his letter the Minister acknowledges that the consultation was useful and helpful, but that there is further work to do before turning the draft standards into statutory instruments. According to the Measure, only Welsh Ministers, after a debate on the floor of the Senedd, can make statutory standards.
The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said:
“The Minister’s officials and my officials will now work together in order to develop a set of standards which will ensure that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language in Wales. I welcome the Minister’s commitment to work towards the target of imposing standards before the end of 2014, and making them specifically applicable to bodies, as well as his desire to work with my office to realize this.”