Although public organisations have generally performed better when offering Welsh language services in 2019-20, there is still room for some to improve, according to Welsh Language Commissioner, Aled Roberts.
The Commissioner published a report this week looking at the performance of public organisations and the Welsh language. The report shows that performance has improved in most services again in 2019-2020 but there are still some aspects that are of concern to the Commissioner.
He said, "There is a risk that a gap is growing between the organisations that are performing well and those that are not, and every organisation needs to take their responsibilities seriously.
"It is four years since the first organisations started operating the Welsh language standards. I would therefore expect every organisation to meet the requirements every time.
“There are some organisations that are performing very well but with others, there are key services, such as telephone and reception, where performance is low and has not increased in recent years. These are the services that organisations need to invest in Welsh speaking staff.”
The report showed that 92% of letters or e-mails in Welsh received a reply in Welsh, that automatic telephone options were available in Welsh 90% of the time and that forms were fully available in Welsh 78% of the time.
However, only 46% of reception visits received a Welsh language service, and organisations were able to deal with only 55% of telephone calls in Welsh and provide a complete answer in Welsh.
Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts added, “Every public organisation should be considering setting up a team or appointing an officer with responsibility for the Welsh language, increasing the number of staff who can speak Welsh and offering Welsh language services in a way that makes the use of Welsh the most natural option. In some circumstances, for example sensitive well-being meetings, I want organisations to consider offering a Welsh language service by default.
“I want to take it as a given that basic services are always available in Welsh. We can then focus on other duties that make a difference at a strategic level. Matters such as policy decisions; ensuring that organisations consider the impact of every decision on the Welsh language; and implementing strong 5 year strategies to promote the Welsh language.”
The Commissioner will now meet with the organisations individually to discuss their performance and shortcomings. He will also discuss what needs to happen in order to resolve any issues and seek to close the gap between the organisations that are compliant and those who are not performing so well.
Note to Editor
- This is the sixth assurance report published by the Commissioner. A copy of the previous ones can be found here
- There are 122 organisations operating the Welsh language standards. More details on the Welsh language standards and who has to comply can be found here
- This assurance report reports on the period between April 2019 - March 2020.
- It does not look at the performance of organisations during the Covid-19 health crisis. Further work will be undertaken by the Commissioner's office assessing the impact of the health crisis on Welsh language services.