Agenda item

Agenda item


To receive a report from the Team Leader - Communications & Campaign Management on the Annual Report to the Welsh Language Commissioner (copy enclosed)


The Team Leader – Communications and Campaign Management (TLCCM) gave a presentation on the Annual Report to the Welsh Language Commissioner.


The reports were published on the Denbighshire website every year so that the Welsh language Commissioner could access it and if any concerns were raised they would arrange a meeting.


The report reviewed processes and developments within the council.


One of the team’s successful events was the Eisteddfod y Cyngor, staff from various departments made the event a success. The original plan was to host the Eisteddfod y Cyngor every two years, however due to its success and demand it will be held annually.


The TLCCM explained some of the ongoing projects they had. They had recently provided training for members of staff that could speak welsh but did not feel comfortable writing, the course gave confidence to staff and proved a success.


The Welsh Language Officer (WLO) stated that 22 staff members had signed up to begin Welsh Lessons in September. Activates such as Walking clubs and the Tea and Talk sessions were supported by staff. She did however disclose that she was having problems organising activities for all levels, but current activities were suited to the members of staff.


The TLCCM advised members of one particular thing that the Welsh Language Champions had raised was something that Conwy had already introduced. A setting on emails could be activated to allow users to choose options such as, Welsh Speaker, Learner etc. on their email. He explained that there were many simple technological changes that could be made to promote the use of welsh language.


Members were advised that within the Welsh Language Commissioner report any Welsh language complaints should be reported. The previous report had only 2 official complaints, one being the naming of SC2 and the second was a temporary out of order poster on a parking machine.


He advised members that when complaints were received the team would resolve them and plan to ensure further complaints would not be received. 


Other areas that were reported on were;


Ø  Number of Welsh speakers in the Contact Centre

Ø  Number of staff members receiving Welsh lessons

Ø  Welsh education strategic plan


The TLCCM advised that they receive an annual report on the progress of staff attending the Welsh lessons. With the report they would review whether the course was appropriate for the member of staff or if another course would benefit them more.


To conclude his presentation before members had the opportunity to comment he said that if members were happy then the report would be published on the website.


Councillor Emrys Wynne raised a concern regarding road signs. He explained that there was a problem with external companies using bi-lingual road signs. He acknowledged that it wasn’t a massive problem however complaints did arise due to it.


The TLCCM confirmed that when a problem is reported to them, they would contact the department and ask for the signs to be removed. Currently the team were trying to get a system in place that all translated signs are sent to them for checking


He added that third party contractors must follow the Authority’s Welsh Language Standards.


He highlighted that internally there were some issues also, staff create their own paper sign without realising the Welsh Language Standards apply. However Denbighshire as a whole were very good.  The TLCCM acknowledged that members of staff could have worked in other Local Authorities previously and were not aware of Denbighshire’s Welsh Standards, due to this they had suggested that the Welsh Language Standards be part of the induction process, so that they were aware from the beginning. 


In response to a query regarding support staff within schools, Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts – Lead Member for Education, Children and Young People explained that he had reviewed this already. The county and the teachers decided to spread the budget between the schools to ensure there was someone with the knowledge in the school every day.  He advised members that Denbighshire had the highest Welsh language standards in junior schools in Wales, therefore he felt the statistics reflected how well the current process was working.


Councillor Ann Davies raised an issue regarding A-Level students. She asked how students could be encouraged to stay in Welsh schools to study their A-Levels.


Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts highlighted that Welsh Sixth Form classes were small in numbers, which resulted in schools working together and opening their courses for students from other schools. Unfortunately, he advised that transport had become a problem and that posed risks for sixth form students getting to and from their classes.


Councillor Meirick Lloyd-Davies suggested that the issues of signs and the Welsh language standards be returned to scrutiny for review, as he felt there had been no change since the previous time it was raised. To conclude, he commended the ‘Denbighshire Today’ and the sections in Welsh.


The chair asked fellow members whether they perceived things as getting better, no change or worsening in terms of the Welsh language in Denbighshire.


Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts noted that it had improved. He continued to say that the Welsh Language Standards had made people more aware, the result of it being that phone messages were now bilingual, front line staff spoke welsh. He did however acknowledge that the authority could not provide everything, the individual must be willing to follow the standards.


Councillor Emrys Wynne suggested that during a member of staff’s 6 months probationary period the Welsh Language Standards should be monitored as part of their probationary period.


Councillor Ann Davies felt that there had been no improvements and that more had to be done.


The chair acknowledged that it was incredibly difficult to monitor Welsh language standards especially with the pressure of jobs etc.


RESOLVED: that members agree the contents of the report.


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