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Written Statement - The referral to the Welsh Ministers of Ofcom’s draft Welsh Language Scheme

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Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills

I am writing to inform Assembly Members that I have today made my decision with regard to the Welsh Language Board’s referral to Welsh Ministers under section 14(2) of the Welsh Language Act 1993 of Ofcom’s Welsh language scheme.

I have informed Ofcom and the Welsh Language Commissioner that I have exercised the Welsh Ministers’ powers under section 14(5) of the 1993 Act and have decided upon the terms of a scheme which includes a measure ensuring that Ofcom considers the Welsh language when carrying out its functions involving services to the public.  

The measure reads as follows:

We [Ofcom] will give appropriate consideration to the use of the Welsh language in carrying out our functions involving services to the public.

Those services include:

the drawing up and issuing of our Localness Guidelines, and

the carrying out of our licensing functions in a way which seeks to  ensure inclusion in licensed broadcasting of local material, including  material of particular linguistic content and or presentation, where necessary by the imposition of licence conditions.

I have considered this issue very carefully after taking responsibility for the Welsh language when the new Government was formed in May 2011, seeking further information from both Ofcom and the former Welsh Language Board. I am satisfied that Ofcom’s new Welsh Language Scheme with this measure included will be appropriate and fit for purpose.