“This is a very significant day for the future of the Welsh language,” he said.
“The Welsh Language Commissioner will be critical to delivering the Welsh Government's vision of a thriving and vibrant language. She will be a robust and active champion for the language – and will work with organisations to increase the number of services available in Welsh, providing more opportunities for people to use the language in their day-to-day lives.”
And on the day that a number of responsibilities for the promotion of the Welsh language transfer from the Welsh Language Board to the Welsh Government, Mr Andrews re-iterated his commitment to the future development of the language.
“I am very grateful to the Board for its hard work and innovative contribution over the years. I am determined to build on that work to further develop the language. The task of promoting the use of the language must be owned by all of us.
"Our new extended Welsh Language Division will work creatively and proactively with a large number of partners, to ensure that the Welsh language continues to thrive.”
Under the new arrangements which start today, the Welsh Language Commissioner will:
- focus on the new regulatory system, including developing and setting standards, developing codes of practice and establishing a new enforcement regime, whilst continuing to operate the Welsh language scheme system in the meantime
- monitor the performance of bodies in accordance with the duties imposed on them
- deal with complaints from members of the public about failure to comply with standards
- advise and promote good practice among private and third sector organisations that fall outside the scope of statutory duties under the Welsh Language Measure.
- provide research and a statistical basis to support the Commissioner’s 5-year reports on the position of the Welsh language and conduct inquiries into any matter of interest to the language.
- advise the Welsh Assembly Government and others on language policy and related issues.
- provide independent scrutiny of Welsh Assembly Government policies and respond to consultation documents.
- develop the infrastructure to help others with their delivery of Welsh language services (e.g. in relation to terminology and translation)
- deal with applications in relation to alleged interference with the freedom of individuals to use Welsh with one another.
The Welsh Government through its extended Welsh Language Division will:
- manage the Welsh language grants programme (including grants for the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol and the Mentrau Iaith)
- manage projects in support of the language, including those outlined in its Welsh Language Strategy (e.g. the Tŵf project)
- administer the process of preparing subordinate legislation which will include legislation for language standards recommended by the Commissioner, in accordance with the Welsh Language Measure.
- implement the Welsh Language Strategy.
- implement the Welsh-medium Education Strategy.
- oversee the planning of Welsh-medium education by local authorities.
- administer funding for the Athrawon Bro service, now incorporated in the Welsh in Education Grant, and Mudiad Meithrin.
- represent Wales on international networks and the British-Irish Council’s minority languages workstream.