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Introduction

The Welsh Government is pleased to publish its fifth annual report on its implementation of the Welsh Language Standards since the standards came into force in March 2016. The Welsh Government is continuing to make good progress in complying with the requirements and ensuring that people can engage with us in Welsh or in English. Welsh Ministers’ compliance with the standards is one part of a wider language planning strategy which will assist the government to meet its 2050 goals; the first aims to increase the number of Welsh speakers in Wales to 1 million and to substantially increase day to day use of the language across the nation, while the second relates to the internal working practices of the government as we aim to become a truly bilingual organisation.

Much of our focus over the past year has been on the response to the coronavirus pandemic and during this time the need to respond to a public health emergency has meant the Welsh Government has had to work very differently. The need to take decisions to protect the people of Wales quickly and to keep the public well informed has been foremost in our minds. Communicating in Welsh has played an important part in this process as during worrying and uncertain times it has been more important than ever to communicate with the public in their language of choice. 

There has been tremendous pressure on ministers and officials as a result of the pandemic. We have continued to operate bilingually although this has been challenging at times. However given the urgency and importance of sharing vital public health messages that have affected all of our lives, sometimes as soon as decisions have been made, we have not always been able to publish information simultaneously in both languages. However, we have adapted our ways of working quickly to respond to the extraordinary circumstances, for example through better use of technology, to ensure that we continue to provide high quality bilingual services to the people of Wales. We have also sought to ensure that the Welsh language continues to be encouraged and used despite unprecedented changes to our working practices caused by the need to work from home in most cases.

1. Compliance with Service Delivery Standards

1.1 General

The Service Delivery Standards relate to the Welsh Government’s communication and interaction with the public. Our aims are to ensure that the people of Wales can engage with their Government in their language of choice at all times, and that we provide high-quality bilingual services on every occasion.

We continue to operate through a network of bilingual service co-ordinators, made up of representatives from across all parts of the organisation.

The co-ordinators ensure that their colleagues are aware of issues that arise in 2 main areas:

  • Welsh Language Standards compliance issues, led by the Welsh Language Standards Team
  • Cymraeg 2050 policy and mainstreaming language issues, led by the Welsh Language Division.

The co-ordinators support Welsh Government departments by providing advice and guidance to colleagues, which, in turn, ensures that the organisation complies with the Standards and that the Cymraeg 2050 policy is reflected in all areas of the Welsh Government's work.

The network provides a forum for discussion on good practice and tackling any obstacles that arise. It also provides assurance that the standards are being considered and complied with across the organisation.

1.2 Complaints

We received 26 complaints relating to Service Delivery Standards during the reporting period. 7 of these complaints were directly related to the response to the coronavirus pandemic. No complaints were received directly from members of the public. Of the 26 complaints received from the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office, 12 investigations have been terminated, with the remainder ongoing.

1.3 Use of our Welsh language services

Websites

  Total English Total Welsh
Page views 33,943,906 651,519
Document downloads 1,816,396 37,894

NB:

  • From 4 June 2020 onwards, the cookies default for use of Google Analytics have been set to “off”. Therefore, after that date, only users who accepted those cookies are counted.
  • The figures should not be taken as 100% accurate and should only be used as an indication. Google applies sampling to its free analytics product.
  • The above figures are external traffic only (i.e. excluding traffic from WG users).

Ministerial and official correspondence

Ministers' private offices received 41,037 items of correspondence during the reporting period, of which 970 (2.36%) were received in Welsh. This compares to 671 pieces of correspondence received in Welsh (4.6%) in 2019-2020.

Total number of Welsh language phone calls received by the Shared Service Helpdesk (Internal & External)

  Helpdesk Internal (calls received from Welsh Government staff) Helpdesk External (calls received from outside the Welsh Government) Totals combined
Welsh line calls 136 (4.9%) 1520 (4.3%) 1656 (4.3%)
English line calls 2631 (95.1%) 33988 (95.7%) 36619 (95.7%)
Combined total 2767 35508 38275

 

2. Compliance with the Policy Making Standards

2.1 General

‘Cymraeg 2050: A million speakers’ is the Welsh Government's strategy for promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language. Cymraeg 2050 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act both state that the Welsh language is a strategic priority for the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government's vision is to see the Welsh language thrive, with an increase in the number of people who speak and use the language in their everyday lives.

The policy making standards require the Welsh Government to:

  • consider the effects or impacts of our policy decisions on the Welsh language (both positive and negative)
  • consider how to increase positive effects, mitigate or reduce adverse effects and take all opportunities to promote the use of Welsh
  • seek views on the effects on the Welsh language when engaging or consulting and to seek the view of Welsh speakers and users of the language.

A new integrated impact assessment framework was introduced in 2018 to consider the effects of policy decisions on opportunities to use the Welsh language and to the principle that the Welsh language should not be treated less favourably than English. The purpose of the framework is to provide advice to staff on giving appropriate consideration to a range of subjects, including the Welsh language, when making policy decisions. The Welsh language impact assessment is one of the statutory, mandatory assessments that officials must complete when developing, reviewing or revising policies.

The aim is to develop policies of the highest possible quality which in turn make a difference to the citizens of Wales. The framework fits closely with the Cymraeg 2050 objectives, and seeks to ensure that its objectives are mainstreamed within Ministerial policy decisions. In order to help staff use the new framework, a comprehensive guide is also provided for staff along with a data handbook on the Welsh language in Wales.

The Welsh Government’s standard consultation templates ensure that we receive respondents' comments on the effects of our policy decisions on the Welsh language. Similarly, standard procurement templates ensure that the standards are an important consideration when contracting third party services. Guidance has been developed for staff on compliance with requirements during consultation exercises, contracting services, grant funding and research commissioning.

2.2 Complaints

2 complaints from the Welsh Language Commissioner relating to the policy making standards were received during the reporting period. The investigations are ongoing.

3. Compliance with the Operational Standards

3.1 Developing a policy on the internal use of Welsh

In April 2020, ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’, the Welsh Government’s internal strategy for the use of Welsh within the organisation was published. The Welsh Government's vision in the strategy is to become a truly bilingual organisation by 2050, meaning that Welsh and English will be used naturally and interchangeably as the Government’s working languages. To achieve this, our intention is that all Welsh Government staff will be able to understand the Welsh language, at least, by 2050.

The strategy was determined by considering the political direction and legal framework already in place. We are aware that the use of Welsh in the workplace gives more purpose and relevance to the language, and this is particularly true for those learning Welsh or who are considering whether to send their children to Welsh medium education. By adopting a policy that highlights the value of the Welsh language in the workplace, it is intended that more children and young people (in particular) will appreciate that the ability to speak Welsh is a useful skill, now and in the future.

A copy of the strategy can be found here: Cymraeg. It belongs to us all

We also know that setting an objective and vision for the Welsh language in the Welsh Government may influence other parts of the public sector in Wales. This strategy was launched in the early weeks of the pandemic, in April 2020. As it has been a very worrying and uncertain time, it has not been appropriate to draw too much attention to the strategy in public. In time however, we want to share the strategy more widely in order to show leadership, and the intention is to inspire other organisations in setting their strategic direction of promoting the use of the language.

Implementation of the Strategy and initial objective 2020 to 2025

We are aware that the steps taken to increase the use of Welsh must be reasonable and proportionate. Therefore, becoming a bilingual organisation will mean a gradual change. With this in mind, the strategy is based on the following principles:

  • Making a long-term commitment and leading the way:
    change will be incremental and will happen over time, but we intend to lead by example in the way we promote use of the language in the workplace.
  • Investing in staff and providing opportunities to learn Welsh and develop language skills:
    it is crucial that effective and convenient training is provided, with people given both time and motivation to continuously improve their Welsh language skills.
  • Remaining an open, inclusive and diverse organisation:
    everyone has the potential to be a Welsh speaker and this strategy does not conflict with our commitment to being open, inclusive and diverse – although Welsh language skills will progressively be needed for more posts, developing a bilingual workforce does not mean (or imply) those skills being a universal pre-requisite for joining the Welsh Government. 
  • Continuously reviewing our ways of working to facilitate the increased use of Welsh:
    when we introduce new internal policies and initiatives we will review the extent to which they provide further opportunities for staff to use Welsh in their day-to-day work.

 As well as setting a long term goal for 2050, we are also setting a shorter-term objective for the period up to 2025: during the first 5 years, our objective is to see the Welsh Government become an exemplar organisation in its internal use of the language when assessed against comparable organisations in the Welsh public sector. The shorter term objective will be reviewed in 2025, and a new objective and associated actions will be set for the 5-year follow-up period – a process that will continue until the 2050 goal is reached.

10 actions have been set out in the strategy, which will help us meet the objective of becoming an exemplar organisation over the next 5 years. These actions are based on the following themes: leadership, learning, recruitment and technology.

Progress on the implementation of the Strategy during the first year

Despite the difficult circumstances this year, progress has been made in implementing the strategy:

Leadership

Our induction programme for the Senior Civil Service has been revamped to include a new session on the Welsh language, which includes a discussion on how they senior officials lead their teams by demonstrating exemplar behaviour in promoting the language. This includes information about their role in mainstreaming the Welsh language in the development of policies and legislation, and supporting their staff to develop, refine and exercise their Welsh language skills at work. In addition, the Permanent Secretary has provided the Senior Civil Service with briefing on the strategy setting out her expectations of their leadership and the Welsh language.

Learning

One of the successes of the recent transition to virtual working within the Welsh Government, is the seamless way our training moved online, and the opportunities that that has offered. This is also true of our Welsh language learning offer. A pilot of the "Say Something in Welsh" programme was held for 60 brand new learners, and there has been a 44% increase in the number of staff registering for weekly Welsh language learning courses. The mentoring programme for learners was revamped, to ensure that all learners in the Welsh Government had support and an opportunity to practice their skills, and a consultant tutor was employed for 6 months to offer tailored training to staff and to make recommendations on the learning offer. New courses have been developed to prepare the ground for introducing courtesy Welsh as a skill for all: a pronunciation course and a new language awareness course. A new course has also been developed in conjunction with Academi Wales for senior public sector leaders in Wales: 'Leading in a Bilingual Country'. There is more information and data on the Welsh language learning programme below.

Recruitment

A significant change is underway to the way posts are advertised in the Welsh Government. We will no longer advertise a vacancy or a new post without the Welsh language being expressed to be desirable, essential or to be taught on the post. This means that a "Welsh language skills are not required for this post" designation is to be removed from our public appointment recruitment and appointment system. Instead, in appointing – as a minimum - we will emphasise the value of Welsh language skills for working in Government, regardless of the type of post.

Technology

Working virtually means working in a different way and establishing new practices. We are preparing for the implementation of a toolkit developed by the “ARFer” project team at Bangor University within the organisation. The programme aims to change the language habits of colleagues, with Welsh speakers and learners pledging to use more Welsh in the workplace. There are also plans to implement a Welsh language technology delivery project by default to the organisation's Welsh speakers as part of our Welsh Language Technology Action Plan.

3.2 Complaints

No complaints relating to the Operational Standards were received during the reporting period.

4. Welsh language skills data

March 2021

  Reading Speaking Understanding Writing
0 37.7% (2188) 46.0% (2670) 41.1% (2384) 52.2% (3026)
1 25.0% (1451) 21.8% (1266) 20.2% (1174) 18.1% (1052)
2 8.1% (470) 5.1% (295) 10.0% (579) 5.3% (307)
3 5.8% (335) 3.2% (188) 3.7% (188) 5.6% (322)
4 5.5% (320) 5.0% (289) 5.3% (307) 5.6% (326)
5 12.7% (739) 13.8% (799) 14.6% (849) 7.9% (461)
X 5.1% (298) 5.1% (294) 5.1% (293) 5.3% (307)

March 2020

  Reading Speaking Understanding Writing
0 37.9% (2155) 46.2% (2626) 41.3% (2347) 52.6% (2985)
1 24.8% (1408) 21.7% (1230) 20.1% (1139) 17.7% (1005)
2 7.9% (451) 4.9% (280) 10.0% (568) 10.0% (568)
3 5.8% (331) 3.2% (184) 3.6% (203) 5.5% (312)
4 5.6% (318) 5.0% (285) 5.3% (299) 5.8% (331)
5 12.9% (730) 14.0% (793) 14.8% (842) 7.9% (450)
X 5.0% (286) 4.9% (281) 4.9% (281) 5.2% (296)

5. Welsh language training data

In late 2020 we appointed a Welsh language tutor as a consultant, to design a long-term, structured Welsh language training plan to support the initial five year targets of the ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’ strategy, and to initiate progress on meeting our longer term bilingual vision.

A key requirement is to develop a continual learning strategy to mainstream use of the language across the organisation and enable learners to use the language in their everyday role in the workplace. The strategy should:

  • Recommend a wide ranging package of training activities across all levels of ability that are designed to meet our objectives.
  • Consider how the training can contribute to wider organisational culture change regarding the Welsh language.
  • Include an implementation plan with timeline.
  • Present a business case for the proposed training activities including a cost-benefit analysis of each of the recommendations.

The learning strategy is expected to be delivered by June 2021.

Weekly classes

We received 214 applications to attend Welsh language weekly classes for the 2020-21 academic year, an increase of 44% on last year’s applications.

Weekly lessons data 2020 to 2021

  Total number of Welsh Government staff registered Entry Foundation Intermediate Advanced Proficiency
Aberystwyth 34 13 13 3 4 1
Bangor 14 7 2 0 4 1
Cardiff 163 69 44 24 23 3
Total number of applicants 211 89 59 27 31 5
Enrolled weekly classes September 2020 Total Entry Foundation Intermediate Advanced Proficiency
Enrolled 211 89 59 27 31 5
Cancelled 56 22 19 9 5 0
Currently still learning 154 67 40 18 26 5

Work Welsh online courses provided by the National Centre for Learning Welsh (Data last updated 13/04/21)

Course Registered Completed
Croeso / Welcome: Part 1 56 11
Croeso / Welcome: Part 2 19 6
Croeso Nôl / Welcome Back: Part 1 14 2
Croeso Nôl / Welcome Back: Part 2 5 1
Gwella Eich Cymraeg / Improving your Welsh: Part 1 8 0
Gwella Eich Cymraeg / Improving your Welsh: Part 2 1 0
Healthcare Sector: Part 1 3 0
Healthcare Sector: Part 2 1 0
Retail Sector: Part 1 5 4
Retail Sector: Part 2 4 4
Teachers: Part 1 3 0
Teachers: Part 2 1 0
Tourism Sector: Part 1 25 14
Tourism Sector: Part 2 7 4

Work Welsh self study course provided by the National Centre for Learning Welsh (data last updated 22/04/21)

    Number of Welsh Government learners (%)
    Started Completed
Uned 1 / Unit 1 1.1 87 (88%) 75 (76%)
1.2 57 (58%) 57 (58%)
1.3 53 (54%) 53 (54%)
Uned 2 / Unit 2 2.1 72 (73%) 66 (67%)
2.2 47 (47%) 47 (47%)
Uned 3 / Unit 3 3.1 66 (67%) 62 (63%)
3.2 34 (34%) 34 (34%)
3.3 19 (19%) 19 (19%)
Uned 4 / Unit 4 4.1 56 (57%) 50 (51%)
4.2 23 (23%) 23 (23%)
4.3 23 (23%) 23 (23%)
Uned 5 / Unit 5 5.1 44 (44%) 35 (35%)
5.2 14 (14%) 14 (14%)
Uned 6 / Unit 6 6.1 26 (26%) 16 (16%)
6.2 7 (7%) 7 (7%)
6.3 8 (8%) 8 (8%)
Uned 7 / Unit 7 7.1 5 (5%) 0 (0%)
7.2 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
7.3 0 (0%) 0 (0%)

Twitter in Welsh course

A practical 2½ hour Twitter workshop was held by Dr Llion Jones, of Canolfan Bedwyr in Bangor University for staff working in external communications in March 2021. The workshop concentrated on how to write clearly and concisely in Welsh for social media platforms such as Twitter. This session was offered to a closed cohort of Welsh speaking staff in communication roles to help increase their confidence in using the Welsh language online.

Bespoke Gloywi Iaith course

This course, aimed at to staff who are proficient in the Welsh language but wanted to improve their skills and/or confidence, was divided into 1½ hour sessions run over 8 weeks from February 2021. The sessions were run by our contracted Welsh language tutor-consultant, with activities and individual feedback. This course was initially offered to a closed cohort of staff at level 4 and 5 Welsh language skills who work through the medium of Welsh on a day to day basis, but our aim is to include this course in our standard offer to all staff following receipt of feedback from the pilot.

Induction sessions

Welsh language induction training must be undertaken by all new members of staff. As part of the process a Welsh language awareness session is included in the course. During the reporting period 18 sessions were held for a total of 294 members of staff.

The session concentrates on the Welsh Government’s vision for the language, both our aim of seeing the language used day to day within the organisation, as well as our objective of seeing one million speakers by 2050. The session also covers our duties to provide services and information for the public bilingually, to mainstream the Welsh language through all our policy making, and the opportunities to improve or develop Welsh language skills at work.

The sessions have now moved online since the start of the pandemic. During this challenging time, we have given extra consideration to how we can help staff integrate into their new role and the wider organisation and continue to have opportunities to use their skills. A new induction pack has been developed with an introduction to the Welsh language included. In the ‘Preparing for your first day’ section the pack notes:

Welsh and English are the working languages of the Welsh Government. We want to see the Welsh language thrive both in the workplace and in the communities we serve.

We have a statutory requirement to provide services for the public and our staff through the medium of Welsh, which you will find out more about this once you start.

Once you start you will also learn about opportunities available to start learning Welsh in the workplace, or the opportunities we can offer you to develop your skills.

Induction sessions for the Senior Civil Service

For the first time, specific Welsh language induction sessions have also been held for the new cohort of senior civil servants recruited to the Welsh Government during the period. The sessions have concentrated on:

Leadership

We expect our leaders to promote the use of the language within their teams, whether they are a Welsh speaker or not.

Learning

Our leaders must consider the language in workforce planning, when considering requests for learning, and when recruiting.

Mainstreaming

Our senior leaders must ensure that our long term goals for the language are taken into account when we’re developing policies, services and looking at how we work as an organisation.

Other courses delivered through the medium of Welsh

During the reporting period:

  • Total number of 'ICT' sessions held for staff – 217 (4,266 members of staff)*
  • Number of Welsh language 'ICT' sessions – 21 (323 members of staff)*
  • Total number of 'Working remotely and staying connected' sessions – 9 (70 members of staff)
  • Number of Welsh language 'Working remotely and staying connected' sessions – 1 (7 members of staff)

Welsh language ICT courses we’re offered and facilitated for the first time during the reporting period to ensure staff were familiar with the Microsoft Teams application and other virtual working tools. All courses were well attended by staff and feedback was very positive. Following the success of these courses they will be added to our permanent offer in our learning programme for staff.

Welsh Language Awareness courses: launched in October/November 2020

Kick off Cymraeg

A pilot virtual session has allowed participants to explore the Welsh language and the Welsh Government's strategy in relation to its internal use – ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’. The session has also provided an opportunity for the tutor to ask searching questions and discuss participants’ thoughts, feelings and individual experiences regarding Cymraeg. 

Following the successful pilot, the course will now be offered as a routine part of our Welsh language course provision.  

  • Number of sessions – 4 (50 members of staff)

Welsh pronunciation

An interactive and practical 1.5-hour pilot session has given participants a chance to understand how to pronounce Welsh and to practice key words and phrases, people’s names and place-names in an encouraging and supportive environment. The course has developed participants’ confidence in pronouncing and using Welsh words and phrases, enabling them to set an example in terms of giving it a go and learning collectively.

Following a thorough and successful evaluation, the course is now part of the Programme for Learning and is available to all Welsh Government staff.

  • Number of sessions – 5 (58 members of staff)

The Welsh language Network (Rhwydwaith Cymraeg)

A total of 244 Welsh Government employees are members of our internal Welsh language network on our Learning Lab. This is an increase of 94 members since last year.

The aim of this network is to provide space on our Learning Lab (the staff Learning and Development platform) for staff learning/speaking Welsh to practice and improve their confidence by having conversations and sharing the latest news and information regarding training, opportunities, media etc. with others

All new learners and employees are encouraged to join the network.

Say Something in Welsh

A 6 month Say Something in Welsh course was undertaken by 59 members of staff during 2020-2021. Following a detailed evaluation, which included positive feedback from staff who participated in the course, the programme will now become a permanent part of the suite of available learning resources for Welsh Government staff.

The mentoring programme for Learners

Our Welsh mentor programme was revamped to reflect the increase in applicants for training during the reporting period. The programme buddies up colleagues learning Welsh with confident Welsh speakers so the learner has a familiar, consistent person with whom to practice speaking Welsh. With the launch of ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’, it has been more important than ever to support colleagues in their Welsh language training.

Our mentoring pack provides information to staff on becoming a Welsh language mentor, including:

  • arrangements for the scheme such as matching with a learner
  • practical tips and hints for hosting a successful mentoring relationship
  • benefits for mentors and the learners.

We also published a short film highlighting a current successful relationship between a mentor and a mentee in which they discuss their experiences of the programme, and the benefits to both the mentor and mentee.

6. Recruitment data

Number of new and vacant advertised posts categorised as posts requiring:

  1. Essential Welsh language skills
  2. Welsh language skills to be learnt when appointed
  3. Welsh language skills desirable
  4. Welsh language skills are not necessary

during 2020-2021 are as follows:

Category Advertised internally Advertised externally
Essential 2 20
Learnt on appointment 0 3
Desirable 4 64
Not necessary 28 25
Total 34 112

Public Appointments: Welsh Language skills assessments

Additionally, all Welsh Government public appointments are subject to a Welsh language skills assessment. During the reporting period 39 public appointments skills assessments were undertaken. Of those 39 assessments, 14 were categorised as Essential and 25 as Desirable.

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