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The Welsh Government is pleased to publish its 6th annual report on its implementation of the Welsh Language Standards since the standards came into force in March 2016. The standards have become embedded in the work of the Welsh Government over the past 6 years, and we continue to strive to ensure that the citizens of Wales can engage with their government confidently in either Welsh or English. The standards are one part of the jigsaw of language planning policy, which will assist the Government to reach its goal of one million speakers by 2050 and an increase in the use of the Welsh language.
We know the link between the language and the workplace is significant, with surveys showing that people in employment are more likely to use the language day-to-day. Emphasising the link between language skills and vocational skills can influence people’s decisions to learn Welsh and parents’ decisions to choose Welsh medium education for their children.
In April 2020 we published a strategy setting out our aim of becoming a bilingual organisation by 2050, ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’. Our goal is for all Welsh Government staff to at least understand Welsh by then, with both Welsh and English used interchangeably as our day-to-day working languages. Over the past year we have made good progress in implementing the strategy, despite the challenging conditions created by the pandemic.
Once again 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.
1. Compliance with Service Delivery Standards
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.
We received 30 complaints relating to Service Delivery Standards from the Welsh Language Commissioner during the reporting period. Of the 30 complaints received from the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office, 9 investigations have been terminated, with 21 ongoing.
Eleven of the complaints were directly related to the response to the coronavirus pandemic and 8 were directly related to Welsh Ministers becoming responsible for the day to day running of the Transport for Wales Rail Network, as Operators of Last Resort, in February 2021.
2 complaints were received directly from members of the public.
1.3 Use of our Welsh language services
|Total English||Total Welsh|
Ministerial and official correspondence
Ministers' private offices received 7,560 items of correspondence during the reporting period, of which 403 (5.33%) were received in Welsh. This compares to 970 pieces of correspondence received in Welsh (2.36%) in 2020 to 2021.
Total number of Welsh language phone calls received by the Shared Service Helpdesk (internal and external)
|Helpdesk Internal (calls received from Welsh Government staff)||Helpdesk External (calls received from outside the Welsh Government)||Totals combined|
|Welsh line calls||44||214||258|
|English line calls||571||5513||6084|
*NB: We are only able to provide figures for April 2021 to June 2021 at the present time. A new telephony system was installed in July 2021 and the reporting module of this system is currently being configured – as a result we have been unable to run our statistics since the installation.
2. Compliance with the Policy Making Standards
‘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.
Welsh Ministers did not receive any complaints relating to the policy making standards during the reporting period.
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 five-year follow-up period – a process that will continue until the 2050 goal is reached.
Ten 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 second year
Despite the difficult circumstances this year, progress has been made in implementing the strategy:
All new entrants to the Senior Civil Service now receive induction sessions on the Welsh language, with our new leaders encouraged to lead by example in their teams in using and promoting the language. This includes supporting staff to develop, refine and use their Welsh language skills at work. We are also concentrating on mainstreaming the language in policy, legislation and funding decisions. The Permanent Secretary has shared his vision with the SCS for seeing the use of the language develop in the Welsh Government, and we will be building on these foundations over the next months with a new bespoke training programme for our new leaders.
Last year, our Learning and Development team set up a new Welsh language learning contract with the National Centre for Learning Welsh. This contract allows us to access a much wider range of Welsh language learning opportunities and to provide bespoke training solutions to staff. We have developed and shared a new Welsh language training prospectus with staff, which sets out the 9 different options now available for our staff to develop their skills (weekly lessons across all learning levels, online training courses, self-directed online training, cwrs Codi Hyder, cwrs Gloywi, Say Something in Welsh, Welsh Pronunciation course, residential courses, and using Welsh on social media). Our number of learners has significantly increased since the programme was revamped; in May 2020 73 learners were following a Welsh language learning programme, by May 2022 that number had increased to 366 learners (more data is provided below). Our mentoring programme is ensuring that all of our learners have opportunities to practice their skills in an informal, friendly context with colleagues.
A significant change is underway to the way posts are advertised in the Welsh Government. In our work to implement ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’ we will no longer advertise a vacancy or a new post without the Welsh language being expressed to be desirable, essential or requiring learning in post. Instead, in appointing we will emphasise the value of Welsh language skills for working in Government, regardless of the nature of the post.
Working virtually means working in a different way and establishing new practices. We are implementing 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. We are also implementing a Welsh language technology delivery project by default to the organisation's Welsh speakers as part of our Welsh Language Technology Action Plan. Working with Microsoft to develop and launch the Teams human interpretation function has been a significant focus of our work in this area over the past year.
Welsh Ministers did not receive any complaints relating to the operational standards during the reporting period.
4. Welsh language skills data
|0||2213 (38.1%)||2726 (47%)||2408 (41.5%)||3089 (53.2%)|
|1||1539 (26.5%)||1337 (23%)||1264 (21.8%)||1117 (19.3%)|
|2||485 (8.4%)||306 (5.3%)||598 (10.3%)||329 (5.7%)|
|3||363 (6.3%)||204 (3.5%)||232 (4%)||331 (5.7%)|
|4||325 (5.6%)||294 (5.1%)||325 (5.6%)||334 (5.8%)|
|5||772 (13.3%)||833 (14.4%)||877 (15.1%)||487 (8.4%)|
|X||302 (5.2%)||299 (5.2%)||295 (5.1%)||312 (5.4%)|
|0||2188 (37.7%)||2670 (46.0%)||2384 (41.1%)||3026 (52.2%)|
|1||1451 (25%)||1266 (21.8%)||1174 (20.2%)||1052 (18.1%)|
|2||470 (8.1%)||295 (5.1%)||579 (10%)||307 (5.3%)|
|3||335 (5.8%)||188 (3.2%)||215 (3.7%)||322 (5.6%)|
|4||320 (5.5%)||289 (5%)||307 (5.3%)||326 (5.6%)|
|5||739 (12.7%)||799 (13.8%)||849 (14.6%)||461 (7.9%)|
|X||298 (5.1%)||294 (5.1%)||293 (5.1%)||307 (5.3%)|
5. Welsh language training data
Weekly lessons data 2021 to 2022
|Enrolled weekly classes September 2021||Total||Entry||Foundation||Intermediate||Advanced||Proficiency|
|Currently still learning||56||22||19||9||5||0|
|Withdrawn since enrolling||154||67||40||18||26||5|
|Withdrawn before enrolling||154||67||40||18||26||5|
|Currently still learning at..||Total|
|WG Class (Cardiff University)||142|
|Online self study (data last updated 28/04/22)||Number of learners|
|Cohort 1 (Nov 21)||73|
|Cohort 2 (Jan 22)||53|
|Cohort 3 (Mar 22)||45|
Work Welsh online courses (data last updated 13/05/22)
Below is a table containing number of WG staff registrations and completions of the Free Online Work Welsh courses.
|Course||No. registered||No. completed 5 units|
|Welcome: Part 1||116||10|
|Welcome: Part 2||37||3|
|Welcome Back: Part 1||20||4|
|Welcome Back: Part 2||9||3|
|Improving your Welsh: Part 1||20||2|
|Improving your Welsh: Part 2||10||1|
|Agriculture: Part 1||4||0|
|Agriculture: Part 2||2||2|
|Retail Sector: Part 1||3||2|
|Retail Sector: Part 2||2||2|
|Emergency Services: Part 1||3||0|
|Social Care: Part 1||2||0|
|Tourism Sector: Part 1||1||1|
|Tourism Sector: Part 2||1||0|
Cwrs Codi Hyder
This course consists of 10-15 weekly 2-hour sessions and is aimed at individuals who have Welsh speaking skills, e.g. grew up in Welsh or received Welsh-medium education, but has either given up the practice of using their Welsh, or has not had the opportunity to do so. These reasons may have led to a lack of confidence in using Welsh, although they may be keen to do so for family, work or social reasons.
|Course||No. of staff completing|
Learning and development (Reporting period May 21 – April 22)
Induction training must be undertaken by all new members of staff.
As part of the process, the compliance team provides a language awareness session during the course. An hour-long session explaining more about the Welsh Government’s vision for the language, the principles of mainstreaming the language, and our duties to comply with the Welsh Language Standards.
- Number of ‘the Welsh Language in the Welsh Government' sessions – 19 (a total of 349 members of staff)
Other courses delivered through the medium of Welsh (May 21-April 22)
|Course title||Total sessions
Please note – figures are estimated due to not having received confirmed attendees*
|Sessions delivered through the medium of Welsh|
|ICT courses||167 (1,800 members of staff)||5 (45 members of staff)|
|An introduction to your Senedd||18 (268 members of staff)||5 (23) members of staff staff)|
Welsh Language Awareness courses
|Course title||Total sessions||Attendees|
|Kick off Cymraeg - This engaging and fun online session allows participants to explore the Welsh Language and the Welsh Government's strategy in relation to its internal use – ‘Cymraeg. It belongs to us all’.||2||26|
|Welsh Pronunciation - This interactive and practical 1.5-hour session gives 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.||3||26|
The Welsh language Network (Rhwydwaith Cymraeg)
A total of 383 Welsh Government employees are members of our internal Welsh language network on our Learning Lab. This is an increase of 139 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.
6. Recruitment data
The number of new and vacant advertised posts categorised as posts requiring:
- Essential Welsh language skills
- Welsh language skills to be learnt when appointed
- Welsh language skills desirable
- Welsh language skills are not necessary
during 2021-2022 are as follows:
|Category||Advertised internally||Advertised externally|
|Learnt on appointment||6||4|
Public Appointments: Welsh Language skills assessments
Additionally, all Welsh Government public appointments are subject to a Welsh language skills assessment. During the reporting period 55 public appointments skills assessments were undertaken. Of those 55 assessments, 13 were categorised as Essential and 42 as Desirable.