The Welsh Government has commissioned the Office for National Statistics to carry out a Welsh Language Use Survey from July 2019 to March 2021.

This aim of this survey is to find out how Welsh speakers use the language in order to monitor change over time and inform policy decisions to support the language.

This survey is a self-completion questionnaire provided to adults (aged 16 +) and children (aged 3 to 15) who are identified as being able to speak Welsh in the National Survey for Wales.

The Welsh Language Use Survey contains questions about, respondents’ ability in Welsh, how and where they learnt to speak Welsh, their use of the language as well as their views about the language.

It will be possible to link the information collected by the respondent for the National Survey for Wales to the information provided by members of the household who complete the Welsh Language Use Survey.

For information about how respondents are selected to take part in the National Survey for Wales, what personal information is collected by the National Survey and how it is held and processed please see the National Survey for Wales's privacy notice.

Participation is completely voluntary. However, the information collected is important to help monitor and develop policies to support the Welsh language.

The Welsh Government is the data controller for the survey. The Welsh Government will receive a copy of the data collected by the Welsh Language Use Survey. This data will be analysed and summarised in a report published on the Welsh Government website. The anonymised data will also be made available for other researchers to analyse.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact the Welsh Government:

Telephone: 0300 025 6682
Email: welshlanguagedata@gov.wales

What personal data do we hold and where do we get this information?

Personal data is defined under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as “any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified by reference to an identifier”.

The Welsh Language Use Survey questionnaire itself does not collect any personal data. However, as the participants for the Welsh Language Use Survey are identified in the National Survey for Wales, it is possible to obtain personal data about the respondents from the National Survey for Wales. Personal data that can directly identify individuals (such as: name, address, date of birth, email address or telephone numbers) will be kept by Welsh Government in a separate secure database in a password protected folder, where only a limited number of individuals could access. This personal data will not be linked to the Welsh Language Use Survey responses as part of normal data analysis but could potentially be linked in order to be able to contact individuals for follow up research. The contact details will also be used by ONS to help administer the survey (i.e. contacting potential respondents to remind them to respond to the survey).

If personal data is provided in open ended question responses, we do not try and identify you from, or link your identity to, the responses you provide. The responses to the survey questions will be anonymised.

The Office for National Statistics will use contact details obtained through the National Survey for Wales to contact respondents who have not returned their
questionnaires to remind them to do so.

Your participation is voluntary and if you do not wish to take part or be sent reminders then please contact us on 0300 025 6682 or
welshlanguagedata@gov.wales and your details will be removed. The ONS will only use your postal address and telephone number for the purposes of
administering this survey.

Your answers to the survey will be linked anonymously to other data sources as part of the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank for non-commercial research purposes only, unless you ask for this linkage to not take place (see the explanatory note).

Anonymised survey data is also made available via the UK Data Service for research projects carried out by accredited researchers such as academics and NHS researchers. The anonymised survey data is held securely and is only ever used for non-commercial research purposes. We do not share or use your information for commercial or marketing purposes.

If you raise a query or complaint and provide personal data requesting a response, the researcher will forward the request only to the relevant official and subsequently delete it from the research data.

What is the lawful basis for using your data?

The Welsh Language Use Survey is one of the main ways in which the Welsh Government and other public sector bodies in Wales find out about how people use the Welsh language. The lawful basis for processing information in this data collection exercise is our public task; that is, exercising our official authority to undertake the core role and functions of the Welsh Government.

For example, the information collected is used:

  • to help the Welsh Government and other public sector organisations in Wales understand more about the everyday lives and views of people across Wales
  • to help inform key decisions on local services and government priorities
  • for statistical purposes and for the production of official statistics
  • for research purposes and to understand trends over time. This includes the production of statistical bulletins and research reports and other ongoing analysis.

The survey is being carried out by the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Welsh Government. Your individual participation in the survey is voluntary.

How secure is your personal data?

The survey contractor, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), have access to respondents’ contact details to allow it to carry out the survey. This personal
information is always stored on a secure server, and can only be accessed by a limited number of researchers working on this project.

The ONS has procedures to deal with any suspected data security breaches. If a suspected breach occurs, ONS will report this to the Welsh Government who will notify you and any applicable regulator where we are legally required to do so.

Personal data collected by the National Survey that can directly identify individuals will be kept in a separate database by Welsh Government where only a limited number of people can access. This personal data will not be linked to the Welsh Language Use Survey responses as part of normal data analysis. The Welsh Government makes sure that the survey answers are only retained in a way that does not make you identifiable and are therefore not personal data (for example, by coding and removing any open text responses from the database).

The anonymised survey data is held securely and can only be accessed by a limited number of researchers working on this project. The information will only be used for research purposes.

Your answers to the Welsh Language Use Survey will not be made public in a way that could lead to you or your household being identified. The data is only used for statistical analysis and non-commercial research purposes. We will analyse this data to produce a report that will be published on the Welsh Government website. This report will not include any information that could be used to identify individual participants.

The anonymised survey data will be made available via the UK Data Service. Accredited researchers, such as academics and other public sector bodies in Wales may request access to data not available through the UK Data Service. These requests are scrutinised by the Welsh Government’s Chief Statistician and, if approved, are governed by Data Access Agreements issued by the Welsh Government. These formal agreements set out strict requirements for the processing and safekeeping of personal data.

How long do we keep your personal data?

The survey contractor, the Office for National Statistics will hold personal data during the contract period, and will delete personal data within 1.5 years of providing the final data to the Welsh Government. This includes your contact details.

Names, dates of birth and email addresses, collected by the National Survey are removed within one year after dataset sign-off unless the National Survey
respondent agreed to be re-contacted. Re-contact information is removed within two years from dataset sign-off. Addresses are removed within three years from dataset sign-off. Sign off usually occurs in the May after the end of the survey field work.

The Welsh Government makes sure that any other answers to the survey are only retained in a way that does not make you identifiable and are therefore not personal data (for example, by condensing unusual values into a single category). Any openended responses are coded to ensure that your responses do not make you identifiable. Because non-personal data cannot be linked back to you, Welsh Government retains it indefinitely. That is done to allow for ongoing analysis and to understand trends over time. 

The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) also have access to a part of the personal data for a period of three months, until the data linking with Secure
Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) is complete.

Individual rights

Under GDPR, you have the following rights in relation to the personal information you provide as part of this research, you have the right to:

  • access a copy of your own data
  • require us to rectify inaccuracies in that data
  • to object to or restrict processing (in certain circumstances)
  • for your data to be ‘erased’ (in certain circumstances)
  • to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who is our independent regulator for data protection.

The contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office are:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 745 or 0303 123 1113
Website: Information Commissioner’s Office

Further Information

If you have any further questions about how your survey answers will be used by the Welsh Government or wish to exercise your rights using the General Data Protection Regulation, please contact:

Lisa Walters (Welsh Government)
Telephone: 0300 025 6682
Email: lisa.walters@gov.wales

The Welsh Government’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted at:

Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ
Email: dataprotectionofficer@gov.wales

Explanatory note

The SAIL Databank is a databank of anonymised data about the population of Wales, which is internationally recognised for the robust secure storage and use of anonymised person-based data for research to improve health, well-being and services. Respondents are able to opt out of having their answers linked. For more information on how to do that or on data linking, then please contact us on 0300 025 6682 or welshlanguagedata@gov.wales.