Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales and Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
I wish to update Members on progress in relation to the appointment of the members of the Welsh Language Tribunal (“the Tribunal”).
On 12 December I laid before the National Assembly for Wales the Welsh Language Tribunal (Appointment) Regulations 2013 which set out the requirements for appointing the President and other members of the Tribunal. Bilingual copies of the Regulations are attached to this statement.
The Regulations set out the duties placed on the Welsh Ministers in making the appointments. The Welsh Ministers must make appointments on the grounds of merit and the person appointed must be of good character. The Regulations require the Welsh Ministers to have regard to the need to uphold the principles of the independence of the Tribunal and the rule of law when making appointments.
The Welsh Ministers must not appoint a President unless they are satisfied that the person has sufficient knowledge of, and proficiency in, the Welsh language. When appointing the other members of the Tribunal the Welsh Ministers must have regard to the knowledge of, and proficiency in, the Welsh language of the Tribunal members, when taken as a whole.
The Regulations also require the Welsh Ministers to have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of people they appoint as members of the Tribunal.
Today, I have published a Statement of Appointments Policy and Procedure which sets out the detail of the appointments process including the membership of the appointments panel, the assessment process and the post interview consultees for the appointment of the President. Bilingual copies of that statement are attached.
I can announce that the process for appointing the President will start early in the new year with the other members being appointed in mid 2014. This will provide time to establish the Tribunal prior to the Welsh Language Commissioner issuing compliance notices with regard to the first set of Welsh Language Standards that will be relevant to Local Authorities, National Parks and the Welsh Ministers. The Regulations making the first set of standards will be made by the end of November 2014.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.