Leighton Andrews, Minister for Public Services
Today I am establishing a Working Group on the Welsh Language in Local Government Administration and Economic Development. The Group will consider issues raised in relation to the Welsh language and local government reform during the passage of the Local Government (Wales) Act 2015. These issues include making sure that in the process of merging local authorities:
- we retain and share good practice in the use of Welsh as the language of administration within councils
- we take stock and identify good practice in local government which can help Welsh speaking communities flourish. This is particularly around the role of local government in supporting the Welsh language within the fabric of the community through its economic development functions.
I have asked Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM to chair the Working Group. It will comprise up to 6 additional members whose names I will announce in the near future. The remit of the Group is to identify good practice in the areas identified and to make practical recommendations which we can take forward through the programme of local government reform. The recommendations of the Group will inform the drafting of statutory guidance for Transition Committees and may lead to other legislative opportunities.
Given the timetable for reform, it is essential the Group works at pace in order to deliver its final recommendations by the end of May 2016 so it can have maximum impact on the reform programme. It will be for the next Welsh Government elected in May 2016 to take forward the recommendations of the Working Group within the framework of its proposals for Local Government reform.