Welsh Language Standards - Welsh Language Commissioner Investigation into failure with WCBC signage
- Meeting of Customers, Performance, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 28th November, 2018 1.30 pm (Item 29.)
To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety
The Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety submitted a report (HCCS/60/18s) to advise Members of concerns raised by the Welsh Language Commissioner in the form of an investigation into failures regarding non-compliant signage and how Wrexham County Borough Council are addressing the concerns.
Presenting the report the Lead Member apologised for the errors that had occurred and assured the Committee that the Council was fully committed to complying with the Welsh Language Standards. He further reported that the Council’s new chief executive had given an assurance to the Welsh Language Commissioner that all Council departments would comply with the requirement and spirit of the Standards.
Expressing concern at the errors that had been made, the Committee considered the report and discussed each enforcement action, referring to the following matters in debate:
- Officers confirmed that the database of signage erected was being developed and assured the Committee that the Council was fully aware of the need to ensure that all signage, both permanent and temporary, complied with the requirements of the Standards.
- Officers reported that appropriate processes were in place in relation to the translation of signage, however improvement was required in respect of the checking procedure. The Committee were advised that all signage was now required to be checked by the Welsh Language team but noted that this team had limited resources.
- Clarification provided in respect of the differences between the requirements of the Welsh Language Scheme established in 1996 and the current Welsh Language Standards.
- Members were asked to provide any examples of incorrect signage to the relevant officer outside of the meeting.
- Reported that new guidance had been made available to staff to raise awareness of the requirements of the Standards in relation to signage. In addition, an action plan had been developed.
- Suggested that the current arrangements for translation with Conwy Council could be reviewed to ensure that it still provided value for money.
- The budgetary implications of non compliance with the Standards.
- Suggestion that Community Councils could be invited to contribute by reporting signs in their areas which are not compliant with the Welsh Language Standards (2016).
- Confirmed that sub-contractors were advised of their requirement to comply with the Standards and all contracts had been updated accordingly.
- Noted that a new Council website was currently under development and this would be complaint with the Standards.
- Noted that the report to the Welsh Language Commissioner would include more information.
- The Welsh Language should be normalised and not just considered as a requirement. The Lead Member assured the Committee that it was the intention for the Welsh Language to be part of the culture of the Council.
- Clarification requested as to the process to be followed if the Welsh Language Commissioner was not satisfied with the Council’s response to its Enforcement Actions, and whether the Commissioner would publish the Council’s response. The Officer agreed to check and to update Members after the meeting.
(i) That the Committee support the work undertaken to ensure the Council meets the Welsh Language Standards and the proposed response for the Welsh Language Commissioner.
(ii) That the Committee receive a further report be submitted in 6 months regarding the Council’s compliance with the Welsh Language Standards, and that the report include reference to the number of reports of non-compliance under investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner together with details of any budgetary implications and penalties.