Important step forward to secure wholly bilingual public services

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Plaid Cymru to secure commitment to an audit of Welsh speakers in councils

Councils in Wales will be expected to carry out an audit of Welsh speakers in the workforce in order to assess how better to provide bilingual services, after the Welsh Government agreed to place a statutory duty on local authorities to improve provision.

Last week, the Welsh Government agreed to a Plaid Cymru amendment calling on them to work with the Welsh Language Commissioner to place a statutory duty on local authorities to plan their workforce from the standpoint of linguistic skills, and to provide appropriate training to meet those needs.

Sian Gwenllian, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and the Welsh Language, said:

“We are aware that Welsh Government progress on increasing the use of the Welsh language has been very slow. In order to increase the use of Welsh, as well as the number of speakers, a number of different elements must be implemented, and education must be a core element if the Government is to achieve its target of a million speakers by 2050.

“Plaid Cymru has been pressing the Government to act for some time, so it is encouraging that they have supported Plaid Cymru’s amendment which urges the Government to commit to strengthening its efforts.

“As a result of Plaid Cymru’s work, the Welsh Government must work to improve local authorities’ provision of bilingual services. Local authorities will be required to carry out an audit in order to discover where the skills gap exists, particularly in frontline posts, so as to plan the workforce appropriately. If the rights of Welsh speakers established through the standards are to be embedded, it is necessary to plan for a workforce which can provide those services in full.”

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