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Council defends Welsh-language spending after questions about value for money

29 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Welsh in the workplace

A council says it is “committed to providing high quality bilingual services to residents”, after questions were asked about value for money.

Recently, Caerphilly County Borough Council senior councillors welcomed news the organisation was employing more Welsh-speaking staff and had expanded its translation team.

Following that news, a Caerphilly Council website user shared figures obtained from Freedom of Information Act requests, which showed Welsh language visitors accounted for fewer than 1% of total page views of the council’s website in 2023.

That website user, speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, said the figures “speak for themselves” and “demonstrate that whatever resources Caerphilly Council may be throwing at the matter does not reflect the real world of their website users”.

Welsh-language page views made up 0.95% of all visits to Caerphilly Council’s website last year, which was the highest in the Gwent region, ahead of Monmouthshire (0.76%) and Torfaen (0.27%).

Blaenau Gwent’s reported figure of 0.15% covered the second half of 2023, while the 0.78% in Newport only covered views of the council website homepage.

“Sensible use”

Reflecting on the rate of Welsh language page views in Caerphilly, the website user who provided the figures said: “Even though they have the highest percentage of Welsh language website users in Gwent, it is still less than one in a hundred. Local taxpayers are bound to ask if such expenditure is a sensible use of limited resources or just another box-ticking exercise to satisfy the Welsh language ‘commissar’.”

A Caerphilly Council spokesman defended the council’s record on Welsh language services, however, and pointed to successes highlighted at the recent cabinet meeting.

“Like all other government and public bodies in Wales, Caerphilly County Borough Council is required to comply with the Welsh Language Standards, introduced under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011,” he said.

“The standards give the language equal legal status with English and clearly sets out what our responsibilities are in terms of providing bilingual services, ensuring the Welsh language is not treated less favourably than the English language.”

The spokesman noted that 2023 was the fifth year in a row that Caerphilly Council has avoided any Welsh Language Commissioner investigations for “non-compliance”.

The council is “committed to providing high quality bilingual services to residents, across all of our channels, including our website to improve our customer service and ensure we are meeting the needs of our Welsh speakers”, he added.


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onedragonontheshirt
onedragonontheshirt
15 days ago

Da iawn Gyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Caerffili!

Erisian
Erisian
15 days ago

Why do you always sub-head these articles with “A Council” rather than simply saying which Council until we read the article?
I would have hoped Nation.Cymru was a click-bait free zone.

Dirk Hustler
Dirk Hustler
15 days ago

I wonder if the same website user is as outraged about the terrible taxpayer value for money of the £22bn cost of patching up the Palace of Westminster.

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
14 days ago
Reply to  Dirk Hustler

S4C costs tax payers over £100m a year and virtually no one watches it anymore.
Latest Barb figures are 0.06% across the UK, or 1.8% here in Wales. Forget about Westminster, this is the biggest scandal here in Wales.

https://www.barb.co.uk/monthly-viewing/

Arwyn Thomas
Arwyn Thomas
15 days ago

Dim byd newydd yma yr iaith barhaus o gadw yn fyw, rydym yn dal yma beth bynnag.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
14 days ago

He forgot to say “They’re forcing it down our throats”…Missed his cue.

Dal ati, Cyngor Caerffili.

Last edited 14 days ago by Rhosddu
Ifangoch
Ifangoch
13 days ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

Not forgetting “they all speak English anyway”……

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
14 days ago

Those figures for the amount of people accessing Council services in Welsh, being far less than 1% in most cases, is just indicative of the fact that the vast majority of people are not really bothered. This a complete waste of precious Council resources when money is supposed to be so tight. Sadly the Welsh Language has become a divisive thorn in modern day Wales. Before you ask, I am Welsh, and I was forced to learn Welsh at school but have forgotten nearly all of it other than a few silly phrases, that you hear on weather forecasts on… Read more »

Ifangoch
Ifangoch
13 days ago
Reply to  Welsh Patriot

Without knowing the actual number of people accessing the website the percentage is meaningless. It may be that only 100 people in total access the website per week, in which case it could be argued that the whole website is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
13 days ago
Reply to  Welsh Patriot

If you think that Europe’s oldest language has become a divisive thorn then maybe change your username to English Patriot.

Garycymru
Garycymru
13 days ago

Any costs involved in stopping Welsh culture being exterminated should be footed solely by Westminster.
They’re the ones responsible for killing off the native languages of the occupied UK territories, they’re the ones responsible for decades of propaganda and brainwashing to ensure that Wales and Scotland do not thrive.
If the UK has an ounce of dignity left, it should at least try to repair the damage they did years ago.

Aled
Aled
13 days ago

I haven’t checked more recently, but when my council reported such figures a few years ago I asked for further clarity and sure enough the website visits – and social media accounts, interactions – counted were inclusive of webcrawlers and bots plus a lot of human traffic who’s IP addresses were across the UK and the world, so of course the locals using Welsh were just a tiny percentage of the total. Whether intentional or otherwise, publishing language-use figures without such context or stripping out the non-Wales visits (which can’t even be identified accurately), the practice serves only to belittle… Read more »

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