Cyngor Gwynedd to use Welsh language name only – as campaigners urge others to follow suit
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A Welsh council has been praised by Welsh language campaigners for stepping up its efforts to prioritise the Welsh language
Gwynedd Council or ‘Cyngor Gwynedd’ as it will be now increasingly be known has recently adopted a reformed Welsh Language Policy.
The policy will see staff only using the Welsh name “Cyngor Gwynedd” when referring to the council in written formats, and as part of its corporate image.
The change aims to ensure that the Welsh language will continue to be prioritised in all aspect of the council’s work.
The move has been welcomed by Cymdeithas yr Iaith, who are now urging other local authorities to follow suit, including Anglesey County Council, who it claims recently put up signs in English.
Gwynedd Council adopted a previous policy in 2016, which changed in the way the Council carried out its operations and services.
The council says it aims to “prioritise the Welsh language” to “ensure opportunities for the public to use services through the medium of Welsh” across all departments.
The council says it meets national requirements and will strengthen guidance for staff.
It says the changes will happen gradually, and only when goods, signs and so on need to be updated, to avoid extra costs;
It will also ‘prioritise’ protecting Welsh place names, ensuring strong guidance for staff in terms of providing a bilingual digital service, in order to ensure that the public can continue to use Welsh, however they wish to contact the Council.
Councillor Menna Jones, Cabinet Member for Cyngor Gwynedd, who is responsible for the language said:
“Cyngor Gwynedd’s commitment to the Welsh language, and to ensure that it is a language that is used in all aspects of life, is something to proud of.
“Since its establishment in 1996, Cyngor Gwynedd has been at the forefront in terms of its use of the language in the workplace and to ensure that residents always receive Welsh medium services.
“In many ways, the Council has gone beyond our statutory requirement by providing Welsh language services for local people and to promote the language at every possible opportunity.
“This policy builds on these solid foundations and reflects the changes in society and technology. I very much look forward to seeing the progress made during the coming months and years.”
Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas Yr Iaith said:
“Gwynedd Council has been working mainly through the Welsh language for years and is an example to other councils and organisations.
“The authority has understood from the beginning that the standards are the minimum, a foundation to build on.
“There is nothing to prevent other organisations from drawing similar language policies to build on the standards in an effort to meet people’s expectations and therefore promote and facilitate wider use of the Welsh language.
“It is a matter of great sadness that many other organisations, several years since the introduction of the standards, still treat them as targets and even boast that they fulfil these minimum statutory requirements in terms of the Welsh language.
“Other councils, such as Anglesey, which have put up new road signs with English names that did not exist until recently.
“Ceredigion council, which has promised to move to work through the medium Welsh for years but still hasn’t done so, could follow the example of Gwynedd Council.”
Anglesey County Council was contacted for comment.
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