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Welsh speaking staff members on the rise

25 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Members of health professions such as doctors, nurses and dentists to register with their regulator through the medium of Welsh

Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter

A council reported an increase of 68 council staff with Welsh language speaking skills over the previous year, a report has said.

And a further 11 more members of saff are fluent Welsh speakers than in 2022/2023.

On Thursday, June 27 councillors on the county borough council’s Corporate Performance scrutiny committee will receive the draft Welsh language annual report for 2023/2024.

Standards

Like all other government and public bodies in Wales, Blaenau Gwent council is required to comply with the Welsh Language Standards, introduced under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

This gave the language an equal legal status with English and is supposed to make it easier for people to use Welsh in their day to day lives.

The report said: “The data shows that the council has identified 45 members of staff from 2,971 staff who are fluent Welsh speakers, this is an increase of 11 members of staff in comparison to 2022/23 figures.

“The total number of staff who have Welsh language speaking skills ranging from ‘fluently,’ ‘quite well,’ ‘moderately,’ ‘foundation’ to courtesy/entry level, is 605.

“This is an increase of 68 members of staff from the 2022/23 reporting period.

“As reported last year the Education directorate has the highest number of fluent speakers with 29 members of staff.”

The report also explains that the office of Efa Gruffydd Jones the Welsh Language Commissioner has one investigation currently open in Blaenau Gwent while the council itself received zero complaints last year.

The report said: “While the council has not received any complaints directly, we are assisting our partners at Aneurin Leisure Trust with a complaint raised concerning the lack of Welsh signage at one of their parks.

“The complaint was sent by a member of the public directly to the Welsh Language Commissioners Office.

“While the trust has already taken steps to rectify the issue, the matter is still open with the Commissioner’s Office, and we are awaiting determination of actions taken.”

The report also explains the next steps the council hopes to take this  year.

These include:

• Using Shared Prosperity Funding to increase Welsh language and cultural visibility in Blaenau Gwent.
• Work closely with local business and the regeneration team to celebrate “Diwrnod Shwmae/Sumae” (how are you day) on October 15.
• Encourage more staff to undertake Welsh language training.
• Create more informal opportunities for staff to learn and strengthen their Welsh language skills.
• To keep reviewing and improving internal operations in relation to the Welsh language.
• Support the Education department’s development of Ysgol Gymraeg
Tredegar, Welsh medium primary school.

The report said: “We aim to continue our progress, in relation to meeting our Welsh language duties, and make any necessary improvements to ensure we deliver the best possible services for our staff, residents, partners and stakeholders.”

Comments made by the committee could be added to the report which will end up in front of the Cabinet in September following the summer recess.


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Garycymru
Garycymru
21 days ago

Our company has introduced Welsh in the workplace over the past few years. One thing that has shocked me through this journey is the number of people that do speak Welsh, but prefer not to due to ridicule.
The other thing that has shocked me is the amount of interest in learning from colleagues, and how quick the positive effects have taken hold from a corporate point of view.
I always felt extremely disrespectful being in a country, and not knowing the native language, workplace Welsh has changed this considerably.

Arthur
Arthur
21 days ago
Reply to  Garycymru

What a heartwarming, positive and tolerant stance you have towards Cymraeg yn y gweithle (workplace). I for one sincerely hope that your voice represents the majority, as this initiative is making such a positive impact on language usage. I also wholeheartedly agree that many silent members of our workforce are more than competent in the language, but they avoid using Cymraeg for fear that they will be ridiculed for making errors, or that the conversation will steer to a place where they will feel out of their depth. But isn’t this the Welsh disease? As whether the question is political… Read more »

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