Agenda Item No. 11
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 6TH JUNE, 2018
REFERENCE FROM LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 22ND MAY, 2018
“ WELSH STANDARDS ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT -
The report sought Scrutiny Committee endorsement of the Welsh Standards Annual Monitoring Report for 2017/18 and to refer the same with any comments to Cabinet in order that approval could be sought to ensure publication on the Council’s website by 30th June, 2018.
The report referred to the fact that the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 made provision for specifying standards of conduct in relation to the Welsh language and enables Welsh Ministers to authorise the Welsh Language Commissioner to issue a "Compliance Notice" to those organisations to which the Measure applies. The Compliance Notice for the Vale of Glamorgan Council had been issued in September 2015.
The Welsh Standards Compliance Notice for the Council was a list of standards relating to service delivery, policy making, operational matters, promotion and record keeping. One of the standards in the Compliance Notice stated that:
(a) You must produce a report (an "annual report"), in Welsh, in relation to each financial year, which deals with the way in which you have complied with the standards with which you were under a duty to comply during that year.
(b) You must publish the annual report no later than 30 June following the financial year to which the report relates.
(c) You must publicise the fact that you have published an annual report.
(d) You must ensure that a current copy of your annual report is available - (a) on your website, and (b) in each of your offices that are open to the public.
As part of the Compliance Notice the Council was also required to produce a 5 year Promotion Strategy and to review it regularly. In addition to the Annual Monitoring Report for 2017/18 therefore, an update was attached on the Council's Welsh Language Promotion Strategy.
The Head of Performance and Development in presenting the report drew attention to staff development in relation to the Welsh Language advising that Welsh awareness sessions had been arranged and that the Council was committed to the provision of an excellent service to Welsh speakers in the area and would strive year on year to improve on this provision. A further linguistic skills analysis of the Council’s workforce, part of the Standards action plan, would be shortly in train.
It was noted that Welsh Government’s aim was for 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050 and although the Council would contribute to this via its internal arrangements, it was important to note that achieving more Welsh speakers in the Vale could only be completed through working with partners such as Menter Bro Morgannwg and the Urdd, which the Council was already doing.
Councillor Ian Johnson, not a Member of the Committee but with permission to speak, stated that in his view the Council had taken great strides to date in addressing the standard but with specific reference to the translation of minutes of the Council he asked why minutes of the Council, Cabinet and Committee meetings and reports may not be translated into Welsh. The Head of Service advised that the volume of minutes would mean considerable additional expense in their translation. The Welsh Language Commissioner’s office had been consulted regarding this issue and a steer on the matter was awaited from them.
In referring to the possibility of establishing a Welsh Language Centre in the Vale at 3.5 on page 2 of the document and to undertake a feasibility study to explore the potential of establishing such a centre, the Head of Service responded that funding would need to be sought to carry out a feasibility study and in also identifying suitable premises. The Vice Chairman, also a Barry Town Councillor, suggested that Barry Town Council would be happy to work with the Vale Council and other partners to investigate the establishment of such a Centre
Having considered the report it was subsequently
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the comments made at the meeting and the report be referred to Cabinet in order that approval can be sought to ensure publication on the Council’s website by 30th June, 2018.
Reason for recommendation
In order that the comments made at the meeting and the steps taken to action the Welsh Standards Compliance Notice for the Vale of Glamorgan Council issued by the Welsh Commissioner can be considered and endorsed.
Attached as Appendix - Report to Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 22nd May, 2018