Welsh language scheme

We treat the English and Welsh languages equally when conducting public business in Wales.

Our Welsh language scheme explains what the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does to make sure the English and Welsh languages are treated equally when we provide public services in Wales.

Last updated: 9 November 2018

BEIS Welsh language scheme

Introduction

Under the Welsh Language Act 1993 (the Act) every public body providing services to the public in Wales has to prepare a scheme setting out how it will provide those services in Welsh.

Background to the organisation

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was formed in July 2016, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and subsequent machinery of government changes. It brings together the business and science policy portfolios of the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the full policy portfolio of the former Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It aims to build links between industry, energy and climate change, and enable a united focus on markets, investors and consumers. As policy lead for more than 25 economic sectors, BEIS has one of the largest and most complex EU-exit portfolios, and EU-exit is relevant to all of its departmental objectives.

The department’s purpose is to:

…drive forward the changes which will build an economy that works for everyone, so that there are great places in every part of the United Kingdom for people to work and for businesses to invest, innovate and grow.

The BEIS Welsh language scheme

Prior to July 2016, both BIS and DECC operated their own individual Welsh language schemes (WLS). The Welsh Language Board (WLB) approved BIS’ initial Welsh language scheme in August 2000. This was then revised in 2009 and approved by the then Welsh Language Board. The DECC WLS was approved by the Welsh Language Board in March 2012.

The BEIS Welsh language scheme supersedes both of these WLS’ and describes how BEIS will give effect, so far as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable, to the principle established by the Welsh Language Act that, in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice in Wales, the Welsh and English languages should be treated on a basis of equality. The scheme covers the services that we provide to the public in Wales.

In this scheme, the term public means individuals. It includes the public as a whole, or a section of the public who are acting in a private capacity. It does not, however, include persons who are acting in a capacity which is representative of the Crown, government or the state. Consequently, persons who fulfil official functions of a public nature, even though they are legal persons, do not come within the meaning of the word public when they are fulfilling those official functions.

This scheme was prepared under Section 21 of the Act - and in accordance with guidelines issued by the Welsh Language Commissioner under Section 9 of the Act. It came into effect on 9 November 2018, and replaces the BIS scheme that was approved by the WLB in 2009 and the DECC scheme that was approved by the WLB in 2012.

Further information about the scope and purpose of Welsh language schemes can be found in the Welsh Language Commissioners guidelines.

Coverage of the scheme

The BEIS scheme applies to all BEIS headquarters functions and the department works with the Welsh government and the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales on Welsh language matters as appropriate.

While the executive agencies operate within broad policy guidelines set by ministers, day to day operations, including the implementation of Welsh Language Act measures, are matters for the Chief Executive of each agency. Where BEIS agencies do not have their own Welsh Language Schemes, BEIS will make its scheme available to those agencies and encourage them to meet the needs of the Welsh-speaking public in line with the principles enshrined in the Welsh Language Act.

BEIS will use its influence to promote awareness of the needs of Welsh speakers and will encourage the adoption by relevant non-departmental public bodies of the principles of the Act.

Serving planning and delivery

Policies, legislation and initiatives

Our policies, initiatives and services will be consistent with this scheme. They will support the use of Welsh and will, whenever appropriate, help the public in Wales use Welsh as part of their day to day lives.

When we contribute to the development or delivery of policies, initiatives, services or new legislation led by other organisations, we will do so in a way which is consistent with this scheme. We will also ensure, whenever appropriate, that new primary and secondary legislation sponsored by the department will support the use of Welsh. We will be following Cabinet Office impact assessment guidance when evaluating the impact of new policies and initiatives on the Welsh language.

Delivering services

We will ensure that our services are available in Welsh and to let the public know when they are available. This will enable Welsh speakers to access our services.

Our regulatory functions – and services undertaken on our behalf by third parties

Any agreements or arrangements which we make with third parties will be consistent with the relevant parts of this scheme when those agreements or arrangements relate to the provision of services to the public in Wales. This will include services which are contracted out, granting licences and granting other permissions.

Standards of quality

Services provided in Welsh and English will be of equal quality and will be delivered within the same timescale.

Awarding grants and loans

When we award grants and loans for activities that affect the Welsh public we will where appropriate include conditions with regard to the use of Welsh. In doing this, we will have regard to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s guidelines on awarding grants and loans.

Dealing with the Welsh speaking public

Correspondence

Our normal practice will be as follows:

When BEIS Ministerial Correspondence Unit initiate correspondence with an individual, group or organisation based in Wales, we will do so bilingually unless we know that they would prefer to correspond in Welsh or English only. When a member of the public in Wales writes to us bilingually or in Welsh, we will issue a reply in Welsh (if a reply is required).

Our BEIS Ministerial Correspondence Unit will keep a record of those who wish to correspond with us in Welsh. Our target time for replying will be the same as for replying to letters written in English, which is 15 days for ministerial correspondence and 20 working days for a Freedom of Information request.

If the Welsh and English versions of any correspondence have to be published separately, our normal practice will be to ensure that both versions are available at the same time. Enclosures sent with bilingual letters will be bilingual, where possible.

The above will apply to email correspondence as well as all hard-copy Welsh correspondence. Staff based in Wales will include a bilingual message on all external email signatures noting that BEIS welcome correspondence in Welsh.

Decision letters

If a decision letter is intended to convey policy to a much wider audience than those directly involved with an inquiry, or other statutory procedure, we will consider whether it should be treated, under this scheme, as a publication.

Telephone communications

We will ensure the public can speak to us in Welsh or English when contacting us by phone. If the caller wishes to speak Welsh but is not immediately speaking to a qualified Welsh speaker in the first instance, the caller will be given the choice, as appropriate, of having a Welsh speaker phone back as soon as possible, continuing the call in English, or submitting their query in Welsh by letter or email. As above, language preference will be recorded.

Public meetings

BEIS will ensure that members of the public attending public meetings, such as formal hearings, enquiries, legal proceedings and similar official events, are welcome and able to contribute in Welsh. Invitations and notices publicising an event in Wales will be bilingual and will normally invite those who wish to speak in Welsh to notify the arranger of the event in advance so that interpreting facilities can be arranged.

Our normal practice will be to provide papers and other information for these public meetings in Welsh and English – and for reports or papers produced following public meetings to be published in Welsh and English, in line with the publication commitments in this scheme.

Other meetings with the public

When we arrange or attend private meetings with the public, we will establish their language preference at the earliest opportunity and ensure that a suitable qualified Welsh speaking member of staff deals with those whose preferred language is Welsh.

If no suitable qualified Welsh speaker is available, we will offer the choice of continuing the meeting in English, or dealing with the subject by corresponding in Welsh. The above will also apply to meetings held using video conferencing and similar equipment.

Other dealings with the public in Wales

When we undertake public surveys in Wales, our normal practice will be to ensure that all aspects of communication with the public will be bilingual. Whenever practicable, respondents will be asked if they wish to respond to the survey in Welsh or English.

When we arrange seminars, training courses or similar events for the public that are based in Wales, we will assess the need to provide them in Welsh.

Any audio-visual displays, audio tours or interactive media that we prepare for the Welsh public will be bilingual.

We recognise that engagement with the public increasingly occurs using social media. We will take a pragmatic approach and commit to tweet in both English and Welsh where content is targeted to a Welsh audience and responses will be provided in the same language as the comment or message which initiated the response.

Our public face

All our publicity, public information, exhibition and advertising material aimed at the Welsh public will be produced bilingually, or as separate Welsh and English versions. If the Welsh and English versions have to be published separately, both versions will be equal with regard to size, prominence and quality - and both versions will be available simultaneously and will be equally accessible.

Any advertisements placed in English language newspapers (or similar media) distributed mainly or wholly in Wales will be bilingual or will appear as separate Welsh and English versions (with both versions appearing simultaneously and will be equal with regard to size, prominence and quality).

Television, cinema and radio advertising targeting Wales specifically will be conducted in Welsh and English. Radio campaigns broadcast on Radio Cymru or during Welsh language programmes on commercial radio stations will be in Welsh. Our normal practice will be to avoid using Welsh language subtitles or dubbing adverts into Welsh.

Telephone response lines and other ways of responding to campaigns targeting Wales will be bilingual or will include a separate Welsh response service.

Publications

Publications which are of interest to the general public will be made available in Welsh. Anything relating to Wales or an area of Wales will also be made available in Welsh. This will include:

  • policy and consultation documents which relate to issues which are of interest to the general public
  • pamphlets and leaflets targeting the general public
  • forms and explanatory material aimed at the general public
  • circulars and standard letters

Where we produce material for the public bilingually, the Welsh and English versions will usually be published together and will be comparable. On occasions, both versions would be included in the same document where this was appropriate. Reasons for not including both versions in one document would be that it would be too lengthy or bulky or for practical or environmental considerations. Each version will note clearly that the material is available in the other language and be equally accessible.

If not available free of charge, the price of a bilingual document will not be greater than that of a single language publication - and the price of separate, Welsh and English versions will be the same.

The above will also apply to material made available electronically on our website.

Digital services and information

All government department websites have been merged into GOV.UK. The GOV.UK website, run by the Government Digital Service (GDS), collects together in a single place information and services from every UK government department, and hundreds of arms-length bodies. Our website will include pages in both Welsh and English and our normal practice will be to provide Welsh pages of interactive pages.

Whenever we post Welsh language versions of publications on the GOV.UK site, we will post them at the same time as English versions.

We will be working with the GDS to provide translation of our web pages. We will ensure that the following appear on GOV.UK and intranet pages:

  • clear navigation to Welsh language pages
  • Welsh language version of web pages provided by BEIS
  • the BEIS Welsh Language Scheme (in Welsh and English) and Welsh language versions of published materials

Forms and associated explanatory material

Our normal practice will be to ensure that all forms and associated explanatory material for use by the public in Wales will be fully bilingual, with the Welsh and English versions together in one document. This will include interactive forms published on our website. If the Welsh and English versions have to be published separately, each version will note clearly that the material is available in the other language.

We will send bilingual forms to the public, where appropriate, unless we know that the recipients would prefer to receive the information in Welsh or English only. When other organisations distribute forms on our behalf, we will ensure that they do so in accordance with the above. Information input onto a Welsh version of the form will be input in Welsh.

Corporate identity

Welsh headed letters will be produced for correspondence in Welsh.

Where documents are produced bilingually or in Welsh the name of BEIS, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will remain to ensure the department’s brand identity but will have a descriptor in Welsh.

Official notices, public notices and staff recruitment notices

Official notices public notices and staff recruitment notices placed in English language newspapers (or similar media) distributed mainly or wholly in Wales, will be bilingual, or appear as separate Welsh and English versions. Notices will be in Welsh in Welsh language publications.

The Welsh and English versions will be equal in terms of format, size, quality and prominence – whether produced as a single bilingual version, or as separate Welsh and English notices.

In the English language media, posts where the ability to speak Welsh is essential may be advertised in Welsh, with a brief description in English.

Recruitment notices placed in English language journals (and other publications) with a UK-wide distribution may be in English, unless the post is one where the ability to speak Welsh is essential, in which case the notice may be fully bilingual, or in Welsh with a brief explanation in English.

Any official notices, public notices or staff recruitment notices placed elsewhere in Wales will be bilingual.

Press releases and contact with the media

Press releases to the media in Wales will be issued in Welsh and English when the issue is of particular interest to the public in Wales. Where deadlines permit, the Welsh and English versions will also be issued at the same time.

Implementing the scheme

Staffing

We will seek information about the Welsh language skills of existing staff, and job applicants, where the job requires close contact with the Welsh speaking public.

Recruitment

For any posts having extensive and regular contact with the public in Wales we will consider whether fluency in Welsh should be a desirable or essential skill – and this will be stated in job competencies and advertisements.

Language training

We will consider supporting and funding training for staff, who as part of their duties, have extensive and regular contact with the public in Wales – and who wish to learn, or improve their Welsh. We will allow staff to attend courses during work where necessary.

Vocational training

Whenever practicable, we will provide vocational training in Welsh to develop the ability of staff who, as part of their duties, have extensive and regular contact with the public in Wales.

Information and Communications Technology

The need to provide information and services in Welsh, and operate in accordance with this scheme, will be catered for as we develop, design and purchase information and communications technology products and services.

As we develop or procure ICT systems we will take into account the Commissioner’s ICT standards.

Partnership working

When we are the strategic and financial leader within a partnership, we will ensure that any public service aspects comply with this scheme except where the partner delivering the service has a Welsh language scheme. In these circumstances, our service will comply with the delivery partner’s scheme.

When we join a partnership which another organisation is leading, our input to the partnership will comply with this scheme and we will encourage the other partners to comply, unless the lead organisation has a Welsh Language scheme. In these circumstances, we will encourage the partnership to comply with the lead organisation’s scheme.

When we are a partner in a consortium, we will encourage the consortium to comply with this scheme. When acting in the name of the consortium, we will operate in accordance with this scheme. Where we act in consortium with other organisations that also have Welsh language schemes, we will encourage the consortium to decide to abide with one scheme in all its work.

The above refers only to partnerships dealing with services available to the public in Wales.

Internal arrangements

The measures in this scheme carry the full authority, support and approval of our organisation. Managers will have the responsibility for implementing those aspects of the scheme relevant to their work. The Head of the Information Rights Unit will coordinate the work required to deliver, monitor and review this scheme.

A detailed action plan about how we will operate the scheme will be prepared and regularly updated. The action plan will come into effect on the date on which the scheme comes into effect. The plan will include targets, deadlines and a report on progress against each target.

The scheme will be publicised to our staff, and to the public in Wales. It will be published on GOV.UK.

Existing guidance used by our staff will be amended to reflect the measures contained in this scheme.

We will arrange briefing and training sessions for staff whose work is significantly impacted by the revision of the scheme. This will increase awareness of this scheme and explain how it will affect their day to day work.

We will ensure that we use only qualified translators or interpreters to help with the delivery of this scheme via FCO Services.

Any form of contact with the public in Wales which is not specifically dealt with by this scheme will be undertaken in a manner which is consistent with the general principles enshrined in this scheme.

Monitoring

We will monitor our progress in delivering this scheme against the targets set out in its accompanying action plan. We will send monitoring reports to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s annually, outlining progress in delivering this scheme.

Reviewing and amending the scheme

We will review this scheme within 4 years of its coming into effect.

This scheme may be reviewed or amended at any time because of changes to our functions, or to the circumstances in which we undertake those functions, or for any other reason. No changes will be made to this scheme without the Welsh Language Commissioner’s approval.

Complaints and suggestions for improvement

Complaints related to this scheme, or suggestions for improvement, should be directed to:

Information Rights Unit

Knowledge and Information Management
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Floor, Orchard 2
1 Victoria Street

London
SW1H 0ET

We will co-operate with the Commissioner in order to resolve any complaints – and during any investigations held under Section 17 of the Welsh Language Act.

Targets and timetable

Target Action Date of completion
1. Policies, legislation and initiatives    
Policies, initiatives and services to be consistent with scheme Include in general guidance/awareness initiatives. Launch of scheme
BEIS legislation will support use of Welsh where appropriate Remind Parly Branch. Arrangements to be set up to alert Bill teams. Launch of scheme
2. Correspondence    
Commitments on handling correspondence received in Welsh and on handling enclosures Include in general guidance/awareness initiative. Remind MCU (Ministerial Communications Unit). Launch of scheme
Decision letters intended to convey policy to wide audience: consider whether to treat as publications. Include in general guidance/awareness initiative. Inform Legal Services. Launch of scheme
3. Public meetings    
Offer interpreting facilities at public meetings Include in general guidance/awareness initiative. Remind FCO (Translation Services). Launch of scheme
4. Publicity campaigns, exhibitions and advertising    
Commitments on publicity, public information, exhibition and advertising material aimed at the Welsh public, (incl. cinema and radio advertising targeting Wales). Remind: Comms; Heads of relevant directorates (CCP, ER). Launch of scheme
Consideration for telephone response lines and other ways of responding to campaigns targeting Wales to be bilingual or include separate Welsh response service. Remind: Comms; Head of Communications CCP; Head of Communications ER; ICT contracts manager. Launch of scheme
5. Publications    
Commitments related to publications of interest to general public or relating to Wales or an area of Wales. Include in general guidance/awareness initiative. Remind: Comms; Heads of CCP, ER. Launch of scheme
6. Language training    
To consider supporting and funding training for staff that, as part of their duties, have extensive regular contact with public in Wales. Alert HR. Ongoing - Launch of scheme
7. Partnership working    
Commitments when working in partnership with others. Include in general guidance/awareness initiative. Launch of scheme
8. Internal promotion of the scheme    
Update Intranet Welsh Language pages.   Launch of scheme
Update Comms.   Launch of scheme
Article in GKIM Newsletter.   Launch of scheme
Provide internal guidance to BEIS staff about the commitments in the scheme and how to implement its principles.   Launch of scheme