Welsh language scheme

When conducting public business in Wales, English and Welsh languages are treated equally.

Statement of principle

When conducting public business in Wales, the Department for Transport (DfT) will treat the English and Welsh languages equally.

This scheme sets out how DfT (central) will uphold this principle when providing services to the public in Wales.

The scheme:

  • has received ministerial approval
  • uses the guidelines issued by the Welsh Language Board
  • will be published and available to all DfT staff and the public

DfT’s responsibilities

We are responsible for the following policy areas:

  • railways
  • sustainable transport
  • roads and traffic
  • shipping
  • local transport
  • ports
  • transport safety and security
  • aviation

Some of these responsibilities cover the whole of the UK, while others are limited to Great Britain, England and Wales, or England only.

We have 6 executive agencies which are responsible for the delivery of various services.

Our central department’s programmes are delivered mainly through our executive agencies, sponsored bodies, public corporations and through local authorities.

DfT’s structure

DfT is made up of 5 groups, headed by board members. The groups develop policy. They are helped by support services such as finance, human resources, communications and legal.

Service planning and delivering

New policies and initiatives

Early on in any project we will look at the impact it may have on Welsh-speaking people.

Where new proposals have a direct impact on services provided to the public in Wales by DfT or our agencies and sponsored bodies, we will make sure that papers that are presented to ministers for approval include an assessment of Welsh language implications.

We will consult the National Assembly for Wales at an early stage on initiatives which will be implemented in Wales by the assembly.

We will ensure that the measures contained in this scheme:

  • are applied to new policies and initiatives when they are implemented
  • are consistent with this scheme
  • do not undermine it or the schemes of our executive agencies and sponsored bodies or of the National Assembly for Wales

We will ensure, so far as is within our power, that new legislation and administrative procedures which DfT is responsible for do not prevent or hinder use of the Welsh language. For example, we will make sure that new regulations are not framed in such a way that they prevent Welsh being used, and that new forms for use by the public don’t prohibit a bilingual Welsh/English format. The publishing criteria set out which forms (new and existing) we will make available in Welsh.

DfT staff and advisers involved in policy making will be made aware of these commitments by:

  • placing a copy of the scheme on our intranet (Transnet) together with general advice on the action staff should take to implement the strategy, and information on translation and interpretation facilities
  • publicising the scheme in the staff newsletter, giving a contact name for further information
  • amending the advice contained in the DfT document Policy Appraisal for Equal Treatment to make clear that policy advice to ministers should take account of implications for Welsh speakers
  • including a reminder to consider Welsh language needs in research guidance documents

Delivery of services

Where DfT delivers services to the public in Wales we will use professional translators.

We will help others to provide bilingual services in Wales by:

  • adapting rules and procedures, and amending regulations/prescribed forms to permit the use of Welsh
  • reminding chief executives of agencies/sponsored bodies of the need to bear in mind the terms of their Welsh Language Schemes when applying new initiatives in Wales - we will include advice on this in the DfT Sponsorship Handbook
  • co-operating with adaptation of agency/non-departmental public body (NDPB) computer systems so these can provide bilingual services
  • considering bilingual requirements when advising ministers on appointments to boards, panels and tribunals of organisations that deliver services to the public in Wales - our NDPB Sponsorship Handbook will be revised to reflect this
  • amending grant application forms to ask applicants who will subsequently be providing a service to the public in Wales to explain how they will consider the needs of the Welsh speaking public

We also endorse the work of regulators and consumer councils in encouraging the water and transport industries to adopt the principle of the Welsh Language Act in delivering services to the public in Wales.

Where DfT sponsored bodies are still preparing their own schemes, or may be required to prepare a scheme in future, we will give them the option of using our scheme as a basis for developing their own Welsh language arrangements. We will do this by sending a copy of the approved DfT document to chief executives of sponsored bodies who don’t have their own scheme. We will also remind them of the need to bear in mind Welsh language requirements when delivering services in Wales.

Standard of service in Welsh

Services in Welsh, will be of an equally high quality as those in English. We will ensure that:

  • correspondence in Welsh and English is answered in the same target times, and that these meet our Charter Programme standards
  • we refer to this scheme, and the commitments it contains, in important documents such as the annual report, and on the gov.uk website
  • we make clear in the DfT publications catalogue which documents are available in Welsh
  • we monitor implementation of the scheme

Communicating with the Welsh speaking public

Written communication

Members of the public living in Wales are welcome to write to us in Welsh or English. When someone writes to us in Welsh, we will reply with a signed letter in Welsh, wherever a reply is required. Any further correspondence will be in Welsh unless otherwise requested.

Our target times for replying to letters in Welsh are the same as for those in English.

We will meet these targets by:

  • issuing guidance to staff on how to use translation services, and associated budget arrangements
  • arranging a contract with translators
  • monitoring response times to correspondence written in Welsh
  • making sure staff maintain a record of those people who have written to them in Welsh

If we issue circulars or standard letters to the public in Wales we will do so bilingually.

Telephone communications with the public

Our headquarters is based in various locations in London. Welsh speakers in Wales generally seek advice and support from either the National Assembly or our agencies and sponsored bodies who deliver services in Wales. Because the number of telephone calls received in Welsh by DfT staff is negligible, we don’t think providing Welsh language coverage is necessary.

Public meetings and conferences open to the public

We hold few meetings or conferences in Wales that are open to the public - but should we need to do so, we would welcome contributions in Welsh.

We will ensure that public notices, invitations and other information setting out arrangements for meetings and conferences are circulated in Welsh and English. We will ask participants to let us know language preferences in advance, so that we can provide simultaneous or other translation facilities as necessary.

Where translation facilities are to be provided, the public will be invited to contribute in either English or Welsh.

Guidance on how to arrange interpretation facilities will be made available to all staff.

Other meetings with the public

We hold very few meetings in Wales with individual members of the public. Because these are infrequent, and may be held at short notice, we don’t need to provide interpretation facilities for all occasions. But facilities may be made available on an ad hoc basis depending on the subject or purpose of the meeting, its location, those likely to attend, and cost.

Other dealings with the public


Members of the public who wish to communicate with DfT by email in Welsh will receive a response in Welsh.

We will ensure that the following appear on gov.uk:

  • clear navigation to Welsh language pages
  • Welsh language information on what DfT does and what we are responsible for
  • the DfT Welsh Language Act Scheme (in English and Welsh)
  • the DfT publications catalogue (which shows which publications are available in Welsh)
  • Welsh language versions of material placed on the DfT site, where Welsh language versions have been published in paper format
  • a summary of DfT’s monitoring report on its Welsh language measures (as part of the annual report)


Where we set up helplines to give information to the general public in Wales about particular issues or response lines for ordering literature, we will provide a Welsh language service. We will do this by providing a separate telephone number for those who wish to speak Welsh.

This will be advertised alongside the English language number. Requests for information in Welsh will be recorded and passed to our external translators who will contact the caller with a response. Response times will be monitored to check that DfT meets its targets for reply.

Staff will receive guidance on making sure Welsh language needs are considered when changes are made to our internet site, or helplines established.

Publicity and printed material

Corporate identity

The DfT corporate logo including the words Department for Transport is an essential part of our identity, and we will continue to use it on all published material and letters. We will also provide a Welsh translation of Department for Transport for use on letters we send out in Welsh, and on Welsh/bilingual publications.

The Communications Directorate will provide an appropriate translation/artwork for use by DfT - this will also be made available to publishers, agents, contractors and others who reproduce our corporate image.


We produce a wide range of published material including legislation, consultation documents, corporate publications, news releases, pamphlets and leaflets, forms and related explanatory material, stickers and other material designed for public display.

Where documents fall within the remit of this scheme, we will make translations available in Welsh in whole, in part or in summary form, depending on the purpose of the publication. Material that is intended for the general public, such as leaflets, forms, and public display material will be translated in full, but publications with a more limited circulation, such as those aimed at business, may be translated in part or in summary form.

When we provide a Welsh translation of a document, we will do so bilingually wherever possible. For publications with a wider UK distribution, the issue of separate English and Welsh versions (or summaries in Welsh) may be preferable on grounds of practicality.

In these cases, we will ensure that the English version states clearly that a Welsh translation or summary is available. Both documents will be of the same quality, and will be equally accessible. The charge for a bilingual or Welsh version of a document will not be greater than the price of an English version.

Where we issue documents in parallel with the National Assembly, we will work together to try to ensure simultaneous publication of English and Welsh language versions/summaries. Where DfT issues bilingual or Welsh versions of documents, we will aim to produce these at the same time as English equivalents. Exceptionally, this may not be possible, and in such circumstances the Welsh or bilingual version will be available as soon as possible.

DfT will endeavour to make it to clear to the reader when a publication applies to England only, to prevent any misunderstandings about possible Welsh translations if the document reaches people in Wales.

Publication criteria

The publications produced in Welsh (including bilingually) will be those where we most expect an interest to be shown in the Welsh version because of their particular relevance to the general public or businesses in Wales. For example, leaflets, forms and other documents relevant to Wales that are widely distributed and made available to the general public will be produced in Welsh but technical and research publications and those designed for a specialist market will not.

The following categories of documents will not normally be translated into Welsh:

  • primary and secondary legislation
  • research and technical publications
  • documents which apply to England only
  • documents aimed at a specific group where the print run for England and Wales is likely to be less than 100,000 copies
  • very large documents (generally in excess of 100 pages), which, although available to the general public, are unlikely to elicit widespread interest and response
  • publications prescribed by international regulations which may only be printed in specified languages
  • publications intended for other bodies representing the Crown, government or the state (such as local authorities) which are not intended for general public distribution
  • documents intended for internal DfT use

These commitments apply to new publications and to new editions of existing documents.

We will ensure that:

  • DfT staff and contractors involved in publishing and marketing activities are made aware of the requirements of the scheme
  • the Communication Directorate will review its directorate guide and key guidance notes to include specific references to Welsh language requirements
  • the Communication Directorate will provide advice to DfT divisions as to when Welsh language versions of publications should be made available
  • the Information Management Division (IMD) will revise its good practice guide covering design of forms used outside the department (Good Forms Make Sense) to include references to Welsh language requirements.

News releases

News releases of a particular interest to the Welsh-speaking public will be made available in Welsh and English. News releases issued specifically to the Welsh-speaking or bilingual media in Wales will be produced bilingually. The division of responsibility with the National Assembly for Wales will be as set out above.

The aim will be to issue releases simultaneously in both languages, but, where timing does not allow this, a Welsh version will be produced as soon as possible afterwards.

Advertising and publicity activities

We use advertising to inform the general public and businesses about a wide range of topical issues. The media we use depends on the nature of the campaign, target audience, timing, message, and value for money.

Television, video and radio

When television and radio adverts are directed to the general public in Wales, we will advertise in Welsh during Welsh language radio and television programmes.

Where we produce videos whose subject matter is relevant to the general public in Wales, we will make these available either in Welsh language versions or with subtitles. This excludes videos of a technical nature or where demand for a Welsh language version is likely to be less than 1,000.

Outdoor advertising

Where we advertise in Wales using hoardings, posters or electronic messages, we will ensure adverts are displayed bilingually, or exceptionally separately in Welsh and English and treat both languages equally.


Where we place advertisements in newspapers or other publications as part of a press advertising campaign in Wales, these will be in Welsh and English and will appear together - advertisements placed in Welsh language publications will be in Welsh only.

Exhibitions and road shows

When participating in any public exhibition or event in Wales, we will ensure that display material for the public is in Welsh and English or in a bilingual format. If material is displayed in Welsh, the size, quality, legibility and prominence of the text will be the same as it is in English.

Public surveys

Where respondents living in Wales have a distinctive contribution to make, we will make provision for Welsh language needs. We will translate letters and questionnaires into Welsh, and will conduct telephone and face to face interviews in Welsh.

The Communication Directorate’s Desk Instructions will be revised to make reference to Welsh language needs.

The Communication Directorate can help divisions decide which medium to use to get a message across and when Welsh language versions should be made available.

Official notices and public notices

Where we post official or other public notices in Wales, including adverts about public appointments, we will ensure that Welsh and English versions appear together. They will be equal in terms of size, content, quality and prominence.

Implementing the scheme

Responsibilities within DfT

We are committed to operating within the terms of the scheme, and to ensuring that everyone in DfT is familiar with the scheme, knows how it should be implemented and what is expected of them. Senior management is responsible to the Secretary of State for its success. The head of the Communication Directorate has overall responsibility for co-ordinating the scheme, monitoring its operation, and reporting on it to senior management. Divisional managers are responsible for implementing aspects of the scheme relevant to their work, and ensuring their staff deliver services in line with the scheme.

The measures within the scheme will be integrated within DfT’s normal administrative processes.

Translation services

We will ensure that any translation organisations we use provide a fast, high quality service. We will check that they have their own internal quality monitoring systems and that these operate satisfactorily.

Services delivered on behalf of the organisation by other parties

Where services we provide to the public in Wales are carried out for us by other organisations such as agents, consultants, contractors and voluntary bodies, we will ensure that agreements are consistent with the terms of this scheme and specify requirements on the use of Welsh language in relevant documentation.

The DfT Guide to Procurement will be revised to incorporate advice to line divisions on contractors’ responsibilities for meeting Welsh language requirements. Sponsoring divisions will put in place monitoring arrangements to ensure that consultants and contractors comply with these requirements.

Computer facilities

We have not needed to change the department’s existing IT facilities in order to implement the measures contained in this scheme. We will ensure that specifications for new or replacement systems take account of the provisions of this scheme and the needs of others who wish to provide a bilingual service in Wales.

Monitoring the scheme

Who is responsible for monitoring?

Monitoring will be co-ordinated by the Communication Directorate. Each year the head of the directorate will submit a report on progress to DfT’s senior managers and ministers, and a copy will be sent to the Welsh Language Board. A summary of the report will be published in our annual report. Where necessary, this will include reasons for not meeting any of the standards set out in this scheme and an explanation of steps we will take to put things right.

Aspects to be monitored

We will monitor the following aspects of the scheme:

  • achievements against the timetable of the individual measures set out in this scheme
  • that Welsh language needs are considered when new policies and initiatives relevant to the public in Wales are being developed - the Communication Directorate will be responsible for seeking examples of good practice through an annual request to divisions
  • that we help others to provide bilingual services in Wales (see 3.2)
  • that response time for Welsh correspondence meets Charter Programme standards
  • that translators with whom we have a contract have their own quality monitoring systems
  • the numbers of publications and forms produced in Welsh or bilingually
  • orders for Welsh language publications (priced and free) monitored through the Communication Directorate’s distribution unit
  • details of advertising and publicity campaigns in Welsh
  • the number of meetings with the public where Welsh interpretation facilities have been requested and been made available - the Communication Directorate will monitor through an annual request to line divisions
  • the numbers of DfT staff able to speak or write Welsh
  • that contractors meet the commitments set out in the DfT scheme when delivering services on our behalf to the public in Wales - the Communication Directorate will seek information and examples through an annual request to divisions
  • the number and nature of complaints or suggestions received about the department’s Welsh language services

Changes to the scheme

We will consult with the Welsh Language Board in advance about any proposals which will affect the scheme or the schemes of other organisations.

We will not alter the scheme without the board’s agreement.

Publicity for DfT’s Welsh Language facilities

We will advertise adoption of the approved scheme by notices in the Welsh language press, online, and in our annual report.

Bilingual copies of the scheme are available from:

DfT Free Literature
PO Box 236
LS23 7NB

Improvements to the scheme/complaints

Suggestions for improvement

We welcome suggestions from the public and staff for improvements to our Welsh language service. All suggestions should be addressed to the Communication Directorate at:

Editorial and internal communications
Communications Directorate
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DR

Telephone: 020 7944 4739


Any complaints about the way in which we have implemented the scheme or about our Welsh language service should also be sent to the Communication Directorate at the above address. The management unit responsible will reply to complaints relating to specific Welsh language measures. Complainants will receive a written reply in the language of their complaint.

Targets and timetable

We will adopt the following targets and timetable for implementation of our Welsh Language Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, measures will come into operation from the date the scheme is approved.

TASK TIMETABLE (from date of formal approval of the scheme by Welsh Language Board)
1. Advertise adoption of our Welsh Language Scheme to all staff in DfT (Central) by news release on the electronic news service Completed
2. Place a copy on the intranet, and an article in the staff newsletter Completed
3. Issue guidance to staff on implementation of the scheme, including on use of Welsh language translation facilities and associated budget arrangements 2 months
4. Arrange call-off contract with translators Already in place
5. Amend Policy Appraisal for Equal Treatment to make clear that policy advice to ministers should take account of implications for Welsh speakers 3 months
6. Amend regulations/prescribed forms to allow bilingual provision On a case by case basis as legislation is revised, starting 3 months from date of formal approval
7. Adapt departmental rules and procedures to allow bilingual provision On a case by case basis, starting 3 months from date of formal approval
8. Co-operate with adaptation of agency/NDPB computer systems so these can provide bilingual services On a case by case basis 3 months from date of formal approval
9. Amend NDPB Sponsorship Handbook 3 months
10. Amend grant application forms On a case by case basis starting 3 months from date of formal approval
11. Send copy of DTLR scheme to our agencies/ sponsored bodies who deliver services to the public in Wales but do not have their own scheme 2 months
12. Reply to all correspondence in Welsh in the same language Immediately
13. Meet Charter Programme standard for replying to correspondence in Welsh 6 months
14. Implement commitments on public meetings and conferences 6 months
15. Implement commitments on internet site 6 months
16. Implement commitments on helplines 6 months
17. Prepare artwork for use on letterheads 6 months
18. Ensure publications falling within the remit of the scheme are available in Welsh or bilingually New and reissued publications: on a case by case basis, starting from date of formal approval
19. Implement commitments on advertising and publicity On a case by case basis starting from date of formal approval
20. Revise CD’s Directorate guide and key guidance notes to include specific references to Welsh language requirements 3 months
21. Include a reference to Welsh language requirements in IMD’s Good Forms Make Sense 3 months
22. Include information on publications available in Welsh in DfT’s publications catalogue (paper format and on internet) 3 months
23. Make official or other public notices available in Welsh and English On a case by case basis from date of formal approval
24. Implement commitments on contractors responsibilities On a case by case basis starting 6 months from date of formal approval
25. Set up monitoring systems 3 months
26. Make scheme available to the public by placing a copy on the DfT internet site, and making paper format copies available via our public enquiry point 1 month
27. Put in place arrangements for dealing with complaints and suggestions for improvement 3 months
28. Prepare annual report for Permanent Secretary on progress with implementing the Welsh language scheme. Copy report to Welsh Language Board 1 year (or to coincide with next annual reporting round)
29. Publish a summary of 28 above in our annual report. Make available on the DfT web site 1 year (or to coincide with next annual reporting round)