Welsh language scheme

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

Statement of principle

This scheme sets out how DVSA will uphold this principle when providing services to the public in Wales. In this scheme, the term ‘public’ means individuals, legal persons and corporate bodies. It includes the public as a whole, or a section of the public, as well as individual members of the public. The term includes voluntary organisations and charities. Directors and others representing limited companies are also within the meaning of the term ‘public’. 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.

The scheme:

  • uses the guidelines issued by the Welsh Language Commissioner
  • will be published and available to all DVSA staff and the public

DVSA’s responsibilities

DVSA is an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT). We improve road safety in Great Britain by setting standards for driving and motorcycling, and making sure drivers, riders, vehicle operators and MOT garages understand and follow roadworthiness standards. We also provide a range of licensing, testing, education and enforcement services.

We provide modern and efficient services which:

  • meet the changing needs of business and the public
  • help keep people safe
  • protect the environment

We do this by setting clear standards for safe driving and vehicle safety and putting the customers at the heart of everything we do.

The services we provide include:

  • improving driving competency through:
    • developing, publishing and reviewing evidence-based standards for driving, riding, training and remedial programmes, like drink-drive rehabilitation
    • developing and carrying out driving and riding tests and assessments fairly, consistently and efficiently
  • regulating standards and maintaining the integrity of the statutory registers of approved driving and riding instructors and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
  • making sure commercial vehicle operators, drivers and vehicles meet roadworthiness standards and road safety regulations
  • taking enforcement action against theory and driving test candidates, instructors, trainers, operators, garages or commercial drivers who do not comply with rules and regulations or fail to meet standards

Service planning and delivering

New policies and initiatives

Early on in any project, we will look at the impact it may have on the Welsh language.

We will make sure that new legislation and administrative procedures that we are responsible for do not prevent or hinder use of the Welsh language.

Our policies will always be consistent with the scheme and will not undermine it. Our commitment refers to current, new and revised policies.

We will publish the scheme on DVSAnet together with general advice on the action staff should take to implement the strategy, and information on translation and interpretation facilities.

Delivery of services

We will support and provide services in Welsh whenever possible.

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

Customers who choose to correspond in Welsh will receive a signed reply in Welsh.

DVSA has developed a service allowing customers who telephone our contact centres to conduct their business in Welsh.

Welsh speakers are deployed to work in Approved Testing Facilities (ATF) in Wales for the testing of heavy vehicles.

We issue bilingual MOT test certificates to vehicle owners at MOT garages and DVSA Testing Stations throughout Wales.

Tests in Welsh are available at every theory and practical test centre in Wales, as well as those outside Wales whose catchment area includes part of Wales. The standard and quality of our services are consistent throughout Wales.

Candidates can choose to take a theory test in Welsh at the time of booking and Welsh delivery is automatic at the test centre.

Candidates can choose to take a practical test in Welsh at the time of booking and a Welsh speaking Examiner will be provided.

From 4 December 2017, the practical driving test changed to include the use of satellite navigation technology (sat nav). If and when a sat nav that has the provision to offer voice guidance in Welsh becomes available we will take steps to offer it on tests taken in Wales.

Standard of service in Welsh

Throughout Wales, 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
  • we refer to this scheme, and the commitments it contains, in important documents such as the annual report, and on the GOV.UK website
  • the standards we have established in this scheme will apply to all other organisations that perform statutory duties on our behalf
  • our existing IT facilities meet the requirements to implement the measures in this scheme. We will ensure that specifications for new or replacement systems take account of the provisions of this scheme to provide information and services in Welsh.

Communicating with the Welsh speaking public

Written communication

We have a commitment to begin correspondence in a recipient’s language choice, if known. 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 communication

We welcome telephone enquiries to our contact centres in Welsh or English. Our contact centre in Swansea handles enquiries relating to vehicle services. Customers from any part of Wales who phone the national number can ask to conduct their enquiry through the medium of Welsh and they will be transferred to a Welsh-speaking operator.

Our contact centre in Newcastle handles national enquiries relating to driver services. There is a separate national number to access a Welsh speaking operator or a translation based service. An Interactive Voice Response system will respond in Welsh. The caller can choose access to the theory test line or the practical test line. The system will then deliver the call to the Welsh speaking customer service representative. If they are not available, the call will flow to an English speaker and they will action a live translation through a Welsh speaker at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

For calls to other DVSA departments where a Welsh speaker is not immediately available to take the call, we will offer a call back service in the Welsh language within one working day, or the opportunity to continue the call in English. In situations where a query is of a particularly complex or specialised nature and no Welsh speaker is available to deal adequately with it, the caller will be free to continue the conversation in English or outline the query in full in writing in Welsh. A written reply in Welsh will then be provided.

Where possible, we will encourage our staff in Wales to answer the telephone with a bilingual greeting and use bilingual messages on their personal answer – phones (if appropriate).

Public, group, educational institution and one to one meetings

Invitations and advertisements for meetings in Wales will be circulated in Welsh and English.

We will:

  • commit to make translation facilities available at public meetings and encourage contributions in Welsh
  • ensure that at group meetings, one to one meetings and visits to educational institutions in Wales, there will be members of staff available who can speak in Welsh and English to deal with enquiries
  • Any information, publicity and reports relating to public meetings will be bilingual.

Court Cases, Hearings and Public Inquiries

We will inform the public, by means of a message on the original documentation, that a court case located in Wales may be held in Welsh or English. On request, we will arrange for a Welsh-speaking prosecutor and interpreter and provide all the necessary documentation in Welsh.

At meetings, hearings or Public Inquiries, operators are welcome to speak Welsh or English. When ‘call up’ letters are issued by the DVSA, the right of those attending to use Welsh or English is clearly stated. The letter requests that they indicate their preferred choice by ticking the appropriate choice.

Internet

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

We will ensure that the following appear on GOV.UK and intranet pages:

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

Publicity and printed material

Corporate identity

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

Signs in Wales

The Agency’s information boards and signs on buildings/testing centres will all be bilingual throughout Wales. New items will be produced bilingually but existing items will be replaced with bilingual ones as they need replacing or at the latest within three years of the publication of this scheme.

Within and outside buildings in Wales, all official new and replacement signs and notices which give warning, prohibit, instruct, request a code of behaviour or otherwise inform or promote the safety of staff, visitors and candidates will be bilingual.

Where separate Welsh and English signs are provided, they will be equal in terms of size, quality and prominence. Where Welsh and English are on the same sign they will be equal in size, font prominence etc

Publications

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, public display material and public notices 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.

The charge for a bilingual or Welsh version of a document will not be greater than the price of an English version.

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 Welsh and English 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.

DVSA will endeavour to make it 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.

Associated explanatory material

Our practice will be to ensure that all associated explanatory material for use by the public in Wales will be fully bilingual, with the Welsh and English versions together in one document.

If the Welsh and English versions have to be published separately (for instance, where a single document would be too lengthy or bulky), both versions will be of equal size and quality - and we will ensure that both versions are available at the same time and are equally accessible. Each version will note clearly that the material is available in the other language.

Forms

Our practice will be to ensure that all forms for use by the public in Wales will be fully bilingual, with the Welsh and English versions together in one document. When we enter information on Welsh versions of forms that are sent to the public, we will do so in Welsh. This will include interactive forms published on our websites.

When we enter information on bilingual forms that are sent to the public, we will do so bilingually 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.

News releases

News releases of a particular interest to the public in Wales 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. Where possible, we commit to making Welsh speaking staff available to conduct press and broadcast interviews.

We commit to issuing releases simultaneously in both languages.

Advertising and publicity activities

All publicity and advertising in newspapers with a principal circulation in Wales will be bilingual with Welsh and English versions shown together.

We will publish publicity posters and other DVSA promotional materials bilingually in Wales. If this is not possible, separate Welsh and English versions will be equal in size, format and quality and will be distributed together and exhibited in a manner which respects the principle of equality between the Welsh and English languages.

Display materials at any conference, seminar, presentation or exhibition for the public held in Wales will be bilingual or in separate Welsh and English versions in accordance with our Welsh Language Scheme.

Any public survey or market research directed at the general public will be bilingual in Wales. Any public survey or market research conducted in Wales will be bilingual.

Staff and Recruitment

We will ensure that staff who work in Wales can seek access to sufficient and appropriately skilled Welsh speakers to enable those staff to deliver a service through the medium of Welsh.

We will identify those workplaces and posts where the ability to speak Welsh is desirable or essential and the level of proficiency required in each case. This requirement may be defined as a component of a workplace or team, or attached to a particular job.

From time to time, we will undertake audits to establish the number, ability level and location of staff that can speak, read and write Welsh (including staff that are learning Welsh). We will also identify staff who wish to learn Welsh.

The results of these two exercises will be compared to identify workplaces where there is a shortage of Welsh speaking staff.

We will respond to any shortages through our recruitment and training activities.

We will also consider the possibility of transferring staff able to speak Welsh to fill those posts where the ability to speak Welsh is desirable or essential.

The DVSA has enough Welsh speaking examiners at its practical test centres to ensure that the demand for tests in Welsh is met and that the waiting times for tests are not affected by language preference. Sometimes this may entail borrowing staff from other areas.

When recruiting staff we will be guided by the information gathered by following the procedures described under Staffing above.

When fluency in Welsh is considered to be desirable or essential this will be stated in job competencies and advertisements.

Where no suitable Welsh speaking candidates can be found for a post where Welsh is desirable, the person appointed will be encouraged to learn Welsh.

When no suitable Welsh speaking candidates can be found for a post where Welsh is essential; we will make temporary arrangements under the Welsh language service (by providing, for example, Welsh speaking staff from elsewhere in our organisation to deliver parts of the service).

Information packs and application forms will be provided in Welsh and English for all of our jobs where fluency in Welsh is considered to be desirable or essential. For all other jobs, information packs and application forms will be provided in Welsh when requested by a job applicant.

Implementing the scheme

Responsibilities within DVSA

We are committed to operating within the terms of the scheme, and to ensure that everyone in DVSA is familiar with the scheme, knows how it should be implemented and what is expected of them. Managers are responsible for implementing aspects of the scheme relevant to their work, and ensuring their staff deliver services in line with the scheme. We will provide help and support to any member of our staff who would like to learn to speak Welsh and work in partnership with Bangor University to deliver ongoing development to our Welsh speaking examiners. We commit to actively encouraging members of staff to undertake training in the Welsh language and regularly conduct interviews with them to ensure their standard of spoken Welsh is at the required level.

We will make the public aware that they may use Welsh or English when communicating with any of our offices by correspondence, telephone or face-to-face.

We will publish the scheme to our staff, to the public in Wales and on GOV.UK.

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.

Where relevant, the procurement process will take account of the Welsh Language Act requirements.

Monitoring the scheme

Monitoring will be coordinated by the Corporate Reputation team. Each year we will submit a report on progress to the Welsh Language Commissioner as requested. A summary of the report will be published in our annual report. Where necessary, this will include reasons for not meeting any of the commitments set out in this scheme and an explanation of steps we will take to put things right.

Publishing the Scheme

The Scheme will be publicised through the Internet/Intranet and via suitable leaflets/posters, which will be available at our locations throughout Wales, including our Customer Service Centre in Swansea.

Changes to the scheme

We will consult with the Welsh Language Commissioner in advance about any proposals that will affect the scheme and will seek the Commissioner’s approval before altering the scheme.

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 Corporate Reputation at:

DVSA
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street
Nottingham
NG1 6LP

Complaints

Any complaints about the way in which we have implemented the scheme or about our Welsh language service should also be sent to Corporate Reputation at the above address. Complainants will receive a written reply in the language of their complaint.

Approved by the Welsh Language Commissioner. Date of approval: 10 January 2018.