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, we will treat the English and Welsh languages equally.
This scheme sets out how we will uphold this principle when providing services to the public in Wales.
- has ministerial approval
- uses the guidelines issued by the Welsh Language Board
- will be published and available to all our staff and the public
We are responsible for:
- driving up housing supply
- increasing home ownership
- devolving powers and budgets to boost local growth in England
- supporting strong communities with excellent public services.
Some of these responsibilities cover the whole of the UK, while others are limited to Great Britain, England and Wales, or England only.
Service planning and delivering
New policies and initiatives
Early 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, we will make sure that papers 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 make sure that the measures contained in this scheme:
- are applied to new policies and initiatives when they are implemented
- are consistent with this scheme
- don’t undermine the National Assembly for Wales
We will make sure, so far as is within our power, that new legislation and administrative procedures that we are responsible for, don’t prevent or hinder use of the Welsh language. For example, we will make sure that new regulations are not framed in a way that prevents Welsh being used, and that new forms for use by the public don’t prohibit a bilingual Welsh/English format.
Our staff and advisers involved in policy making will be made aware of these commitments by:
- placing a copy of the scheme on our intranet 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 our 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 we deliver 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
- 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
- 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
Where our 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 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 make sure 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 this website
- we make clear in our publications catalogue which documents are available in Welsh
- we monitor implementation of the scheme
Communicating with the Welsh speaking public
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 London. Welsh speakers in Wales generally want 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 our staff is negligible, we don’t think covering the Welsh language 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 make sure 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
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 we meet our 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
Our corporate logo including the words Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 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 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for use on letters we send out in Welsh, and on Welsh/bilingual 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, 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 make sure 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 make sure simultaneous publication of English and Welsh language versions/summaries. Where we issue 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.
We 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.
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 our use
These commitments apply to new publications and to new editions of existing documents.
We will make sure that:
- our 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 important guidance notes to include specific references to Welsh language requirements
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.
Where we advertise in Wales using hoardings, posters or electronic messages, we will make sure 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 taking part in any public exhibition or event in Wales, we will make sure 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.
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.
Official notices and public notices
Where we post official or other public notices in Wales, including adverts about public appointments, we will make sure that Welsh and English versions appear together. They will be equal in terms of size, content, quality and prominence.
Implementing the scheme
We are committed to operating within the terms of the scheme, and to ensuring that everyone in MHCLG 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 our normal administrative processes.
We will make sure 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 make sure that agreements are consistent with the terms of this scheme and specify requirements on the use of Welsh language in relevant documentation.
Our procurement guides 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 make sure that consultants and contractors comply with these requirements.
We haven’t needed to change the department’s existing IT facilities to implement the measures contained in this scheme. We will make sure 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 our 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
- that response time for Welsh correspondence meets our 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 our staff able to speak or write Welsh
- that contractors meet the commitments set out in the our 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 our Welsh Language facilities
We will advertise adoption of the approved scheme by notices in the Welsh language press, online, and in our annual report.
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:
2 Marsham Street
Telephone: 030 3444 0000
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.