Following a wide-ranging investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner and the imposition of enforcement measures, Blaenau Gwent Council has committed to improving its Welsh language services across the board.

While monitoring and assessing the Council's service, it was found that there were suspected failures to comply with the Service Delivery Standards relating to the Council's telephone services. But after carrying out a subsequent investigation, a number of failures to comply with Welsh Language Standards were found in the fields of telephony services, promotion of services, assessing staff language skills, providing training opportunities and assessing the linguistic needs of jobs.

According to the Commissioner, it is necessary to address the Council's action plans when offering Welsh language services,

"After an initial investigation to assess the Council's telephone services, it became clear that none of the centre’s staff members who dealt with telephone calls were able to speak Welsh. This raised concerns that there were wider problems in terms of recruitment, training and awareness of the Welsh language within the organisation and the scope of the investigation was expanded.

"Steps have been taken in order to ensure the Council complies with the Welsh Language Standards in the areas of telephony, promotion of services, assessing staff language skills, providing training opportunities and assessing the language needs of jobs.

The Commissioner added,

"In order to succeed in offering quality Welsh language services, an organisation must consider the Welsh language with a top down approach. It is pleasing to note that the Council has co-operated fully with our investigation and has accepted that amendments are needed to its operating arrangements.

"I look forward to seeing the reforms implemented and the result will mean services available in Welsh for Blaenau Gwent residents."

Blaenau Gwent Council has accepted the findings of the Commissioner's report in full and Damien McCann, Interim Chief Executive, said,  

"We accept the Commissioner's ruling and have worked closely with the Commissioner’s office throughout the investigation. As a result, we have already committed to providing more resources that will improve the standing of the Welsh language within the Council and to fully undertake the recommended steps.

"In addition, and in order to ensure that the work proceeds as is necessary, we have established an executive group which will report directly to the Chief Executive on the actions."


A copy of the report can be viewed here.