A member of the public made a complaint after receiving an English only email from his local authority about garden waste collection arrangements.
The local authority was of the opinion that it had complied with the Welsh Language Standards as the complainant had previously told them that English was their preferred language.
When an organisation sends the same correspondence to a number of people, the Welsh Language Standards place a duty on the organisation to send a Welsh language version of the correspondence at the same time as the English language version.
The findings of the investigation
The investigation found that the e-mail sent by the local authority to the complainant was correspondence sent to all those who subscribed to the garden waste collection service. The email was sent at the end of the subscription period, which varied from person to person.
Although the email was sent to the complainant's personal account, and although not everyone received the correspondence at the same time, the content of the email was not tailored to the complainant in any way, with the same message being given.
This meant that the standards relating to sending correspondence to a number of people, and not the standards relating to sending correspondence to individuals, were the relevant standards. By failing to send a Welsh language version of the correspondence at the same time as the English language version of it, the local authority had breached the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards.
What must be done to comply?
A Welsh language version of correspondence must be sent with the English language version when sending correspondence to a number of people.
This must be done if the person receiving the correspondence has stated that English is their preferred language.
This must also be done if the correspondence is not sent to everyone at the same time, and the contact details of the person receiving the correspondence have been personalised (e.g. name, address, email address).
This matter is relevant to standard 4 of the Welsh Language Standards Regulations - No. 1.