Welsh Language Scheme

Carmarthen Town Council
Prepared under the Welsh Language Act 1993
The Scheme received the approval of the Welsh Language Board under Section 14(1) of the Act on 21 July 1997
WELSH LANGUAGE BOARD
JULY 1997 (REVIEWED IN 2008)

CONTENTS



A STATEMENT
B INTRODUCTION to Carmarthen Town Council
C WELSH LANGUAGE SCHEME
1. Service Planning and Delivery
2. Dealing with the Welsh-speaking public
3. The Council’s public face
4. Implementing and Monitoring the Scheme


A. STATEMENT

Carmarthen Town Council has adopted the principle that in the conduct of public business in Wales it will treat Welsh and English on a basis of equality. This scheme sets out how the Council will implement that principle in the provision of services to the public in Wales.

The Council recognises that members of the public can express their views and needs better in their preferred language, that enabling them to use their preferred language is a matter of good practice rather than a concession and that the denial of that right could place members of the public at a real disadvantage. The Council will therefore offer the pubic the right to choose which language to use in dealings with the Council.

The Council aims:

  • to enable everyone who receives or uses the Council’s services or contributes to the democratic process to do so through the medium of Welsh of English, according to personal choice;
  • to encourage the use of the Welsh language in the life of the area it serves;
  • to encourage the use of the Welsh language by other public bodies which have dealings with the Council and to support and encourage the use of Welsh by organisations and businesses which provide services for the public in the area served the Council.

B. INTRODUCTION TO CARMARTHEN TOWN COUNCIL
 
The Council serves Carmarthen Town which occupies an area of some 2,064 hectares. Some 48% of the population of 12,240 are Welsh speakers. The Council’s offices are situated at St Peter’s Civic hall, Nott Square, Carmarthen and it also has staff based at the town’s Parks and Cemetery.

The Council consists of 18 elected members and employs 16 staff (together with additional temporary staff over the Summer months). The Town Clerk is the head of the Authority’s paid service.

The Council’s duties include the running, maintenance and marketing of St Peter’s Civic Hall; the maintenance of buildings and grassed areas at the town’s five parks; the provision and maintenance of playground equipment; the upkeep of the town’s Roman Amphitheatre and ancient Monuments; the maintenance of public clocks; the provision and maintenance of burial facilities at the Town Cemetery; the planting and care of flower beds and hanging baskets in the town and beds on roundabouts and open spaces; the clearing of public footpaths; the provision, where agreed, of public seats, benches and litter bins; responsibility for street lighting and the provision of Christmas lights in the town each year.

The Council also provides financial assistance to the town’s Leisure Centre and the Oriel Myrddin Gallery, and makes grants to voluntary bodies in the town. In additional the office provides the administrative and secretarial service of the offices of Town Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Sheriff.

In the past the Town Council has undertaken work for the then Dyfed County Council and Carmarthen District Council on an ‘agency’ basis. It is hoped that this tradition of co-operation will continue under the new Carmarthenshire County Council.

C. WELSH LANGUAGE SCHEME

1. SERVICE PLANNING AND DELIVERY

1.1 New Policies and Initiatives

1.1.1 The Council will assess the linguistic implications of any new policies or initiatives when formulating them.
1.1.2 New policies and initiatives will promote and facilitate the use of Welsh wherever possible and will move the Council closer to implementing the principle of equality fully at every opportunity.
1.1.3 Any new policies and initiatives will be consistent with the scheme.
1.1.4 The Welsh Language Board will be consulted in advance regarding proposals which will affect the scheme or will affect the schemes of other organisations. The scheme will not be altered without the Board’s agreement.
1.1.5 Those involved in policy formulation will be aware of the scheme, and of the Council’s responsibilities under the Welsh Language Act 1993.
1.1.6 The measures contained in the scheme will be applied to new policies and initiatives when they are implemented.

1.2 Delivery of Services

1.2.1 The Council will aim to ensure that all aspects of its service to the public in Wales will be available through the medium of Welsh by:

  • adopting procedures which will enable the provision of services in the language chosen by the service users;
  • maintaining a translation service in the office and employing external translators if necessary.
1.2.2 The measures set out in the scheme will apply to all the services delivered by the Council to the public.
1.2.3 Members of staff will be fully aware of the requirements of the scheme and the Town Clerk will be responsible for ensuring that all the requirements are reflected in the work carried out by the Council’s staff.

1.3 Standards of Quality

1.3.1 Services provided in English and Welsh will be of an equally high standard. The Council will ensure that it provides a consistent standard of service in Welsh in all areas of its work.
1.3.2 The Council’s commitment to providing an equally high standard of service in both languages will be stated in documents such as the Town Guide.
1.3.3 Service delivery in both languages will comply with the existing commitment to standard and promptness in dealing with Council’s business.
1.3.4 The standards applied to Welsh language services and their implementation will be monitored on a regular basis.

2. DEALING WITH THE WELSH-SPEAKING PUBLIC 

2.1 Written and Electronic Communication

2.1.1 The Council will welcome written or electronic correspondence in either English or Welsh.
2.1.2 Correspondence through the medium of Welsh will not of itself lead to any delay.
2.1.3 All written or electronic correspondence with the Council requiring a reply will receive a signed reply in the language of the original letter.
2.1.4 All written or electronic correspondence following a telephone or face-to-face conversation in Welsh will be in Welsh unless the member of the public has indicated otherwise.
2.1.5 Written or electronic correspondence ensuing from a meeting where it has been established that the person’s preferred language is Welsh, although the meeting may not have been held through the medium of Welsh, will be in Welsh.
2.1.6 All written or electronic correspondence with a member of the public will be initiated in his/her preferred language if known. If it is not known initial correspondence from the Council will be bilingual.
2.1.7 All circular or standard letters to the public will be bilingual.
2.1.8 The Council’s official notepaper will include a statement in both languages making it clear that correspondence in both languages is welcome.
2.1.9 The Council’s translator will have responsibility for the quality of written Welsh in correspondence produced by the Council.
2.1.10 The Town Clerk will be responsible for organising the translation of correspondence.

2.2 Telephone communication

2.2.1 The Council welcomes telephone enquiries in Welsh or English.
2.2.2 All external calls will be greeted bilingually.
2.2.3 Those answering the telephone will be able to deal with calls in both languages. Until that is achieved, non-Welsh speaking staff will explain their position courteously and offer to transfer the caller to a Welsh speaker. If no Welsh speaker is available, the person receiving the call will take the caller’s name and number and will ensure that a Welsh speaker returns the call as soon as possible.
2.2.4 Guidelines on correct procedure will be issued to appropriate members of staff.
2.2.5 Any answering machines installed by the Council will relay bilingual messages.

2.3 Public Meetings

2.3.1 Contributions will be welcome in English or Welsh at public meetings organised by or on behalf of the Council. This will be made clear in the literature convening or publicising the meeting.
2.3.2 Translation facilities will be provided for non-Welsh speakers at all public meetings organised by or on behalf of the Council.
2.3.3 The Council currently hires simultaneous translation equipment from Carmarthenshire County Council for use at St Peter’s civic hall. The Council hopes to replace its own outdated equipment in due course.
2.3.4 All publicity for public meetings will itself be bilingual.
2.3.5 At least the Chair or one key speaker will make use of Welsh at all public meetings arranged by or on behalf of the Council where simultaneous translation facilities are provided.
2.3.6 All written information used at a meeting, such as ohp slides, leaflets or captions, will be bilingual.
2.3.7 Welsh speakers will be present to welcome the public and deal with any queries on arrival.
2.3.8 In the event of the Council purchasing new translation equipment this will be available for hire to other bodies in the town upon request.

2.4 Other Meetings with the Public

2.4.1 The Council will welcome meetings with the public in either English or Welsh.
2.4.2 Employees coming into contact with members of the public at a service counter should be able to work in both languages. Until this is achieved, non-Welsh speaking staff will explain their position courteously and offer to involve a Welsh speaker. If no Welsh speaker is available the person will be invited to discuss the matter in English, or offered the alternative of being contacted by a Welsh speaker as soon as possible.
2.4.3 Meetings on Council premises: If the preferred language of the person is known to be Welsh, the Council will seek to ensure that the person is met by a bilingual member of staff.

2.5 Other dealings with the Public

2.5.1 The Council does not at present have contact with the public through the computerised media, but should this be the case in the future then that contact will comply with the measures set out under Written Communication.
2.5.2 Public address systems used by the Council on its premises or elsewhere will comply with the provisions of the scheme.

3. THE COUNCIL’S PUBLIC FACE 

3.1 Corporate Identity

3.1.1 The Council’s name is Cyngor Tref Caerfyrddin/Carmarthen Town Council.
3.1.2 The Council will adopt a fully bilingual corporate identity.
3.1.3 The Council’s name will appear in both languages on all external and internal signs in all areas, on publications, and on motor vehicles and buildings owned by the Council.
3.1.4 All official letter headings, fax paper and compliment slips will be bilingual.
3.1.5 The Council’s Coat of Arms includes a motto in Welsh only.

3.2 Signs

3.2.1 All new information signs or those replacing previous signs on Council property, including internal areas to which members of the public have access, will be bilingual, as will any other public information signs for which the Council is responsible. The two languages will appear side by side but where this is impractical the Welsh will appear first.
3.2.2 The size, quality, legibility and prominence of text on signs will respect the principle of equality.
3.2.3 If separate signs are used for the two languages, they will appear together and be equal in terms of format, size, quality, legibility and prominence.
3.2.4 When the Council is consulted about highways and public information signs it will support the principle that signs be fully bilingual.
3.2.5 When the Council is consulted about names for new developments, it will support the principle that Welsh names be adopted. Where the difference between Welsh and English versions of a name is merely spelling, the Council will support the adoption of the Welsh form.

3.3 Publishing and Printing Material

3.3.1 All publications aimed at the public in Wales will normally be bilingual with both language versions forming one document. The versions will be printed side by side where possible to facilitate easy cross-reference.
3.3.2 If Welsh and English versions are published separately they will appear simultaneously, be distributed together and be equally accessible.
3.3.3 The selling price of a bilingual document will be no greater than that of the same document in one language.
3.3.4 The selling price of the Welsh version will be no greater than that of the English version.
3.3.5 All Agendas and Minutes of meetings of the full Council, and minutes of the General Purposes Committee, Finance Committee and Management Committee, will be produced bilingually.
3.3.6 Agendas and Minutes of other meetings, and Reports and other background information produced in-house by officers or Councillors, may be produced in English or Welsh or bilingually.
3.3.7 Such text, if produced in English only or in Welsh only, may be translated in the office if a request is received from a member of the public for a version in the other language.
3.3.8 All documents for publication will be translated and proof-read by the translator or an external translator if necessary.
3.3.9 Any other type of printed material, whether on paper or any other material, e.g. invitations, posters, cards, programmes, maps etc., will be bilingual.
3.3.10 The Welsh Language Board’s Guide to Bilingual Design will be made available to those involved with publications.

3.4 Forms and explanatory material

3.4.1 All forms and explanatory material published by the Council for use by the pubic in Wales will be bilingual with both language versions forming one document.
3.4.2 All releases will include a contact name for Welsh language interviews.

3.5 Press Release

3.5.1 All press and media releases will be bilingual.
3.5.2 All releases will include a contact name for Welsh language interviews.

3.6 Advertising and Publicity Activities

3.6.1 Advertising and publicity activities will be contacted bilingually in a way which treats both languages on a basis of equality.
3.6.2 All publicity material will be bilingual.
3.6.3 Any marketing or advertising campaigns carried out by or on behalf of the Council via the Press, television, radio etc. will be fully bilingual.
3.6.4 Promotional literature prepared for the tourist market will be bilingual.
3.6.5 Posters and information boards will be bilingual.
3.6.6 Any public surveys carried out by the Council will be bilingual along with any response mechanisms linked to campaigns to promote information.
3.6.7 Any public exhibitions staged by or on behalf of the Council will be bilingual.

3.7 Official notices, public notices and staff recruitment advertising

3.7.1 Advertisements and notices in the press, on notice boards or on any other medium will appear bilingually.
3.7.2 Advertisements for all jobs will appear bilingually in English/bilingual publications and in Welsh only in Welsh language publications.
3.7.3 If no suitably qualified Welsh speaker applies for a post for which Welsh is considered essential, it will be readvertised containing a statement that any appointee will be required to learn Welsh (see 4.3.3).
3.7.4 Written guidance on the correct procedures will be issued to staff involved in advertising.

4. IMPLEMENTING AND MONITORING THE SCHEME

4.1 Staffing

4.1.1 Ideally, departments having contact with the publice will have Welsh speakers available so that it will be possible to provide a full service through the medium of Welsh. Until this is achieved, the procedure noted in paragraph 2.4.2 will be followed.
4.1.2 There will be a review of staff skills to establish the distribution of Welsh speakers, and to identify the posts where the ability to work through the medium of Welsh is deemed desirable or essential. Future job descriptions will be drawn up accordingly.
4.1.3 The desired distribution of Welsh speakers will then be achieved through staff training and future recruitment thus implementing the staffing strategy.
4.1.4 The maintenance of the desired level of Welsh speaking staff will be monitored regularly.

4.2 Learning Welsh

4.2.1 Members of staff who deal with the public will be encouraged to attend appropriate Welsh courses locally. No-one will be required to do so.
4.2.2 Learners will be encouraged to apply for recognised qualifications such as NVQ.
4.2.3 Staff learning Welsh will be encouraged to use their Welsh in the workplace.
4.2.4 Copies of appropriate publications, including the Local Government Dictionary, will be provided in the office.

4.3 Recruitment

4.3.1 Linguistic ability will be one of a number of skills considered in staff appointments. Where the ability to work through the medium of Welsh is considered essential or desirable for any post, this will be specified when recruiting to that post.
4.3.2 In a situation where two candidates for a post where Welsh is desirable have equal qualifications and experience, the level of skills in bilingualism will guide the final decision.
4.3.3 Should it be necessary to appoint a non-Welsh speaking individual for a post for which Welsh is deemed essential, a condition of employment will be to learn the language to the required level within an agreed period and with the support of the Council.
4.3.4 Publicity will be given to the fact that Welsh speakers are welcome to join the workforce by ensuring that all job advertisements appear bilingually and that the information is transmitted to the Job Centre when relevant.

4.4 Administrative Arrangements

4.4.1 This scheme has the full support of the Council and the Town Clerk.
4.4.2 The responsibility for implementing the Scheme within the Council will rest with the Town Clerk, who will:
  • ensure that guidelines and instructions are available to all staff involved in the implementation of the scheme;
  • monitor the implementation of the scheme;
  • provide an annual report on implementation to the Welsh Language Board;
4.4.3 The Council will ensure that all members of staff are made aware of the implications of the implications of the scheme by providing detailed guidelines on implementation and an introductory seminar.
4.4.4 Specifications for new, replacement or adapting computer programmes will enable the Council to implement the commitments in the scheme.

4.5 Services delivered on behalf of the Council by other parties

The Council does not at present use third parties to provide public services on its behalf but should this be the case in the future then any arrangements made will comply with the requirements of the scheme.

4.6 Statutory Functions

When the Council is consulted on planning applications, it will encourage applicants to erect bilingual signs on premises in the town such as offices and shops by:

  • referring to the bilingual nature of the area;
  • indicating that the Council is willing to provide advice and assistance regarding bilingual signage.

4.7 The Translation Service

4.7.1 The written translation needs of the Council will be the responsibility of the translator who will also be responsible for the quality of all Welsh text produced.
4.7.2 The Council’s translator will be a suitable qualified person able to produce a high quality service.
4.7.3 If the translator is not able to complete the work in the time required, an external professional translator will be employed.
4.7.4 The Town Clerk will have responsibility for arranging simultaneous translating facilities for all the Council’s requirements. This service will be available at all meetings of the full Council and at public meetings arranged by or on behalf of the Council.

4.8 Monitoring

4.8.1 The implementation of the scheme will be monitored.
4.8.2 Responsibility for monitoring will rest with the Town Clerk who will provide a report annually to the Welsh language Board.
4.8.3 The following items will be included in the monitoring process:

Forward planning:

  • Ensuring that new policies, or new publications and computer programmes, will be in keeping with the delivery o bilingual services on a basis of equality.

Delivering services:

  • the implementation of arrangements made to deliver the Council’s services bilingually, and their effectiveness;
  • how well the Council is encouraging and facilitating the use of Welsh by other public bodies.

Dealing with the Welsh speaking public:

  • response times for Welsh correspondence;
  • the implementation of the measures on telephone communication;
  • the quality and use of simultaneous translation services;
  • the arrangements for public meetings;
  • the bilingual atmosphere of the workplace to which the public has access.

The Council’s public face:

  • implementation of the Council’s corporate image;
  • the introduction of bilingual publications, forms signs, notices and other published material.

Staffing:

 

  • The extent to which the desired level of Welsh-speaking staff, and staff training, is being achieved.

 

Timetable:

 

  • Achievement against the scheme’s timetable. 

 

Grievances: 

 

  • The number and nature of complaints received relating to the Council’s service in the Welsh language and suggestions for improvements.

 

4.8.4 The Council will conduct periodic opinion surveys to test the views of Welsh speakers on the range and standard of its services in Welsh.
4.8.5 All publicity concerning the scheme will state the name of the person to whom complaints concerning its implementation should be made. All complaints received will be acknowledged in writing, recorded and dealt with as appropriate.
4.8.6 The Council will encourage and welcome suggestions from the staff and the public for improvements to any aspects of the scheme. All suggestions received will be acknowledged in writing.
4.8.7 All members of staff will receive a description of correct procedures for the implementation of the scheme.


4.9 Targets against which implementation can be monitored

The implementation of the scheme will be measured against the timetable provided (see 4.11 below). The existing commitment to standard and promptness in dealing with the Council’s business will be maintained from the outset (see 1.3.3).

4.10 Publishing Information

Reports on the implementation of the scheme will be published annually. These will involve matters such as:

  • time taken to respond to correspondence in Welsh;
  •  percentage of publications produced bilingually;
  •  percentage of press statements published bilingually;
  •  performance in meeting deadlines for processing applications

Made in Welsh;

  • number of Welsh speakers in the workplace;
  • explanations for not reaching the standards and targets set, and a description of the steps that will be taken to remedy the situation.
4.11 Publicity

Information concerning the scheme will be provided for the public in bilingual leaflets distributed from the Council’s offices and other appropriate centres such as the Library, Leisure Centre, Community Centres etc. The publicity material will confirm that the Council offers a full service through the medium of Welsh.

4.12 Timetable

4.12.1 Carmarthen has a high number of Welsh speakers and the use of Welsh on a daily basis is a natural part of life in all its aspects. A considerable number of members, officers and others engaged in local government business naturally use Welsh in their day-to-day work, although currently it so happens that Carmarthen Town Council has few Welsh speakers on its staff. However, most of the items detailed under Sections 2 and 3 of this scheme are already in place.
4.12.2 The Town Clerk and translator will review the existing situation regarding the provision of services in accordance with this scheme, and identify the areas which need attention. The Town Council will need to allocate new funds with regard to the updating/renewal of translating equipment, staff attendance on Welsh language courses as appropriate; additional translation work undertaken and the improvement and development of bilingual design and publication.

4.12.3 The Town Council will begin implementing the scheme (in a formal sense) from the date of its approval by the Welsh Language Board (21 July 1997) with a view to its being largely operational within 12 months thereafter. The only exceptions to this will be as follows:

2.3.3/ Simultaneous translation equipment

2.3.8 Subject to finance being available and research being undertaken into the likelihood of there being a demands for its use by other bodies in the community;

3.2.1 New signs

as the need arises for the erection of new signs and the replacement of existing signs;

3.3.7 Requests for translation of text produced in-house

subject to other Welsh language priorities and staff hours available;

4.1.3 Distribution of Welsh speakers

as opportunities present themselves, arising from:

  • post becoming vacant;
  • resources being available to support any members of staff wishing to attend appropriate Welsh courses.
4.13 Contact within the Council

Any comments, complaints or suggestions regarding the scheme should be directed to:

The Town Clerk
Carmarthen Town Council
St Peter’s Civic Hall
1 Nott Square
Carmarthen SA31 1PG
Tel: 01267 235199
Fax: 01267 221607

 

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