Today, March 30, Dathlu’r Gymraeg, an umbrella group of Welsh language organisations is pleased to see that the 2011 Welsh Language Act is being implemented. The Act states that the Welsh language should be treated no less favorably than the English language. The new standards that come into force today will put the onus on the Government and local authorities to provide services in Welsh.
Dathlu’r Gymraeg calls on the Government, the National Park Authorities and County Councils to act positively and to offer complete provision. The emphasis has shifted from the individual and the responsibility is now on the statutory bodies to provide the service.
The Standards in the Welsh Language Act set the requriements for the provision of services through the Welsh language including individual and public meetings and training. The bodies are expected to give wide publicity to the new provisions.
Penri Williams, Chairman of Dathlu’r Gymraeg stated “The implementation of the Welsh Language Act has taken a long time but now the work of developing the provision can begin. I would encourage people to ask for the new services which will be available and for the Welsh Language Commissioner to take action if there is any failur in the provision. It is high time that the Welsh language is given equal status with English and there is no reason why the new standards should not be implemented across Wales. We will be using the social media networks to report the changes brought about by the Language Act. ”
Provisions of the Welsh Language Act
1. Right to correspond and communicate with organizations in Welsh
2. Right to Welsh telephone service
3. Right to personal meetings in Welsh
4. Right to participate in public meetings in Welsh
5. The right to see and hear public information in Welsh
6. Right to online and interactive services in Welsh
7. Right to face to face services in Welsh
8. Right to education courses in Welsh, such as swimming lessons.
The Welsh Language Commissioner states
On 30 March this year the first set of Welsh language standards become operational. These standards state what organizations should do in Welsh.
The standards create new rights for people to use Welsh.
County councils, the Welsh Government and the National Parks are the first organizations to implement the standards. Over time they will be presented to institutions and other sectors, such as health, post-16 education, public transport, energy, postal services, social housing, telecommunications and much more.
Standards are based on the law; and there is a duty on organizations to comply with them. They should give you confidence that you can use Welsh when dealing with organizations who implement the standards. If you have not been able to receive a satisfactory service in Welsh, please contact me to complain.
To learn more about your rights please visit the ‘Rights to Use Welsh’ section of the website comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru and follow #hawliau on social networks. You are welcome to also contact us by telephone or in writing.