The Welsh Language Commissioner Efa Gruffydd Jones has called on institutions in Wales to do more to provide and promote services available through the medium of Welsh.
In her first assurance report in the role the Commissioner recognises that compliance levels with the Welsh Language Standards have improved but there is a need for institutions to create an environment where Welsh is able to be used naturally every day. By increasing and strengthening Welsh language services over the phone or face to face, the Commissioner believes that improvements could be seen in terms of making the Welsh language more visible in the day-to-day operations of various institutions.
The Commissioner sees the workplace as a crucial part of ensuring the visibility and vitality of Welsh:
‘Growth in Welsh education is essential but it is also necessary to ensure that there are opportunities for our young people to use the Welsh language in the world of work. It is heartening to see that Welsh written services are widely available but there is little progress in the spoken services that are available, even though it is the service that people say they want more than anything.’
‘I recognise that it can be challenging to recruit those with Welsh language skills in order to offer these services but we need to place more importance on the Welsh language and I encourage organisations to create bilingual workforce planning strategies.’
The report is published annually in order to monitor compliance with the Welsh Language Standards and in order to provide institutions with a resource to refer to as they try to improve their Welsh language services.
The report also states the following:
- That 95% of people receive a greeting in Welsh when contacting a public institution over the phone.
- That 90% of the messages that public institutions post on Twitter/X and Facebook are available in Welsh.
- That 72% of those who were asked agree that Welsh language services in public institutions are improving.
- That nearly 75% of the Welsh speakers that were asked understand that there is an opportunity for them to use the Welsh language from day to day.
One finding from the report that has drawn the attention of the Commissioner is the percentage of Welsh speakers that have experienced somebody preventing them from speaking Welsh. 18% of those asked said they had experienced this in the last year, with that figure rising to 29% amongst those who were between 16 and 24 years old.
The Commissioner said:
‘This type of negativity towards the Welsh language undoubtedly affects the confidence of Welsh speakers and is bound to have an impact on the levels of use of the Welsh language.’
To read the full report, and to learn more about the research that informs it, follow this link to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s website.