Wales: Council 'ignored' Welsh language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Oct 22 21:29:01 UTC 2008

Council 'ignored' Welsh language

A council has been criticised for failing to specify the ability to
speak Welsh was "at least" desirable in a job advert for its new chief
The Welsh Language Board claimed that Plaid Cymru-run Conwy council
had breached its own language policy. The council said it did not
accept the board's "analysis of the situation" but declined to say
more. Byron Davies, originally from south Wales, has been offered the
job. It is not known if Mr Davies speaks Welsh.

The chair of the Welsh Language Board, Meri Huws, said members were
"disappointed" in the council's attitude towards the Welsh language.
"Most of the council's job descriptions specify that Welsh is at least
desirable," she said. "The number of jobs where Welsh is not at least
desirable, are the exception," she said.  Conwy council placed a
recruitment advert for a new chief executive in early September.

The board immediately launched an inquiry under Section 17 of the
Welsh Language Act because it was unhappy with the failure to include
bilingual material within the recruitment pack.

There was also a failure to specify linguistic needs within the job
advert, the board said.


As part of its inquiry, the board asked the council to assess the
language requirements of the post.

Meri Huws added: "There are five principal duties detailed in the job

"One of them is to communicate with outside partners, and with the public.

"It is difficult to believe that an ability to communicate in Welsh is
not, at least, desirable," she said.

Ms Huws said Conwy had the fifth highest share of Welsh speakers in Wales.

"There are many communities in the county where Welsh is the daily
language," she added.

The council said: "The council does not accept the board's analysis of
the situation.

"But it would be wholly inappropriate and unprofessional to make any
further comment on the matter at this time."

The council announced on Wednesday that the job had been offered to
Byron Davies, originally from south Wales, who is currently Chief
Executive of Caradon District Council, Cornwall.

It is now subject to his formal acceptance of the offer.

It is not known if Mr Davies speaks Welsh.

Published: 2008/10/22 16:16:30 GMT


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