[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] UK: Penarth Town Council refuses to change Welsh language policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 31 14:28:50 UTC 2014

   Penarth Town Council refuses to change Welsh language policy
 [image: WELSH LANGUAGE ROW: Penarth Welsh Language Society had queried
Penarth Town Council's Welsh language policy (12181981)]

WELSH LANGUAGE ROW: Penarth Welsh Language Society had queried Penarth Town
Council's Welsh language policy (12181981)

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  First published 09:10 Friday 31 October 2014 in News
<http://www.penarthtimes.co.uk/author/profile/61338/> by Chris Seal

PENARTH Town Council has refused to change its Welsh language policy on the
grounds that it would not make sound business sense.

Councillors argued that as they were awaiting guidance about how to comply
with Welsh language standards it would not make sense to amend its existing
policy in the meantime.

A report before the policy and finance committee last night (October 30)
said that a number of queries had been received from the Penarth Welsh
Language Society about the town council’s Welsh Language Scheme over the
last few months, and that town clerk Shan Bowden had sought advice from the
Welsh Language Commissioner.

The Commissioner confirmed that codes of practical guidance on how to
comply with Welsh language standards are still awaited since the Welsh
Language Measure 2011, but offered a number of amendments to the town
council’s existing scheme.

These include: ensuring new policies and initiatives are consistent with
the Welsh Language Scheme, all circular or standard letters to the public
will be bilingual, the Town Clerk will be responsible for translating
correspondence and the Town Council’s official headed paper will include a
statement in both languages making it clear that correspondence is welcome
in either Welsh or English.

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Other amendments include advertising that it would be “desirable” for
future applications for the position of Town Clerk or other key positions
to have bilingual skills.

Labour councillor Gwyn Roberts, who represents the St Augustine’s ward,
said it did not make “sound business sense” to change the existing language

“There is a Welsh Language Scheme adopted and complied with, and to change
a long standing scheme with a new scheme coming soon doesn’t make sound
business sense.

“Changing it now when we will have to change it again doesn’t seem
sensible. What we should be doing is waiting until we have another scheme.”

Labour Councillor Neil Thomas, who represents the Cornerswell ward, said
that he had supported movements to improve Welsh language in Wales for many
years, but said: “This seems a little premature to implement this as
there’s a new different policy in the offing with the Commissioner looking
at codes of practice.

“Maybe we should wait until that comes before moving forward.”

He also questioned the cost implications and added: “I think we are
anticipating codes of practice are going to change again soon, so we should
not make life more expensive than it needs to be.”

Labour Councillor Tracey Alexander, who represents the St Augustine’s ward,
added that she had children educated in Welsh and said that a task and
finish group should be set up to discuss the matter.

Conservative Councillor Anthony Ernest, who represents the Plymouth ward,
added that the amendments stated that the town clerk would be responsible
for translating letters, but “by her own admissions she is not a Welsh

He added: “I think we should wait for definitive guidance to come through.”

Conservative Councillor Martin Turner, who represents the Plymouth ward,
added that as it had recently been agreed to translate the town council
Christmas Brochure into Welsh it would be useful to see what the uptake

Conservative Councillor Clive Williams, who represents the Plymouth ward,
said that the council should be wary about translating legal documents and
other letters into Welsh as “one word wrong and the whole thing goes to

“When we are spending public money we need to take it all into account.”


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