[lg policy] Wales:Complaints about Welsh language will not be handled by Ombudsman

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 10:10:21 EST 2018

Complaints about Welsh language will not be handled by Ombudsman

   - 18 January 2018

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A bid by the Public Services Ombudsman to add complaints about Welsh
language provision to his duties has been rejected.

Nick Bennett made the offer saying he could investigate matters more
quickly than the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Eluned Morgan, minister for the Welsh language, said the "difficulties
outweigh the benefits" of the idea.

She said it would need an extension of the Ombudsman's powers to cover
private firms and UK government departments.

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Ms Morgan's predecessor Alun Davies announced in August that the Welsh
language commissioner role was being scrapped.

During a consultation on the idea, Mr Bennett suggested he take over
investigations, claiming the current system was "over-bureaucratic" and

While she saw "merit" in the Ombudsman's proposal, Ms Morgan said "a number
of difficulties emerge".

"If we were to act on the Ombudsman's proposal, we would need to extend the
scope of the Ombudsman's powers significantly.

"At present, the Ombudsman's jurisdiction only extends to devolved public
services. This would need to be extended in order to include UK government
departments and, potentially, any private sector body."
Image caption Nick Bennett's proposal led to a social media spat with Plaid
Cymru AM Adam Price

Ms Morgan said the Ombudsman's suggestion "would have implications much
wider than Welsh language policy alone", and she felt "the difficulties
outweigh the benefits".

"I shall not be pursuing it further and I will not be conducting a
consultation on the proposal," she added.

"It has, nevertheless, given us food for thought and I thank the Ombudsman
for his valuable and stimulating contribution to the debate on Welsh
language legislation."

Welsh Language pressure group Cymdeithas yr Iaith had objected to the
Ombudsman's proposal.

It also sparked a heated social media exchange between Mr Bennett and Plaid
Cymru AM Adam Price.

The AM had accused the Ombudsman of "tacitly supporting" the abolition of
the Welsh Language Commissioner's post.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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