Welsh language under Torfaen spotlight
10:01am Sunday 20th October 2013 in Pontypool news
TORFAEN council’s investment in the Welsh language comes with a price tag of £37,000 per year.
A report highlighting the Welsh language services in the council will be presented to the resources overview and scrutiny committee today.
The aim of the report it to move the council towards the equal production of documentation in English and Welsh across its public services.
But it will need to invest £37,000 initially to put this in place.
Currently the council does not provide access to all council business and services in Welsh and has resulted in 20 complaints in 2012/13.
The cost includes a full bilingual equivalence of services, including the maintenance of the council’s Welsh-language website, Welsh minutes and agendas of all council meeting, and Welsh-language customer support.
It also includes two officers from customer services undertaking a six-week immersion course.
Welsh-language training in 2014 at a cost of £900, and that one additional full-time translator is recruited on an 18-month contract.
The proposal also suggests to add the requirement to be able to speak Welsh for all future customer service vacancies until sufficient capacity is developed and that eight fluent-Welsh-speaking officers should be identified.
Torfaen council is currently subject to a statutory investigation by the Welsh
Language Commissioner in relation to the recent implementation of its automated telephone system.
This investigation was triggered by a public complaint that the council did not introduce the automated telephone system bilingually, but instead introduced the English system in advance of the Welsh system.
Further to this, the Wales Audit Office stated in the council’s Annual Improvement Report for 2011/12 that the council’s progress in improving Welsh-language services has been slow.
Currently, the council employs one full-time Welsh-language officer and one Welsh-language translator.
As a result of increased demand for translation a significant amount of translation is outsourced to external translators, with 2012/13 expenditure amounting to £10,000.
The total expenditure for corporate Welsh-language services in 2012/13 was £114,000.
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