Welsh Language Policy

The Wales Co-operative Centre is Wales’s national body for co-operatives, social enterprises and employee owned businesses. The Centre champions and strengthens co-operatives, social enterprises, and employee owned businesses in Wales.

As well as supporting social businesses, we apply our co-operative values to strengthening communities. We develop and implement co-operative solutions to tackle poverty and promote inclusion.

We recognise that a commitment to the Welsh language fits with our desire to be fair and reflects the importance we place on diversity.

1. Statement

The Centre has adopted the principle that in the conduct of its business in Wales it will treat the English and Welsh languages on the basis of equality so far as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practical.

Much of the Centre’s funding is derived from public sources. Therefore we have a duty to make bilingual provision for the public in accordance with our funding guidelines.

We feel strongly that bilingual services should be provided for the public in order to uphold the following principles:

  • that our clients and other stakeholders can express their opinions and convey their needs better in their preferred language
  • the importance of providing services in the preferred language of the service user
  • that enabling clients and other stakeholders to use their preferred language is an important part of good practice
  • that denying them the right to use their preferred language could put members of the public at a disadvantage

This Scheme explains how the Centre will put into effect these principles in the provision of services for the public in Wales, wherever practical and appropriate.

2. Planning and Delivering Services

2.1 New Policies & Initiatives

In planning new and revised policies or initiatives, the Centre will assess the language implications in order to adhere to the terms of this Scheme. We will apply new policies and initiatives in order to facilitate the use of Welsh and move the organisation closer to putting into effect the principle of equality at every opportunity.

In planning new policies the Centre will ensure that all developments comply with the commitments made in this Scheme and the contractual requirements placed on the organisation by the Welsh Language Act 1993.

The Centre’s senior management team, led by the Chief Executive, will monitor the implementation of this scheme.

2.2 Delivery of Services

The Centre’s aim is to provide a consistent and reliable service for Welsh speakers throughout Wales. As set out in the timescales we will work towards providing a comprehensive service of the same high standard in English and Welsh by:

  • Ensuring that all staff/volunteers know how to refer individuals to Welsh language services
  • Ensuring that service users are aware of which staff speak Welsh by using the Working Welsh badges
  • Providing training and guidance to staff to facilitate the implementation of the Scheme
  • Encouraging the use of Welsh in our offices
  • Finding reliable translation services of a high standard to ensure that all relevant material is translated quickly and reliably
  • Ensuring that where possible and appropriate we employ Welsh speaking staff and procure Welsh speaking sub-contractors to deliver our services
  • Advertising our external job opportunities bilingually within Wales
  • Advertising all procurement opportunities on Sell2Wales in both Welsh and English, and requiring all external providers based in Wales to have a Welsh Language policy
  • Translating any information produced on behalf of a client into Welsh, where requested by the client (including legal documents and ICT reviews)
  • Requesting that organisations to whom we award financial packages of support review the Welsh language needs of their stakeholders and if appropriate develop their own Welsh Language policy
  • Providing materials associated with the delivery of our services – such as forms, guides, promotional materials, reports and websites – in both English and Welsh

3. Communicating with the public

3.1 Written communication

The Centre welcomes correspondence in English and Welsh and those writing in Welsh will receive an answer in Welsh on official bilingual headed paper.

  • Correspondence through the medium of Welsh in itself will not lead to delay
  • All letters received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh
  • If it is known that a customer prefers to receive correspondence in Welsh wherever practical we will correspond with that person in Welsh
  • The headed paper and email signature of the Centre will include a note at the bottom welcoming correspondence in English or Welsh
  • All staff email accounts will include bilingual email signatures

3.2 Telephone Communications

Callers will be welcome to conduct telephone conversations with the Centre in English or Welsh. All callers to the Centre’s central telephone number will be greeted with an automated bilingual message and will be invited to select the language in which they would like to conduct the call. Those who elect to conduct their call in Welsh will be automatically directed to one of the Centre’s Welsh speakers.

If a member of staff is unable to provide a bilingual service, they will explain the situation to an individual and offer a Welsh language service from another staff member. If no Welsh speakers are currently available the caller may choose to have a Welsh speaker phone them back; submit the request in writing (including email), or continue the conversation in English. The Centre will provide an internal directory of Welsh speakers in the organisation to whom calls may be transferred.

The Centre’s central answer machine message will be bilingual.

3.3 Face to face

The Centre has undertaken to ensure that those who wish to have face to face contact with a Welsh speaking member of staff will be able to do so. Efforts will be made to establish teams which include Welsh speakers or which are able to have access to Welsh speakers as required.

3.4 Public meetings and events

When the Centre arranges a large public meeting or event in Wales, we will establish standard practices for bilingual provision.

Notices for all public meetings, events and conferences will be bilingual and will include a statement that the right of those attending to speak English or Welsh will be respected.

Translation needs will be assessed before holding any public meeting or conference. The appropriate translation facilities will be provided on the basis of this assessment. If translation facilities are provided, prior notice will be given that anyone will be welcome to speak Welsh. If, on the basis of the assessment, it is considered that translation facilities are not necessary or practical, this will be made clear beforehand. The assessment will be made on the basis of the purpose or subject matter of the meeting, its location, those likely to attend and any prior information regarding language choice. Equally an assessment will be made of the requirement for Welsh speaking staff member to receive and welcome the public at meetings.

Badges denoting Welsh speakers will be worn to show which members of staff speak Welsh.

4. Corporate Image

4.1 Corporate Identity

The Centre will adopt a completely bilingual corporate image. Written materials, logos and slogans will be bilingual. Headed paper, compliment slips and business cards will all be bilingual with both languages equal in terms of format, size, clarity and prominence.

Display material and information used in exhibitions and events in Wales will be bilingual.

4.2 Signage

The Centre is committed to providing information signage bilingually. Signage will be completely bilingual with both languages displayed in the same way and the same prominence.

4.3 Publications

When printing and publishing materials for the public, the Centre will follow the normal practice of making it bilingual. Bilingual documents will include those distributed to or provided for the public in general and which:

  • Provide information about the Centre’s services
  • Provide information on the Centre’s areas of expertise

Bilingual publications will include pamphlets, booklets, reports, newsletters and corporate publications, conference packs etc.

4.4 Press releases

We are committed to issuing bilingual statements and notices to the Welsh language press and the media whenever possible. It is understood that occasionally it will be necessary to issue press releases in English only, but in all other circumstances the translation process will be incorporated into the planning timescales.

Press releases published on our website will be available in both English and Welsh. Occasionally it may not be possible to publish press releases in both languages at the same time. If the English and Welsh content do not appear together at any time, then the original content will appear with a note informing the reader when the translated content will be available, and the translated version will appear within 2 working days.

Where possible, press releases will include contact details of a Welsh speaking representative of the Centre. This person will be authorised to represent the Centre within the boundaries of their knowledge.

5. Website and information technology

All websites produced by the Centre will be fully bilingual and all English pages will have an equivalent Welsh page. Both languages will appear separately and it will be possible for the user to move from one language to the other at any time by using the language switch button.

Materials published on the Centre’s websites will appear in English and Welsh and will be placed at the same time wherever possible.

If the English and Welsh content are not published at the same time, then the original content will appear with a note informing the reader when the translated content will be available, and the translated version will appear within 2 working days.

In order to help staff work through the medium of welsh, IT software such as Cysgliad (incorporating the Cysill and Cysgeir dictionary and spellchecker) will be available on computers.

5.1 Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is diverse and can be defined and characterised in many different ways. Well known examples include social networking applications (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), collaborative authoring applications (e.g. Wikipedia), media sharing applications (e.g. Flickr, YouTube), social tagging and ranking applications (e.g. Delicious, StumbleUpon) and blogging (e.g. Blogger.com).

The Centre will apply the same Welsh language principles to its use of Web 2.0 technologies as other areas of service delivery and promotion. We aspire to provide equality of experience for both language communities through Web 2.0 technologies.

The Centre’s communications through Web 2.0 platforms will be bilingual. We aim to provide a rich, engaging experience for both language communities.

Welsh and English messages may contain different content, or the organisation may publish the same messages bilingually. Messages may be bilingual or two separate monolingual messages may be posted at the same time.

The Centre will take active steps to avoid letting one language dominate the other by:

  • Following Welsh language organisations and Web 2.0 streams, and re-posting this content
  • Encouraging Welsh speaking staff/volunteers to post in Welsh
  • Publishing content from ‘guest’ contributors in Welsh
  • Translating updates wherever possible

Blogs posted by the organisation will be bilingual wherever possible. Occasionally it may not be possible to publish blogs in both languages at the same time. If the English and Welsh content are not published at the same time, then the original content will appear with a note informing the reader when the translated page will be available, and the translated version will appear within 2 working days.

Comments on the Centre’s Web 2.0 content are welcomed in either language and responses to comments will be given in the same language as the comment. The speed of response should be the same for both languages. Comments and responses will not be translated unless a specific request for this is received by a member of the public.

Where an application or service supports tagging of messages (these may be texts, photos, videos etc.), we will tag in the language appropriate to the message, or if the message has no language, tag in both languages.

The Centre will adopt a language style which is appropriate to the medium of Web 2.0. While an informal style may be appropriate (particularly in the case of responses) the language should be of an acceptable standard of correctness.

Profile information about the Centre on Web 2.0 platforms will be bilingual and we will invite users to comment in both English and Welsh.

Where the Centre is posting comments to Web 2.0 streams hosted by other organisations, we will do so in the predominant language of that stream.

6. Implementing the Scheme

The Centre will endeavour to ensure that staff can provide a service for Welsh speakers in all offices and projects which have contact with the public.

As part of the recruitment process, posts will be reviewed to establish where the need for oral Welsh and/or written Welsh is essential or desirable. Any such requirement will be included in any person specifications. Criteria for assessing the requirement will be established, including the nature of the post and frequency of contact with Welsh speaking members of the public.

7. Learning Welsh

The Centre will encourage and support staff who wish to learn or improve their Welsh and encourage Welsh speakers to use the language whenever practical.

We will assess the training needs of employees in order to identify staff who may benefit from training programmes. In order to do this a Welsh language skills questionnaire will be distributed to all staff on a biannual basis.

The Centre will introduce measures to monitor those who are developing and or learning Welsh language skills and the Centre’s HR department will maintain a register of Welsh speakers.

8. Services by sub-contractors on behalf of the organisation

At times it is necessary for the Centre to contract services to other organisations and individuals. On such occasions the contracted organisation will be notified of the Centre’s commitment to this Welsh Language Scheme and will receive written guidelines on the most appropriate measures for the activity of service undertaken.

If contracts or arrangements are for a short duration and for a specific task or activity it will not be practical to require full compliance with this Scheme. In such cases the appropriate level of compliance will be sought.

9. Implementing and monitoring

9.1 Monitoring

The Centre will monitor the implementation of the Scheme. Each year a report will be provided to the senior management team, to the Board of Directors and to the Welsh Language Commissioner.

The Centre will review and revise the Scheme every three years in consultation with the Welsh Language Commissioner.

9.2 Complaints and feedback

The Centre’s current complaints procedure will encompass any complaints made regarding the implementation of the Welsh language Scheme.

10. Advertising the Scheme

All staff will be made aware of the Scheme and will receive guidelines/training on its use. Reference to the Scheme will be made in the Centre’s learning and development policy. A copy of the Scheme will be available on our website and a hard copy will be provided to clients and other stakeholders on demand.

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