Time to deliver on Welsh Language Strategies – Aled Roberts

October 23, 2013 11:25 AM

Commenting on the Annual report of the Welsh Language Commissioner, Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for North Wales and Spokesperson on the Welsh Language said:

"I welcome the Commissioner's first report and I also welcome the First Minister's timely statement yesterday in which he confirmed that the original timeframe for implementation of the standards will remain as November 2014.

"Following the disappointment of the Commissioner's standards being rejected earlier in the year, it is important that no more time is lost.

"However, there is still a need for clarity as to when the standards will be applied to other sectors, and also the fact that there will be different models in place for different public bodies. It is curious that the new standards will apply to local government, but health boards will continue to operate under their old schemes.

"There needs to be a clear statement from the Welsh Government as to whether standards will apply to the private sector and if so, to what extent.

"Additionally, recent announcements in relation to Technical Advice Note 20, which explains how the planning system can support the Welsh language, have been notable in their emphasis on further guidance without giving an indication when that guidance will be produced.

"Many local authorities will have already filed their draft local development plans but many of those are based on language assessments on individual planning applications. This approach has been rejected by the Welsh Government in their recent TAN 20 announcement. We need to understand whether those local plans not yet adopted will be referred back to the local authorities in order that they may be re-written to provide for language assessments to be carried out as part of the strategic local plan.

"Finally, the Commissioner's role involves overseeing standards in relation to the provision of Welsh medium education, while responsibility for strategic planning rests with Government.

Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) should all be filed with the Government by December, and it will then be a matter for the Commissioner to monitor implementation.

To ensure a healthy future for the Welsh language the Government needs to ensure that those plans are robust."

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