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Supporting and promoting the Welsh Language: An inquiry into the legislative, policy and wider context

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The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee is holding an inquiry into supporting and promoting the Welsh language. The Committee’s inquiry will focus on the legislative, policy and wider context.

 

As part of its inquiry, the Committee will undertake post-legislative scrutiny of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011. This will include assessing the implementation of the legislation, its impact and effectiveness. The inquiry will provide an opportunity to assess the Welsh Government’s wider policy decisions as a result of introducing the 2011 Measure, specifically around the Welsh language standards.

The Committee will also consider the wider international context, particularly where there are examples of legislation and language planning that support minority languages.

 

Background

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 substantially changed the framework set by the Welsh Language Act 1993, abolishing the Welsh Language Board, and in its place established a Welsh Language Commissioner. The Measure gave the Welsh language official status in Wales, and sought to phase out Welsh language schemes by introducing Welsh language standards.

 

In August 2017, after a period of consultation, the Welsh Government published its White Paper – Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh Language Bill. In its proposals for new legislation, the Welsh Government note their objectives as:

 

  • Striking the right balance between promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language and regulating Welsh language duties;
  • Reducing bureaucracy in the system; and
  • Ensuring value for money.

 

Some of the most significant proposals include:

 

  • Abolishing the Welsh Language Commissioner and establishing a single main body – The Welsh Language Commission to promote the language and regulate standards.
  • Transfer budgets and resources for other specified promotion work currently undertaken by Welsh Government to the new Commission.
  • Retain Welsh language standards, but only as they apply to services.
  • Only serious complaints to be investigated by the Welsh Language Commission.
  • The Welsh Government to have responsibility for making and imposing standards.

 

In order to consider the Welsh Government’s proposals in context, the Committee is of the view that it is important to look first at the arrangements already in place. The Committee will conduct a broad post-legislative scrutiny inquiry on the implementation of the 2011 Measure and subsequent policy decisions taken by the Welsh Government. The Committee will seek to assess whether the stated aims of the 2011 Measure, building on the Welsh Language Act 1993, have produced or helped achieve the outcomes anticipated. The Committee will also assess aspects of the legislative framework set in 2011 that may not have worked sufficiently or as intended.

In addition to the post-legislative scrutiny of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, the Committee will seek to gather evidence from an international perspective. The Committee will look at minority language legislative developments in other countries to provide context to legislative and language planning development in Wales.

 

After the Committee has completed its work in the above areas it also hopes to consider the use of Welsh in the community, the supporting networks in place and promotion of the language locally as part of this inquiry.

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Assembly Business;

First published: 10/08/2018

Consultations

 

 

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