Welsh Language Standards Compliance: Annual Report 2019-20


1. Introduction

1.1. Compliance notice
1.2. Format of this Annual Report

2. Highlights

2.1. Continued high number of staff improving their Welsh-language skills
2.2. Continued increase in Welsh-language enquiries
2.3. Launch of our bilingual online shop
2.4. Successful promotion of Welsh at our conferences
2.5. Successful promotion of our Welsh-language services

3. Priorities for 2019-20

3.1. Continue to support staff to enable them to comply with the Welsh Language Standards
3.2. Continue to provide Welsh-language training for staff
3.3. Promote the use of Welsh across the heritage sector

4. Compliance and promotion

4.1. Service Delivery (Standards 1-9; 11-14; 16-17; 19-22; 24-34; 36; 43-48; 51-55; 57-60; 63-66; 72-73A; 75-80; 82)
4.2. Policy Making (Standards 84-89; 91-93)
4.3. Operational (Standards 94-108; 110-12; 114-17; 120-33; 135-39)
4.4. Record Keeping (Standards 141-48)
4.5. Supplementary (Standards 149-68)

5. Statutory reporting

5.1. Complaints
5.2. Staff Welsh-language skills
5.3. Training provided in Welsh
5.4. Recruitment

6. Priorities for 2020-21

6.1. Monitor and review ways of working
6.2. Continue to support staff
6.3. Continue to provide Welsh Language training for staff
6.4. Promote the use of Welsh across the heritage sector

Appendix 1: Self-regulation checklist Appendix 2: Thematic studies – request for information


1. Introduction

This Annual Report is produced under the Welsh Language Measure (Wales) 2011 and Welsh Language Standards (No. 2) Regulations 2016.

 

1.1. Compliance notice

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (‘the Commission’) received its compliance notice for the Welsh Language Standards in July 2016. The majority of the standards came into force on 25 January 2017 whilst the remaining standards (2, 3, 21, 48, 52 and 101-07) had an imposition date of 25 July 2017.

1.2. Format of this Annual Report

In April 2018, the Welsh Language Commissioner provided a template for self-regulation. This template was used by the Commission’s Welsh Language Monitoring Group as the basis for last year’s Annual Report, and we will continue this practice. (Please find the completed 2019-20 check-list as Appendix 1.)
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2. Highlights

The reporting period, 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, was the third full year for the Commission to comply with the Welsh Language Standards. We have concentrated on consolidating the work done preparing for compliance and continued to support staff in embedding the standards into their everyday work.

 

2.1. Continued high number of staff improving their Welsh-language skills

Many of our staff are committed to improving their Welsh-language skills and, during 2019-20, 38% of our staff embraced the opportunity to attend various Welsh-language courses during work time. One member of staff successfully passed the Mynediad exam, while another achieved a distinction in the Canolradd exam. This continued commitment is paying off, and we are proud of those members of staff who are increasingly using the Welsh-language in the workplace. A particular highlight was one of our learners taking part in the Welsh TV programme Waliau’n Siarad on S4C.

2.2. Continued increase in Welsh-language enquiries

This year we have again seen a significant increase in the annual number of Welsh-language enquiries. It has risen from approximately 1.2% in 2015-16 to 11% in 2018-19 and 20% during the reporting year. 16% of people visiting our Library and 14% using our archive during 2019-20 used the Welsh language (compared to 11% and 9%, respectively, in 2018-19).

2.3. Launch of our bilingual online shop

In December 2019 we were proud to launch our new, fully bilingual, online shop (shop.rcahmw.gov.uk). Our users will be able to select a language preference and shop through the medium of Welsh or English (including the payment pages) accessing our entire catalogue of publications, with out-of-print titles available as eBooks.

2.4. Successful promotion of Welsh at our conferences

Whenever possible the Commission promotes the use of the Welsh language within the heritage sector in Wales and further afield.

At two major conferences organised by the Commission during the reporting period, we proactively encouraged the use of the Welsh language and invited speakers to present their papers in Welsh. Positive feedback received at our annual Digital Past conference included, “I enjoyed hearing Welsh spoken in a professional environment – it has inspired me to learn more!” With international speakers and delegates attending Digital Past, hearing Welsh used helps raise the profile and knowledge of the Welsh language beyond Wales as well as sparking an interest in (the use of) the language.

2.5. Successful promotion of our Welsh-language services

The two main campaigns or activities carried out during the year to engage with our Welsh-language users and to promote our Welsh-language services were attending the National Eisteddfod (and giving a talk in Pabell y Gymdeithas) and supporting the Diwrnod Hawliau’r Gymraeg / Welsh Language Rights’ day on 6 December 2019. As part of the #Maegenihawl campaign we posted on our Social Media channels during the day, with one Facebook post reaching nearly 800 views, and members of staff were reminded of their rights in the workplace.


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3.  Priorities for 2019-20

Building on our already embedded practices, we have continued to provide high-quality bilingual services this year.

The Monitoring Group continued to meet quarterly and successfully completed the ongoing activities noted in its action plan, which was endorsed by the Operational Team and Commissioners. Further work on some of the strategic aims will be carried forward to 2020-21.

During 2019-20 the Commission focused on the following priorities:

 

3.1. Continue to support staff to enable them to comply with the Welsh Language Standards

Support has been ongoing, with staff guidance notes or updates being issued, including on 6 December 2019 in support of the Welsh Language Rights’ Day, organised by the Welsh Language Commissioner. All new members of staff have been informed of the Welsh Language Standards through their Induction programme. Learners were given the opportunity to use their Welsh with external audiences, including at the 2019 National Eisteddfod.

3.2. Continue to provide Welsh-language training for staff

A full programme was offered to staff, at various levels of fluency, during work time and free of charge (either through Cymraeg Gwaith or through individually tailored training).

3.3. Promote the use of Welsh across the heritage sector

Whenever possible the Commission promotes the use of the Welsh language within our sector, including at professional conferences (see also 2.4 above). During the year, the bilingual terminology list created by the Commission was maintained and preparation work for the 2020 Historic Environment Record (HER) Audit took place. The HER Audit will include questions about the amount of Welsh language material available in the HERs, and the number of Welsh language enquiries responded to. The results will be used as a benchmark for future audits.
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4. Compliance and promotion

After two years of observing the Standards, staff have embedded the requirements into our everyday working in all aspects of their work. 

 

4.1. Service Delivery (Standards 1-9; 11-14; 16-17; 19-22; 24-34; 36; 43-48; 51-55; 57-60; 63-66; 72-73A; 75-80; 82)

The Commission provides a bilingual service to the public. We are committed to ensuring an equal service through the medium of Welsh or English. Where required, new working practices were established as part of our implementation of the standards in 2017. No new working practices were introduced during this reporting period.

Further details of our normal working practices and the services we provide to our Welsh-speaking customers can be found in our Welsh Language Policy.

The following paragraphs (4.1.1 – 4.1.3) describe examples of the ways in which the Commission continues to comply with the standards and promotes its Welsh-language services.

4.1.1. Correspondence and telephone communications

When we receive Welsh-language correspondence, if an answer is required, we issue a reply in Welsh within the same target time as replying to correspondence received in English. Correspondence from us will state that we welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh whilst our bilingual electronic signatures also identify Welsh speakers.

To ensure all our staff can answer the telephone with a bilingual greeting, training is offered to staff who require support. The Commission’s automated system for its main telephone number offers callers the option to speak to a member of staff in Welsh and all our answerphones have bilingual recorded messages.

We were pleased to note the near doubling (from 8% to 15%) of the number of Welsh-language telephone calls received during 2019-20 compared to the previous year.

4.1.2. Meetings, visits and public events

The Commission’s Welsh-speaking staff continue to wear a badge and/or lanyard to convey that they are able to provide a Welsh-language service. Several of our learners also wear a ‘Dysgwr’ lanyard. This increases the opportunities for them to use and practice their language skills in the workplace.

The Commission promotes all its events bilingually and prepares bilingual promotional material and information, e.g. exhibition panels, for the public. Revised information leaflets currently being prepared will include the Iaith Gwaith ‘Cymraeg’ symbol to promote our Welsh language services. Newsletters for our EU-funded, Ireland-Wales climate change project CHERISH, are produced bilingually in Welsh/English as well as in English/Irish.

As part of our outreach programme, we have continued to provide bilingual activities for children at our events and hosted group visits to our Search Room. Group visits during the reporting period included the Ceredigion Heritage Youth Panel and students from the Welsh Department.

All activity on the Community Excavation organised by CHERISH in August 2019 was carried out bilingually. On the Open Day, tours of the site were undertaken in Welsh and English, with more than half of visitors (56% or 157 people) choosing the Welsh-language tours compared to 44% (122 people) attending the English tours. The Excavation was featured on S4C’s Heno (through the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust).

Finally, the Commission’s U-boat Project Wales 1914-18: Commemorating the War at Sea (funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund) complied fully with our Welsh Language Standards. The Welsh language was actively promoted throughout the period of the project, including at its conferences, at community engagement events, and with our numerous partners who created bilingual exhibitions. Project Officers, including a learner, appeared on S4C programmes and gave interviews on Radio Cymru. The project’s website, educational resources on Hwb, printed booklet, and content published on the People’s Collection Wales website are all fully bilingual.

4.1.3. Online services

During 2019-20, the Commission has continued to provide an active bilingual presence on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and our corporate website is fully bilingual. Likewise, for CHERISH, all social media posts from the Welsh partners (the Commission and Aberystwyth University) continue to be posted bilingually.

Currently approximately 3% of our followers have selected to receive the Welsh version of the Commission’s blog, which is a similar number to last year.

Due to the way our online analytics accounts are currently set up, it is difficult for us to separate Welsh- and English-language traffic on our websites. To gain some information on our audiences’ language choices, we have looked at the information captured by Google Analytics on the language setting of browsers used by those accessing our websites. Compared to last year’s figures, in 2019-20 we noted a doubling in the percentage of users with browsers set to Cymraeg accessing the Commission’s corporate website (cbhc.gov.uk / rcahmw.gov.uk), from 0.5% to 1.03%. In terms of accessing our Coflein website (coflein.gov.uk), there was a 34% increase in the number of browsers set to Cymraeg compared to 2018-19.

 

4.2. Policy Making (Standards 84-89; 91-93)

The Commission is committed to the Welsh language throughout all its policies and activities.

4.2.1. Responsibility

The responsibility for assessing new or revised policies, initiatives and services lies with the Operational Team (senior management) before they are endorsed by our Board of Commissioners. 

4.2.2. Formulating, reviewing or revising policy

To ensure new policies, initiatives and services will be consistent with the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards, when formulating, reviewing or revising policy, the Commission considers the effects, if any (whether positive or adverse), on opportunities for individuals to use the Welsh language. We consider how we can make a policy decision that has a positive effect on opportunities to use the Welsh language and we ensure that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language.

A Welsh Language Impact Assessment Framework was established as part of our implementation of the standards. During the reporting period, a Welsh Language Impact Assessment was carried out on the Commission’s Digital Delivery project, and actions implemented accordingly. This project, which is developing a new technical platform for Coflein (the Commission’s on-line database), will provide more opportunities to access information through the medium of Welsh. Although the services are delivered in the context of our exemption from Standard 48, we will be providing functionality to add more bilingual descriptive content to the database and allowing for its retrieval by the public. We are also working with an external supplier, iBase, to investigate ways to embed bilingual functionality for e-commerce and licensing.

 

4.3. Operational (Standards 94-108; 110-12; 114-17; 120-33; 135-39)

To ensure compliance with the operational standards, the Commission reviewed and revised several of its internal documents and policies, and updated procedures prior to our Compliance Notice’s imposition dates.

4.3.1. Providing bilingual documents to our staff

All the documents listed in the relevant Standards were revised and available to staff in Welsh and English meeting our Compliance Notice’s imposition dates. During the reporting period, the two newly appointed members of staff were given the option of receiving their employment documents in Welsh.

4.3.2. Staff Welsh-language skills

A Welsh-language skills audit was carried out during the reporting period. Please see section 5.2 for further details.

In terms of post requirements, 26 members of staff (70%) have the minimum level of Welsh required for their post. This is down 1 (3%) from last year. However, this compares to only 14 (44%) in 2017.

4.3.3. Welsh-language training (Standards 126-27)

The Commission strongly encourages and supports staff to learn Welsh and to develop their language skills. During the reporting period:

  • 14 members of staff (38%) attended weekly Welsh language lessons during working hours, the majority as part of the Cymraeg Gwaith scheme.
  • One member of staff attended a one-week intensive Welsh course, arranged by Cymraeg Gwaith, at Nant Gwrtheyrn.
  • One member of staff attended the annual Summer School in Aberystwyth.
4.3.4. Awards and achievements

One member of staff successfully passed the Mynediad exam, while another achieved a distinction in the Canolradd exam.

 

4.4. Record Keeping (Standards 141-48)

The Commission’s current registry filing system continues to be used to keep all records regarding the Welsh Language as stated in our Compliance Notice.

 

4.5. Supplementary (Standards 149-68)

4.5.1. The following documents are available on the Commission’s website:

Compliance Notice, with a copy available in the Library and Search Room in order to notify the public (149, 155, 161, 167).

Compliance Document, which explains how the Commission intends to comply with all the standards with which it is under a duty to comply (153, 159, 165).

Complaints Policy, which sets out how to contact us with a concern or complaint, and the procedure that the Commission will follow in considering complaints (150, 156, 162).

Welsh Language Policy (151).

This Annual Report (152, 158, 164).

4.5.2. Ensure effective monitoring of the Welsh Language Standards

Monitoring occurs both informally, by individual members of the Monitoring Group, and formally through the quarterly meetings, reporting to the Operational Team and Commissioners. The monitoring group also prepared an action plan to support the delivery of its priorities.

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5. Statutory reporting

5.1. Complaints

No formal complaints were received during the reporting period.

5.2. Staff Welsh-language skills

A Welsh-language skills audit was carried out during the reporting period. Staff were asked to self-assess their language skills for listening/speaking, reading/understanding and writing (level 0 = no Welsh language skills, 5 = proficient) using the ‘Can Do’ statements on the ALTE Framework.

The results showed that out of 37 staff in post at that time:

  • 37 staff (100%) had some level of skill in Welsh;
  • 20 staff (54%) had skills assessed as level 3 and above;
  • 17 staff (46%) had skills assessed at below level 3;
  • 4 staff (11%) had skills assessed as having improved since the last survey in 2018.

5.3. Training provided in Welsh

During the reporting period no training courses were provided (in either Welsh or English) on the topics listed in standards 124 and 125.

 

5.4. Recruitment

5.4.1. Staff

During the reporting period, four vacant posts were filled. Welsh-language skills were essential for all posts, to at least level 4 for three of these.

All new appointments were given the option of receiving their employment documents in Welsh and received an induction outlining their duties and responsibilities under the Welsh Language Standards.

5.4.2. Commissioners

The Commission is in the process of recruiting two new Commissioners (this was halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak). Both positions were advertised with Welsh-language skills desirable to at least level 2.
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6. Priorities for 2020-21

The priorities for 2020-21 will include the following:

6.1. Monitor and review ways of working

We will ensure that the Commission continues to comply fully with the Welsh Language Standards during a period of change due to COVID-19.

6.2. Continue to support staff

We will continue to support staff to enable them to comply with the Welsh Language Standards while working at home during this unprecedented time and to support newly appointed members of staff to embed the Standards.  

6.3. Continue to provide Welsh-Language training for staff

We will continue to provide Welsh-language training options to increase staff skill levels (including establishing the use of distance learning), and a pronunciation session. (Because the majority of our staff attending weekly Welsh-language lessons have done so as part of the Welsh Government-funded Cymraeg Gwaith scheme for the past three years, with the abrupt ending of this scheme at the end of March 2020, arranging a replacement at short notice was a priority.)

6.4. Promote the use of Welsh across the heritage sector

We will continue to offer leadership in the use of Welsh across the historic environment sector by promoting the use of the agreed Welsh-language terminology prepared as part of work to develop standards for the sector. We will use the results of the 2020 Historic Environment Record (HER) Audit, which will include questions about the amount of Welsh language material available on the HERs, and the number of Welsh language enquiries they have responded to, as a benchmark for future audits.
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Appendix 1: Self-regulation checklist

RECORD KEEPINGYes / NoComments / Action identified
The Royal Commission (RCAHMW):
Keeps a record of the number of complaints it receives relating to its compliance with the standards;YesKept on Registered File. See Annual Report.
Keeps a copy of every written complaint that it receives relating to its compliance with the standards;YesKept on Registered File. See Annual Report.
Keeps a copy of every written complaint that it receives that relates to the Welsh language;YesKept on Registered File. See Annual Report.
Keeps a record of the steps that it has taken to ensure compliance with the policy making standards.Yeshttps://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-information/welsh-language/compliance-document/
The Royal Commission (RCAHMW):
Keeps a record of the number of employees who have Welsh language skills, and the level of those skills where it has that information;YesKept on Registered File.
Keeps a record of every assessment in respect of the Welsh language skills that are required for new and vacant posts;YesKept on Registered File.  
Keeps a record of the number of new and vacant posts which were categorised as posts where Welsh language skills are essential, desirable, not necessary, or need to be learnt;YesKept on Registered File.  
Keeps a record of the number (and percentage, if relevant) of staff members who attended specific training that must be provided in Welsh if it is available in English (namely training on recruitment and interviewing, performance management, complaints and disciplinary procedures, induction, dealing with the public, and health and safety).YesKept on Registered File.  
PROMOTING ARRANGEMENTSYes / NoComments / Action identified
The Royal Commission (RCAHMW):
Has published a document on its website recording all the standards with which it is under a duty to comply (e.g. by publishing a copy of its compliance notice);Yeshttps://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-information/welsh-language/
Has published a complaints procedure on its website.Yeshttps://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-information/policies/complaints-policy/
The complaints procedure notes how the organisation will:
Deal with complaints about its compliance with the standards;Yes
Train staff to deal with those complaints.Yes
The Royal Commission (RCAHMW) has arrangements for:
Overseeing its compliance with the standards with which it is under a duty to comply;YesWelsh Language Monitoring Group
Promoting the Welsh language services that it offers in accordance with the standards;Yes
Facilitating the use of the Welsh language services that it offers in accordance with the standards.Yes
The Royal Commission (RCAHMW):
Has published a document on its website that records its arrangements for overseeing, promoting and facilitating;Yeshttps://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-information/welsh-language/welsh-language-policy-2020-22
Has published a document on its website which explains how it intends to comply with the standards with which it is under a duty to comply.Yeshttps://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-information/welsh-language/compliance-document/
ANNUAL REPORTYes / NoComments / Action identified
The Royal Commission (RCAHMW):
Has published a Welsh language standards annual report on its website by 30 September (no later than 6 months following the end of the relevant financial year);Yeshttps://rcahmw.gov.uk/welsh-language-standards-compliance-annual-report-2019-20
Has publicised the annual report.YesNotice on Twitter, Facebook and to Friends network.
The annual report:
Deals with the way in which the organisation has complied with the different classes of standards imposed upon it;Yes
Includes the number of employees who have Welsh language skills;Yes
Includes the number (and percentage, if relevant) of staff members who attended specific training that must be provided in Welsh if it is available in English (namely training on recruitment and interviewing, performance management, complaints and disciplinary procedures, induction, dealing with the public, and health and safety);Yes
Includes the number of new and vacant posts categorised as ones where Welsh language skills are essential, desirable, not necessary, or need to be learnt;Yes
Includes the number of complaints the organisation received about each class of standards.Yes

To download this document as a PDF, click here: Welsh Language Standards Annual Report 2019-20

Mae’r ddogfen hon hefyd ar gael yn y Gymraeg | This document is also available in Welsh.

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