Welsh Language Standards Compliance: Annual Report 2020–21


1. Introduction

1.1. Compliance notice
1.2. Format of this Annual Report

2. Highlights

2.1. Our bilingual enquiries services continued online 
2.2. Staff continued to improve their Welsh-language skills
2.3. We established a weekly ‘Sgwrs dros Baned’
2.4. We took part in the Eisteddfod AmGen
2.5. Our resources were used for the S4C series ‘Hewlfa Drysor’
2.6. We promoted Welsh Language Rights Day
2.7. We delivered good governance and continuous improvement

3. Priorities for 2020–21

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
5.4. Training provided in Welsh
5.5. Recruitment

6. Priorities for 2021–22

6.1. Continue to support staff
6.2. Continue to provide Welsh-language training for staff
6.3. Review our translation services
6.4. Promote the use of Welsh across the heritage sector

Appendix 1: Self-regulation checklist


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 the last three years’ Annual Report, and we have continued this practice. (Please find the completed 2020–21 check-list as Appendix 1.)
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2. Highlights

The reporting period, 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, was the fourth full year for the Commission to comply with the Welsh Language Standards. The year was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and home working. This report sets out how we have responded to the restrictions and made sure that we continued to provide a bilingual service and support staff to comply with the standards.

 

2.1. Our bilingual enquiries service continued online

Our reading room has been closed since the lockdown began in March 2020, but we continued to answer remote enquiries. This year 9.7% of the enquiries were in Welsh. This was up from approximately 1.2% in 2015–16 but did not reach the 20% we received in 2019–20. We hope to see this rising again once things return to normal.

2.2. Staff continued to improve their Welsh-language skills

Despite working from home, during 2020–21 a third (29%) of our staff continued to attend various online Welsh-language courses during work time. We also organised Welsh-language awareness and pronunciation training for all staff. 

2.3. We established a weekly ‘Sgwrs dros Baned’

Because we recognised that homeworking had taken away those informal opportunities for colleagues to hear, speak and practise their Welsh – in the open-plan office, in the coffee room, or when travelling to meetings together – we established a weekly, online ‘Sgwrs dros Baned’ (‘Chat over coffee’). Here, learners can speak with fluent Welsh speakers in a relaxed environment to develop their skills.

2.4. We took part in the Eisteddfod AmGen

We had a strong profile in Y Lle Hanes contribution to Eisteddfod AmGen, the virtual Eisteddfod event which replaced the 2020 Eisteddfod. We provided exhibitions, children’s activities and short videos focussing on our work as well as organising a panel discussion about the future of places of worship. The event offered an opportunity for staff to use their Welsh in the workplace despite the challenging year, and we are proud of the three learners who contributed short pieces for the Lle Hanes and Maes D programme.

2.5. Our resources were used for the S4C series ‘Hewlfa Drysor’

We supplied and licensed two high resolution, black and white photographs – one of Mathrafal Castle, the other of Old Harp Inn, Llanfair Talhaiarn – to the production company Avanti Media for use in two episodes of the S4C series ‘Hewlfa Drysor’. The entire enquiry, including correspondence, forms, invoicing, licensing, as well as the final television series were done entirely through the medium of Welsh.

2.6. We promoted Welsh Language Rights Day

We supported the Diwrnod Hawliau’r Gymraeg / Welsh Language Rights Day (7 December 2020) on social media.

2.7. We delivered good governance and continuous improvement

We continued to attend meetings and workshops organised by the Welsh Language Commissioner as well as with fellow Welsh Language Officers. We also responded to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s thematic study on the impact of COVID-19 on organisations’ Welsh-language provision and supported Bangor University in their research on the effect of working from home on staff use of Welsh. Finally, we attended the relevant parts of the “Gofid neu Gyfle? Y Gymraeg yn a ‘Normal Newydd’” (“Welsh in the New Normal”) conference organised by Academi Hywel Teifi and Swansea University.

We sincerely thank Angharad Williams, Public Engagement Manager and Welsh Language Officer, for her outstanding work and for championing the Welsh language at the Royal Commission over the past 18 years.

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3.  Priorities for 2020–21

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

The Monitoring Group continued to be active, circulating guidance and keeping staff informed of activities. We successfully completed the ongoing activities noted in our action plan, which was endorsed by the Operational Team and Commissioners. Further work on some of the strategic aims will be carried forward to 2021–22.

During 2020–21 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. We provided guidance on reviewed procedures while homeworking. We also held our annual Question & Answer session to raise awareness of the Welsh language, explain how to operate in accordance with the Standards, and promote the use of Welsh in the workplace. All new members of staff have been informed of the Welsh Language Standards through their induction programme.

3.2. Continue to provide Welsh-language training for staff

A full online programme was offered to staff, at various levels of fluency, during work time and free of charge. We also responded to a suggestion made during our annual Q&A session with staff by introducing staff talks through the medium of Welsh. While aimed at learners who wish to start using Welsh as a working language, Welsh speakers have found it useful to have the opportunity to use a wider range of terminology whilst discussing work.

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.
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4. Compliance and promotion

The Code of Practice consultation (December 2020 to May 2021) offered us the opportunity to have a fresh look at the way we comply with our Standards and whether there are any areas in which we can tighten up things further.

 

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 and continued to do so despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

The need for homeworking due to COVID-19 has not impacted on the main telephone number, and during 2020–21 we received exactly 100 Welsh-language phone enquiries (14.5%). However, because staff direct lines are being forwarded to their personal telephones without the ability to distinguish between work or private calls (or shared with other members of the household), this may have had an impact on staff’s ability to fully comply by answering the phone bilingually every time.

4.1.2. Meetings, visits and public events

Due to COVID-19, there were no in-person meetings, visits or public events this year. Instead, these all moved online. For example, for our annual Digital Past conference in February 2021, we used the Zoom platform as this allowed us to offer simultaneous translation for any Welsh presentation and audience contribution. As part of our outreach programme, we also created a programme of online talks and virtual group visits. (For more information on our contributions to the Eisteddfod AmGen, including an exhibition and talks through the medium of Welsh, see 2.4 in the Highlights section above.)

The Commission promotes all its online events bilingually. Newsletters for our EU-funded, Ireland-Wales climate change project CHERISH, also continue to be produced bilingually in Welsh/English as well as in English/Irish. This year we created a bilingual travelling exhibition promoting the CHERISH project, which features Welsh poetry from CHERISH team member Dr Hywel Griffiths (Aberystwyth University).

4.1.3. Online services

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our usual ways of working, we swiftly had to develop new ways of communicating with our existing users and reach out to new audiences. We were committed to doing so bilingually, and we experimented with various platforms and campaigns to highlight our work and services. We greatly increased our social media output, which included publishing 85 bilingual blogs throughout the year. Some of these resulted in press coverage, including from S4C’s Heno who picked up on our story about the most remote Roman villa in Wales.

We also published 38 new videos to our YouTube channel, 19 in Welsh, 19 in English. These ranged from short how-to clips helping users get the most out of our websites to live-stream recordings of public lectures. The increased use of our YouTube channel and marketing of these videos led to an 83% increase in views (25.4k this year compared to 13.9k in 2019–20).

On social media we ran campaigns using Welsh-language hashtags such as #LlunDyddLlun and #MeddwlMawrth across both Welsh and English accounts. We posted 857 bilingual posts on Facebook, and across our four bilingual Twitter accounts we tweeted and replied more than 5,900 times. This focus on communicating with our audiences on the platforms they choose to use led to a significant increase in followers; 11% increase on Facebook (8,584 to 9,514), 34% increase on Twitter (8,445 to 11,338).

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 that 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 new Recruitment Policy.

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. This year we updated our Welsh Language Policy for 2020–22.

4.3.1. Providing bilingual documents to our staff

All the documents listed in the relevant Standards were available to staff in Welsh and English. During the reporting period, the newly appointed member of staff was offered 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, 25 members of staff (71%) have the minimum level of Welsh required for their post. This is up 1% 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:

  • 10 members of staff (29%) attended weekly Welsh language lessons during working hours, a 9% reduction from last year.
  • Three members of staff attended the annual Summer School in Aberystwyth.

 

4.4. Record Keeping (Standards 141–48)

In principle, 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. However, due to homeworking, this was in abeyance during 2020–21 while online systems are being updated to accommodate remote access. Staff are continuing to keep records, which will be filed as soon as possible.

 

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. During the reporting year, homeworking made it more difficult to carry out informal monitoring. However, within those limitations, we are monitoring as well as we can and are confident of compliance.

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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. We are pleased to report that despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, skills levels continued to increase this year.

The results showed that out of 35 staff in post at that time:

  • 35 staff (100%) had some level of skill in Welsh;
  • 21 staff (60%) had skills assessed as level 3 and above (an increase of 6% from last year);
  • 14 staff (40%) had skills assessed at below level 3 (a decrease of 6% from last year);
  • 5 staff (14%) had skills assessed as having improved since the last survey in 2019.

5.3. Training

During the reporting period a Welsh pronunciation course that was postponed in March because of COVID-19 was held in June 2020. It was attended by 30 members of staff (86%).

5.4. 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.

 

5.5. Recruitment

5.5.1. Staff

During the reporting period, two vacant posts were advertised, only one of which was advertised externally. Both posts were advertised with Welsh-language skills as essential (one at level 1 and one at level 3).

The external appointment received an induction outlining their duties and responsibilities under the Welsh Language standards. They were also offered their employment documents in Welsh.

5.5.2. Commissioners

The Commission successfully recruited two new Commissioners. Both positions were advertised with Welsh-language skills desirable to at least level 2, with one meeting this requirement.
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6. Priorities for 2021–22

The priorities for 2021–22 will include the following:

6.1. 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.  

6.2. Continue to provide Welsh-Language training for staff

We will continue to provide Welsh-language training options to increase staff skill levels (via distance learning until staff are able to attend classes again).

6.3. Review our translation services

We will review our translation services to ensure that these continue to meet the Commission’s needs.

6.4. Promote the use of Welsh across the heritage sector

The Commission will continue to promote the use of Welsh within our sector through our events and conferences wherever this is possible. We also offer leadership in the management of historic environment data in Wales, including monitoring the statutory Historic Environment Records, and will promote the use of Welsh through our data standards role across the historic environment sector.
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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-2020-21
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 2020-21

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

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This document is available under the Open Government Licence.

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