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Welsh Language Standards Compliance: Annual Report 2022–23


1. Introduction

1.1. Compliance notice
1.2. Format of this Annual Report

2. Highlights

2.1. Our bilingual enquiries services fully reopened in person 
2.2. We appointed a Welsh-speaking HR Manager
2.3. We established a new Fforwm Defnydd y Gymraeg
2.4. We took part in the National Eisteddfod
2.5. We promoted our work through the Welsh media
2.6. We introduced Welsh into the work of the C20 Society
2.7. We recorded Ysgol Bro Preseli, Pembrokeshire
2.8. We translated 937 archive collection names 
2.9. We continued to promote Welsh Language Rights Day

3. Priorities for 2022–23

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. Continue to facilitate and promote the increased use of Welsh internally

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 2023–24

6.1. Continue to provide Welsh-language training for staff
6.2. Continue to facilitate and promote the increased use of Welsh internally
6.3. Increase and promote our Welsh-language services to the public

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 Annual Report, and we have continued this practice. (Please find the completed 2022–23 check-list as Appendix 1.)
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2. Highlights

The reporting period, 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, was the sixth full year for the Commission to comply with the Welsh Language Standards. This report sets out how we made sure that we continued to provide a bilingual service, promote the Welsh language, support staff to comply with the standards, and strive to increase the number of Welsh speakers at the Commission through recruitment, continued investment in training, and opportunities to use Welsh in the workplace.

2.1. Our bilingual enquiries service fully reopened in person

From April 2022 the Library and Search Room was opened to the public without appointments for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and closure due to renovation of the roof. We also continued to answer remote enquiries. This year 6.7% of the people contacting the Royal Commission with a request for information did so through the medium of 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.

2.2. We appointed a Welsh-speaking HR Manager

Upon retirement of our previous HR Manager, we were delighted to appoint a Welsh-speaking candidate to the post in May 2022. This means that our Welsh-speaking staff can now discuss all employment-related questions and issues through the medium of Welsh without the need for simultaneous translation. Once settled in, the HR Manager also took on the role of Welsh Language Officer at the Commission.

2.3. We established a new Fforwm Defnydd y Gymraeg

With the appointment of the new Welsh Language Officer, we were able to establish the Fforwm Defnydd y Gymraeg / Welsh Language Use Forum, the first meeting at the Commission held fully and solely through the medium of Welsh. Its aim is to bring together colleagues with Welsh fluency and advanced learners with the aim of promoting and encouraging the use of Welsh internally, as referenced in the Commission’s Welsh in the Workplace Policy.

2.4. We took part in the National Eisteddfod

In partnership with Cadw, the Strata Florida Trust, Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we had a strong presence at the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, 30 July – 6 August 2022. Activity workshops were run throughout the week, including clay-tile making with medieval designs and Virtual Reality experiences of Strata Florida Abbey. Over 4,000 visitors, including many children and young people, visited the stand and took part in activities.

Dr James January-McCann (Place Names Officer) gave a Welsh-language talk in Pabell Cymdeithasau on “Pum Mlynedd o’r Rhestr Enwau Lleoedd Hanesyddol” (“Five Years of the List of Historic Place Names”) and took part in a panel discussion organised by Senedd Cymru on the history, evolution and cultural relevance of Welsh place names.

2.5. We promoted our work through the Welsh media

Dr James January-McCann was interviewed on Rhaglen Dei Tomos on Radio Cymru, discussing place names in the Dyfi Valley, and the List of Historic Place Names more widely. An interview with the Commission’s Secretary (CEO), Christopher Catling, about the Pendinas Hillfort project was published in Golwg (https://golwg.360.cymru/cylchgrawn/2104292-trio-datrys-dirgelwch-bryngaerau). Dr Meilyr Powel wrote an article on twentieth-century schools in Wales, “O’r Hen ‘r Newydd: Treftadaeth dan Fygythiad” (“From the Old to the New: Heritage under Threat”), for November 2022’s edition of Barn. Finally, S4C contacted us for use of one of our Aerofilms images in their ‘Am dro’ programme.

2.6. We introduced Welsh into the work of the C20 Society

Formed in 2020 and chaired by the Royal Commission’s Susan Fielding (Senior Investigator – Historic Buildings), C20 Society in Wales (C20 Cymru) covers the rich and unique twentieth-century built heritage of Wales. With many important buildings (such as the BBC Broadcasting House Llandaff) already lost and few with statutory protection, C20 Cymru supports the C20 Society (the national charity campaigning for twentieth-century architecture and design) with information about notable buildings and potential casework across Wales. All its communication is done bilingually, including bilingual promotion of its programme of online and in-person events.

The C20 Society has fully embraced the Welsh language, with pieces in Welsh featured on its website and in its journal, and has thereby become the first and only amenity society in the UK to feature Welsh in its outputs.

2.7. We recorded Ysgol Bro Preseli, Pembrokeshire

The Royal Commission has specific expertise in the survey, interpretation and reconstruction of historic buildings and archaeological sites. This year, as part of our twentieth-century schools programme, we carried out a photographic survey of Ysgol Bro Preseli, Pembrokeshire (originally Crymych Secondary Modern School). This Welsh-medium school was built in the 1950s to the designs of Pembrokeshire County Architect Lt. Col. Walter Barrett. Our survey ensures that a record of the school will be kept in the National Monuments Record of Wales for future generations: https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/402828?term=ysgol%20bro%20preseli

2.8. We translated 937 archive collection names

Our rich public archive, the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW), has been built up by the Royal Commission since it was established under Royal Warrant in 1908 to investigate and record the archaeological and built heritage of Wales. The NMRW has 937 named collections, a number which is growing by the month as our own survey and investigation team feeds in material from their work and we continue to receive deposits from a wide range of heritage organisations and members of the public.

Despite the exemption in our compliance notice for descriptive text from the NMRW, this year we translated all current collection names into Welsh with the aim of integrating these into our public-facing online database, Coflein.

2.9. We continued to promote Welsh Language Rights Day

We promoted Diwrnod Hawliau’r Gymraeg / Welsh Language Rights Day (7 December 2022) to the public with an infographic about our Welsh-language services.

Welsh in work infographic

Internally, we reminded staff about their rights and promoted the Welsh in the Workplace Policy.

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3.  Priorities for 2022–23

Building on our already embedded practices, we have continued to provide high-quality bilingual services during the year. 99% of visitors who completed our Visitor Declaration form marked the service as ‘Excellent’.

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 2023–24.

During 2022–23 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. This year, we circulated staff guidance on bilingual PowerPoint presentations, including a new template and example slides. We also provided an updated script for answering the phone bilingually. We 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 were informed of the Welsh Language Standards through their induction programme.

The 2022 Staff Survey demonstrated that 89% of staff feel that the Commission takes action to support the Welsh language to thrive.

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.

During 2022–23 more than a third (36%) of our staff continued to attend various weekly Welsh-language courses. We also took advantage of the Welsh Government-funded Cymraeg Gwaith scheme provided by Nant Gwrtheyrn. Four members of staff attended intensive 5-day online or residential Welsh-language courses, ranging from Entry Level to a Welsh speaker keen to improve their confidence in written Welsh.

3.3. Continue to facilitate and promote the increased use of Welsh internally

Following its publication in 2021–22, we have started to incorporate the commitments set out in our Welsh in the Workplace Policy by providing opportunities for staff to use Welsh internally and encourage a bilingual working environment:

  • We now encourage Welsh-speaking staff to write in Welsh first, with translating services provided from Welsh to English where needed to avoid significant increases in workload.
  • To help Welsh learners gain confidence, skills and to normalise writing in Welsh, we set up a pool of Welsh-speaking staff who can be contacted to proofread smaller pieces of text such as social media posts.
  • We continued to hold a weekly online Sgwrs dros Baned (Chat over Coffee) for Welsh speakers and learners to use/practise their Welsh in an informal environment.

The new Fforwm Defnydd y Gymraeg (Welsh Language Use Forum), itself an initiative that allows staff to use Welsh as their working language, will drive progress in this area.
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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)

The Commission provides a bilingual service to the public. We are committed to ensuring an equal service through the medium of Welsh or English. The Commission’s Welsh-speaking staff 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.

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. During the reporting year, 9% of phone enquiries were through the medium of Welsh. (This is down from 16% in 2021–22.)

4.1.2. Meetings, visits and public events

As mentioned in 2.4. above, Dr James January-McCann (Place Names Officer) gave a Welsh-language talk at the National Eisteddfod on “Pum Mlynedd o’r Rhestr Enwau Lleoedd Hanesyddol” (“Five Years of the List of Historic Place Names”) and took part in a panel discussion organised by Senedd Cymru on the history, evolution and cultural relevance of Welsh place names. That same month, James also gave a Welsh-language talk on the List to the Llanishen Probus Group.

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. Specifically Welsh-language group visits during the reporting period were held for curatorial staff of the National Library of Wales and, jointly with the Library’s educational team, for 25 pupils from Ysgol Pontrhydyfendigaid. We also provided a Welsh-language guided tour of our archive stories for November’s Explore Your Archives campaign.

The Commission promotes all its online events bilingually and prepares bilingual promotional material and information for the public. This year, a bilingual exhibition about our EU-funded, Ireland-Wales climate change project CHERISH was shown at the Senedd (Jun-Jul 2022, 5,854 visitors) and in Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth (Feb/Mar 2023, 8,658 visitors), featuring Welsh poetry from CHERISH team member Dr Hywel Griffiths (Aberystwyth University). CHERISH newsletters also continue to be produced bilingually in Welsh/English as well as in English/Irish.

4.1.3. Online services

We maintained the high level of our social media output, which included publishing 56 bilingual blogs throughout the year. The new weekly blog emails have been steadily gaining subscribers, with 83 signed up to receive blog posts in Welsh and 170 receiving them in English.

We also published 16 new videos to our YouTube channel, 1 in Welsh, 10 in English and 5 graphics only. The overall number of views was 15.7k (compared to 18.7k in 2021–22).

On social media we continued to run campaigns using topical Welsh-language hashtags such as #MisBalchder (#PrideMonth), #MisAwyrAgored (#GreatOutdoorsMonth), and #AddoldaiDyddGwener (#FaithBuildingsFriday). We posted 620 bilingual posts on Facebook, 163 on Instagram, and across our four bilingual Twitter accounts we tweeted and replied more than 3,000 times. This focus on communicating with our audiences on the platforms they choose to use led again to a steady increase in followers: 13% increase on Facebook (10,223 to 11,553), 271% on Instagram (0 to 271), and 10% increase on Twitter (12,966 to 14,232).

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 2022–23 we reviewed our Welsh Language Impact Assessment form to make it more meaningful and easier to use. To inform these changes, we attended a best practice workshop organised by the Welsh Language Commissioner on the Policy Standards and how to carry out successful Welsh Language Impact Assessments. A new-style Welsh Language Impact Assessment was carried out on the Commission’s Communications Strategy.

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

To ensure compliance with the operational standards, the Commission continues to review its internal documents and policies.

4.3.1. Intranet (Standards 117-22)

Each page on our Intranet is available in Welsh and English, every Welsh-language page is fully functional, the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language, and we have designated a page which provides services and support material to promote the Welsh language and to assist our staff to use the Welsh language.

4.3.2. 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, all externally appointed members of staff were offered their employment documents in Welsh. (See also 5.4. Recruitment.)

4.3.3. Staff Welsh-language skills

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

4.3.4. 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:

  • 12 members of staff (36%) attended weekly Welsh language lessons during working hours, a 10% increase from last year.
  • Four members of staff attended intensive 5-day online or residential Welsh-language courses provided by Nant Gwrtheyrn, ranging from Entry Level to a Welsh speaker keen to improve their confidence in written Welsh.

Staff also use online tools such as Duolingo and Say Something in Welsh to fit in their learning outside of work. The current Duolingo record among staff stands at a lesson a day for more than 800 days!

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.

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. Ensuring 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.

We attended best practice workshops organised by the Welsh Language Commissioner on promoting Welsh language services both internally and externally, and on the Policy Standards and how to carry out successful Welsh Language Impact Assessments. We also attended a course run by Welsh Government on successful bilingual social media. Finally, we attended meetings with fellow Welsh Language Officers across Wales to share knowledge and best practice.

4.5.3.   Providing information requested by the Welsh Language Commissioner

We submitted a Questionnaire about our current practices in terms of promoting Welsh language services, and the data that exists on the use of Welsh language services.
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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 34 staff in post at that time:

  • 34 staff (100%) had some level of skill in Welsh;
  • 19 staff (55%) had skills assessed as level 3 and above (an increase of 2% from last year);
  • 15 staff (44%) had skills assessed at below level 3 (a decrease of 3% from last year);
  • All staff reported their skills as having remained consistent since the last survey in 2022.

In terms of post requirements, 25 members of staff (73%) have the minimum level of Welsh required for their post. This is up 4% from last year and compares to only 14 (44%) in 2017.

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

During the reporting period, three vacant posts were advertised, two of which were advertised internally only. Two posts were advertised with Welsh-language skills as essential (both at level 4) and one with Welsh-language skills as desirable (at level 3). Three fluent Welsh-speakers were appointed.

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.
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6. Priorities for 2023–24

While we will continue to ensure compliance with the Welsh Language Standards, our focus has shifted towards increasing the number of Welsh speakers at the Commission through recruitment, continued investment in training, and opportunities to use Welsh in the workplace.

The priorities for 2023–24 will therefore include the following:

6.1. 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 or in person).

6.2. Continue to facilitate and promote the increased use of Welsh internally

We will continue to incorporate the commitments set out in our Welsh in the Workplace Policy by providing opportunities for staff to use Welsh internally and encourage a bilingual working environment.

6.3. Increase and promote our Welsh-language services to the public

We will aim to increase public awareness of our Welsh-language services through Welsh-language talks, taking part in the National Eisteddfod, and promoting our work through the Welsh media.
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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-2023-26
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-2022-23
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 2022-23

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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