Introducing the Scheme
Before the Welsh Language Scheme the University had implemented a bilingual policy since the 1960s and the adoption of the Scheme formalised the institution's intention to operate bilingually in accordance with the requirements of the Welsh Language Act 1993
The Welsh Language Act 1993
The most significant legislation to date in respect of the Welsh language is the Welsh Language Act 1993. The Act, which places Welsh and English on an equal basis in public life in Wales specifies three things:
- It places a duty on the public sector to treat Welsh and English on an equal basis when providing services to the public in Wales;
- It gives Welsh speakers an absolute right to speak Welsh in court;
- It established the Welsh Language Board to oversee the delivery of these commitments and to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language. The authority of the Welsh Language Board derives from this Act of Parliament. It has legally defined functions and its primary duty is to implement the Welsh Language Act 1993.
Public Sector Bodies and the Welsh Language Act
The Welsh Language Act 1993 details precise steps to be taken by the Welsh Language Board and by public sector bodies, including Higher Education institutions, local authorities, health trusts and government agencies (also including institutions based outside Wales which operate within Wales) in the preparation and implementation of Welsh Language Schemes. These schemes set out which services will be available in Welsh and how and when they will be provided.
The implementation of Welsh Language Schemes is monitored by the public bodies themselves and, from 1 April 2012, by the Welsh Language Commissioner . Each body is expected to prepare annual progress reports, and the Scheme will continue until the new Standards have been agreed upon.
Welsh Language Measure 2011
The Measure :
- creates a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services through the medium of Welsh; (this means that the Language Schemes will be replaced by the Language Standards in the future)
- creates a Welsh Language Commissioner with strong enforcement powers to protect the rights of Welsh speakers to access services through the medium of Welsh;
- establishes a Welsh Language Tribunal;
- gives individuals and bodies the right to appeal decisions made in relation to the provision of services through the medium of Welsh
- creates a Welsh Language Partnership Council to advise Government on its strategy in relation to the Welsh language;
- allows for an official investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner of instances where there is an attempt to interfere with the freedom of Welsh speakers to use the language with one another.
Centre for Welsh Language Services, Aberystwyth University, Hugh Owen , Penglais , Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3DY
Tel: 01970 622045 Fax: 01970 611446 Email: email@example.com