To submit information about the Department's contribution to the Language Policy and how they attempt to promote the Welsh Language in their work.
To accept the report and note the observations received.
The report was submitted by the Head of Department, and in brief she drew attention to the following main points:
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was explained that this department also followed the 'More than Just Words' Successive Strategy Framework, in the same way as the Adults, Health and Well-being Department,
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>The Early Years Service collaborated closely with CWLWM, which were 5 national lead organisations for childcare, in order to promote the Welsh language across childcare settings within the County. This very often led to new projects that were promoted by the 5 organisations, such as a new podcast by Mudiad Meithrin with the assistance of Nia Parry, entitled 'Baby Steps Into Welsh', which assisted children and parents to learn the language. The Early Years Service also benefitted from collaborating with CWLWM as the Mudiad Meithrin's Cynllun Croesi'r Bont bridged nursery classes linguistically, and 11 cylchoedd meithrin within the county received such support.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was also reported that the department promoted the Welsh language independently in many ways. £100 grants were being offered to non-Welsh speaking private childminders to purchase relevant Welsh language resources. In addition to this, many teams within the department used the 'FRIENDS' parenting course and had managed to translate the course into Welsh for the County's parents.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was noted that it was not possible to obtain a suitable childcare setting within the county for every child, often for safety reasons. If no Welsh-medium setting was available for the child, the department and the Social Workers would continue to visit and contact the children through the medium of Welsh, in order to promote their linguistic development.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was explained that the department was leading 55 Nursery Education providers at present, who received support from an Early Years Teacher to assist with teaching through the medium of Welsh. Pride was expressed in the Flying Start Scheme, which served in deprived areas in the County, and provided a Welsh-medium education to 2 year old children. There were 12 Flying Start Child Care settings within the County at present.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was highlighted that work was being completed to promote the Welsh language for older children as well, such as creating and developing the Duke of Edinburgh Award App for secondary school children.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was confirmed that promoting the Welsh language had been given prominence by the department over the past year. One member of staff, Stephen Wood, succeeded in the Dafydd Orwig Memorial Awards this year, for his success in learning Welsh. As well as using the language verbally within the department, many written resources and videos had been developed to train staff on various important features within the department. Also, the department was in the process of dubbing resources for regional and national use, in order to provide an effective bilingual service.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>A discussion was held on the effective work of the Youth Service, and it was noted that many schemes such as gardening, cookery and graffiti workshops, were now available through the medium of Welsh and that the feedback of 16-25 year olds who had participated in the workshops, jointly with the 'FRIENDS' scheme, stated that they had enjoyed the fact that they had been able to participate in Welsh, as they felt that this was beneficial to their personal development.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>The committee was updated on the Activities and Play Framework for children, young people and families. Now, 24 activity providers were able to do this through the medium of Welsh. Furthermore, over 50 organisations had come together to present well-being activities during the recent well-being week. The latest technology was used via the 'Haia' platform in order to hold all activities as Hybrid events, and through the medium of Welsh. Following this success, a new App was being developed - 'Ai Di', in order to help connect children and carers. It could be used to connect with schools, as well as for community use.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>Members were reassured that linguistic requirements were being included in every third-party contract where suitable and that this process was monitored regularly between the Service Manager and the Manager on behalf of the provider.
Concern was expressed about the recent recruitment problems, similar to those of other Council departments. It was noted that it was at times challenging to recruit people who were qualified and had specialist skills, as well as Welsh language skills. The department was looking at ways to overcome the problems, as well as provide support to staff members who wished to develop their Welsh language skills.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was added that challenges were facing the department when collaborating with partners since the facilities were not always available to be able to communicate effectively in Welsh. It was explained that not everyone could offer a simultaneous translation provision.
Members of the committee were given an opportunity to ask questions:
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>Pride was expressed in Gwynedd Council's translation service and a discussion was held on the need for a protocol to demand that the Welsh language was used when collaborating with partners and to inform them if their Welsh language services were insufficient.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was noted that facilities were being wasted if people did not use them. Everyone was reminded of the need to use the Welsh language if they were able to, in order to sustain it and help others to learn.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>The department's work in developing a number of new and useful apps for people of all ages was praised. It was asked whether it was possible to monitor the use made of the apps to see how much use was made of the Welsh versions.
In response, the Senior Language and Scrutiny Advisor noted:
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>That staff could be reminded of the current language policy and their responsibilities regarding informing partners of linguistic failures. It was explained further that a new protocol, as previously discussed, could be created in order for staff to inform the department's officers that a linguistic failure has occurred, so that contact could be made with the partners, the Language Commissioner and the Government, if needed.
In response, the Language Adviser noted:
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>As this matter had been raised a number of times during the meeting, that consideration could be given to adding a protocol as an amendment to the new language policy, before it was submitted to cabinet members, should the committee agree to do so. It was expressed that the fact that officers had a responsibility to inform and respond to any linguistic failure was positive, because they had a direct contact with the partner, and that this reinforced the language policy.
In response, the Head of Children and Supporting Families Department noted:
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>That there was a need to ensure that partners and other regional and national agencies improved their linguistic standards as the use of the Welsh language was secondary in many meetings. It was agreed that there was a need to use our method of implementing the Welsh language as an example to other agencies.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>It was noted in response that it was not possible to monitor the use of Welsh in a number of the apps developed to date, as they dealt with individuals' personal information. Nevertheless, the hope was to be able to monitor the amount of Welsh used on the Duke of Edinburgh Award app.
<![if !supportLists]>- <![endif]>To accept the report and to note the observations received.