Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011

Document Number:2011 nawm 1
 
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A Measure of the National Assembly for Wales to make provision about the official status of the Welsh language in Wales; to provide for a Welsh Language Partnership Council; to establish the Office of Welsh Language Commissioner; to provide for an Advisory Panel to the Welsh Language Commissioner; to make provision about promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language and treating the Welsh language no less favourably than the English language; to make provision about standards relating to the Welsh language (including duties to comply with those standards, and rights arising from the enforceability of those duties); to make provision about investigation of interference with the freedom to use the Welsh language; to establish a Welsh Language Tribunal; to abolish the Welsh Language Board and Welsh language schemes; and for connected purposes.

This Measure, passed by the National Assembly for Wales on 7 December 2010 and approved by Her Majesty in Council on 9 February 2011 , enacts the following provisions:–

PART 1 OFFICIAL STATUS OF THE WELSH LANGUAGE

1 Official status of the Welsh language

(1) The Welsh language has official status in Wales.

(2) Without prejudice to the general principle of subsection (1) , the official status of the Welsh language is given legal effect by the enactments about—

(a) duties on bodies to use the Welsh language, and the rights which arise from the enforceability of those duties, which enable Welsh speakers to use the language in dealings with those bodies (such as the provision of services by those bodies);

(b) the treatment of the Welsh language no less favourably than the English language;

(c) the validity of the use of the Welsh language;

(d) the promotion and facilitation of the use of the Welsh language;

(e) the freedom of persons wishing to use the Welsh language to do so with one another;

(f) the creation of the Welsh Language Commissioner; and

(g) other matters relating to the Welsh language.

(3) Those enactments include (but are not limited to) the enactments which—

(a) require the Welsh and English languages to be treated on the basis of equality in the conduct of the proceedings of the National Assembly for Wales;

(b) confer a right to speak the Welsh language in legal proceedings in Wales;

(c) give equal standing to the Welsh and English texts of—

(i) Measures and Acts of the National Assembly for Wales, and

(ii) subordinate legislation;

(d) impose a duty on the Welsh Ministers to adopt a strategy setting out how they propose to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language;

(e) create standards of conduct that relate to the use of the Welsh language, or the treatment of the Welsh language no less favourably than the English language, in connection with—

(i) delivering services,

(ii) making policy, and

(iii) exercising functions or conducting businesses and other undertakings;

(f) create standards of conduct in promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language;

(g) create standards of conduct for keeping records in connection with the Welsh language;

(h) impose a duty to comply with those standards of conduct that are created, and create remedies for failures to comply with them; and

(i) create the Welsh Language Commissioner with functions that include—

(i) promoting the use of the Welsh language,

(ii) facilitating the use of the Welsh language,

(iii) working towards ensuring that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language,

(iv) conducting inquiries into matters relating to the Commissioner’s functions, and

(v) investigating interference with the freedom to use the Welsh language.

(4) This Measure does not affect the status of the English language in Wales.

PART 2 THE WELSH LANGUAGE COMMISSIONER

The Commissioner

2 The Welsh Language Commissioner

(1) There is to be a Welsh Language Commissioner (referred to in this Measure as “the Commissioner”).

(2) The First Minister must appoint the Commissioner.

(3) Schedule 1 makes further provision about the Commissioner.

(4) For provision about the integrity of the Commissioner, see Chapter 1 of Part 8.

General duty

3 The Commissioner’s principal aim

(1) The principal aim of the Commissioner in exercising his or her functions is to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language.

(2) The actions which the Commissioner must undertake in exercising functions in accordance with subsection (1) include (but are not limited to) working towards increasing—

(a) the use of the Welsh language in the provision of services, and

(b) other opportunities for persons to use the Welsh language.

(3) In exercising functions in accordance with subsection (1) , the Commissioner must have regard to—

(a) the official status which the Welsh language has in Wales,

(b) the duties to use Welsh which are (or may be) imposed by law, and the rights which arise from the enforceability of those duties,

(c) the principle that, in Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language, and

(d) the principle that persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so.

Functions

4 Promoting and facilitating use of Welsh and treating Welsh no less favourably than English

(1) The Commissioner may do anything that he or she thinks appropriate—

(a) to promote the use of the Welsh language,

(b) to facilitate the use of the Welsh language, or

(c) to work towards ensuring that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language.

(2) That includes, but is not limited to, doing any of the following things—

(a) promoting the provision of opportunities to use the Welsh language;

(b) encouraging best practice in relation to the use of Welsh by persons who deal with, or provide services to, other persons;

(c) keeping under review the adequacy and effectiveness of the law relating to the Welsh language;

(d) producing and publishing reports;

(e) carrying out, or commissioning others to carry out, research;

(f) carrying out, or commissioning others to carry out, educational activities;

(g) giving assistance (including financial assistance) to any person;

(h) making recommendations in writing to the Welsh Ministers;

(i) making representations to any person;

(j) giving advice to any person.

(3) If the Commissioner makes a recommendation or representation, or gives advice, to the Welsh Ministers in writing, they must have due regard to the recommendation, representation or advice in exercising any function to which it relates.

(4) The power of the Commissioner under subsection (2)(g) to give financial assistance is subject to section 11(4).

(5) The powers of the Commissioner under subsection (2)(h) to (j) to make recommendations or representations, or to give advice, to a person (including the Welsh Ministers) may be exercised whether or not the person has requested the Commissioner to exercise the powers.

(6) The Commissioner may consult the Advisory Panel in connection with the exercise of a function conferred by this section.

5 Production of 5-year reports

(1) The Commissioner must produce, in relation to each reporting period, a report on the position of the Welsh language in that period.

(2) In this Measure, such a report is referred to as “a 5-year report”.

(3) If a 5-year report is the first such report to be produced after a census, the report must include the following matters—

(a) a report of the results of the census so far as they relate to the Welsh language;

(b) an assessment of the implications of those results for the position of the Welsh language.

(4) Subsection (3) does not limit the matters which the Commissioner may include in any 5-year report.

(5) In this section—

“census” (“cyfrifiad”) means a census taken under the Census Act 1920 in Wales (whether or not the census is also taken elsewhere than in Wales);

“reporting period” (“cyfnod adrodd”) means—

the period that begins with the day on which section 2 comes into force and ends with 31 December 2015; and

each successive period of 5 years.

65-year reports: supplementary

(1) In preparing each 5-year report, the Commissioner—

(a) must consult the Advisory Panel, and

(b) may consult any other persons that the Commissioner thinks it appropriate to consult.

(2) The Commissioner must publish each 5-year report in Welsh and in English.

(3) The Commissioner must publish each 5-year report as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the period to which it relates.

(4) As soon as reasonably practicable after each 5-year report is published, the Commissioner must send a copy of the report to the Welsh Ministers.

(5) The Welsh Ministers must—

(a) examine each 5-year report submitted to them, and

(b) lay a copy of the report before the National Assembly for Wales.

7 Inquiries

(1) The Commissioner may conduct an inquiry into any matter relating to any of the Commissioner’s functions.

(2) But that is subject to subsections (3) to (5).

(3) Subsection (1) does not authorise the Commissioner to conduct an inquiry in a case where he or she—

(a) may or must carry out a standards investigation under Chapter 8 of Part 4 , or

(b) undertakes (and does not discontinue) an investigation under Part 5.

(4) Subsection (1) does not authorise the Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the failure, by one or more particular persons, to comply with one or more relevant requirements.

(5) Subsection (1) does not authorise the Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the interference, by one or more particular persons, with the freedom to communicate in Welsh (but see Part 6 for power to investigate certain interference with that freedom).

(6) Subsection (4) or (5) does not prevent the Commissioner from taking the conduct of one or more particular persons into account when conducting an inquiry into—

(a) failure to comply with relevant requirements, or

(b) interference with the freedom to communicate in Welsh.

(7) The Commissioner may—

(a)...

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