Dale Spridgeon, local democracy journalist
A Welsh council has been praised by Welsh language campaigners for stepping up its efforts to prioritize the Welsh language
Gwynedd Council or ‘Cyngor Gwynedd’ as it will increasingly be known, has recently adopted a reformed Welsh language policy.
The policy will see staff only use the Welsh name “Cyngor Gwynedd” when referring to the council in written formats and as part of its corporate image.
The change is intended to ensure that the Welsh language will continue to be given priority in all aspects of the council’s work.
The move has been welcomed by Cymdeithas yr Iaith, who is now urging other local authorities to follow suit, including Anglesey County Council, which she says recently put up signs in English.
Gwynedd Council adopted a previous policy in 2016, which changed the way the council conducted its operations and services.
The council says it aims to ‘give priority to the Welsh language’ to ‘ensure the public can use the services through the medium of Welsh’ in all counties.
The council says it meets national requirements and will strengthen staff orientation.
It indicates that changes will occur gradually, and only when merchandise, signs, etc. will need to be updated, to avoid additional costs;
It will also ‘prioritize’ the protection of Welsh place names, ensuring strong guidance to staff in terms of providing a bilingual digital service, to ensure that the public can continue to use Welsh regardless how he wishes to contact the Council.
Councilor Menna Jones, a member of Cyngor Gwynedd’s cabinet, who is responsible for language, said:
“Cyngor Gwynedd’s commitment to the Welsh language and ensuring it is used in all aspects of life is a source of pride.
“Since its inception in 1996, Cyngor Gwynedd has been at the forefront of language use in the workplace and ensuring residents always receive services in Welsh.
“In many ways the Council has gone above and beyond our legal requirements in providing Welsh language services to local people and promoting the language at every possible opportunity.
“This policy builds on these solid foundations and reflects developments in society and technology. I look forward to seeing the progress made in the months and years to come.
Welsh-language campaign group Cymdeithas Yr Iaith said:
“Gwynedd Council has been working primarily through the Welsh language for years and is an example for other councils and organisations.
“The authority understood from the beginning that the standards are the minimum, a base on which to build.
“There is nothing to prevent other organizations from developing similar language policies to build on the standards with the aim of meeting people’s expectations and therefore promoting and facilitating wider use of the Welsh language.
“It is very sad that many other organisations, many years after the standards were introduced, are still treating them like targets and even boasting that they meet these minimum legal Welsh language requirements.
“Other councils, like Anglesey, which have put up new road signs with English names that didn’t exist until recently.
“Ceredigion Council, which has promised to switch to Welsh Medium for years but has yet to do so, could follow Gwynedd Council’s lead.”
Anglesey County Council has been contacted for comment.
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