Welsh language annual report 2021 – 2022
Welcome to our annual report for 2021-2022. This report focuses on how we have implemented our Welsh language standards policy and the work we have done to improve our Welsh language services during this reporting period.
24% (555) of our staff are fluent Welsh speakers and the number has steadily increased over the year through our recruitment procedures and our staff who are developing their language skills through our training programme. Most of our teams have at least one Welsh speaker, with a few teams in the North West and Mid Wales all fluent Welsh speakers and use the language naturally in their day-to-day work.
The Welsh language training programme has supported 138 of our staff to develop their skills on a weekly basis. Most of our learners are based in North West Wales and Gwent with 73 of our staff learning in these areas, 15% (20) of our learners are near to being fluent Welsh speakers.
As an organisation we were very pleased to hear recently that we have won Work Welsh Employer of the Year for 2021-2022. This annual award is given by The National Centre for Learning Welsh to organisations for their support and commitment in helping their staff to learn Welsh. We acknowledge that this award would not be possible without the commitment of our staff who have continued with their classes throughout a difficult time, we appreciate the personal commitment that this takes.
To further support the business in being able to provide and improve our Welsh language services our translation team is now a team of six to help meet our in-house Welsh language needs, improve our services to both public and support our own staff in using the Welsh language. This will provide greater consistency with terminology and style in our work.
There has been an increase in the number of complaints we have received this year from members of the public, we have worked with the complainant to ensure that the issue is resolved, provided an explanation on matters, or put plans in place to work on resolving the issue raised.
Working in partnership with the Environment Agency, progress has been made to develop the bilingual capability of the 'Buy a Fishing Rod Licence' service on Gov.uk which was reported as being non-compliant with our standards last year. Our translation team and digital team have been working with the Environment Agency supporting them in developing this service bilingually. We hope that this service will go live at some point in 2022. The work we have carried out to address this matter can be found in this report.
Gyda’n Gilydd - All Together - NRW's diversity and inclusion strategy 2021-25 was approved by board in January 2022, with an action plan which includes drafting a Welsh language strategy for the organisation. Our aim is to increase opportunities for our Welsh speakers and learners to use the language daily both externally and internally, developing our strategy will help facilitate this.
The Welsh language standards came into force for NRW on 25 January 2017, under the Welsh language (Wales) Measure 2011 and regulated by the Welsh Language Commissioner under Welsh language standards (No. 2) Regulations 2016.
Aim of the Standards are:
- provide a better and more consistent Welsh language service to Welsh speakers.
- make it clear to Welsh speakers’ what services they can expect in Welsh.
- make it clear to public organisations what their duties are in relation to the Welsh language.
- ensure that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language.
This report demonstrates how we have implemented the standards and the work we have done to improve our Welsh language services during the reporting year 2021/22.
Welsh language standards
The standards we are required to comply with are in four categories:
- Service standards - the Welsh language services we provide to the public.
- Policy standards - ensuring that Welsh language forms part of the decision-making process by carrying out equality impact assessments ensuring that the decision has no adverse effect, but positive or increased effects on the opportunities to use the Welsh language.
- Operational standards - promoting and facilitating the Welsh language in our internal administration processes.
- Record keeping standards - keeping records for compliance with the requirements of the standards in areas such as staff Welsh language skills, training, complaints, and recruitment.
Governance and monitoring our standards
Monitoring compliance of standards is carried out by Welsh language policy advisor, any risks highlighted to our executive team for discussion with managers and explained at Grŵp Pencampwyr meetings.
Grŵp Pencampwyr members will raise any issues of non-compliance with the Welsh language policy advisor and at each meeting.
During our meeting with the Welsh Language Commissioner in 2021, we were asked to include a section our website explaining the process we have for promoting, facilitating, and overseeing compliance with service delivery standards, policy making standards and operational standards in line with the requirements of Standard 151, 157 and 163.
The Welsh language standards webpage was updated to include this requirement:
Implementing and improving our Welsh language standards and services
Development of translation team
During the last year the translation service was re-modelled with the aim of creating a team that’s capable of meeting more of the organisation’s Welsh language needs in-house, allowing for more collaboration between our staff and the translators. This will allow for greater consistency with terminology and style, allowing for innovation in terms of providing more services and encouraging more use of the Welsh language in our work. This has meant the team has increased from 1 to 6.
The aim is to adopt a holistic approach and provide more than a simple translation service. The aim will be to provide:
- translation from English to Welsh and English to Welsh.
- proofreading information which are to be designed or printed.
- text-checking documents drafted in Welsh, to encourage and support use of Welsh.
- consultation service - an important innovation made easier by the increasing use of online tools. The team will work with other teams to troubleshoot, and contribute to simultaneous drafting in both languages. An example of this new proactive approach can be found in appendix 1 of this report.
- simultaneous translation – this will continue to be provided by an external provider but organised by the translation service.
Customer Care Hub
The Customer Care Hub deals with all incoming calls for our organisation. During this reporting year the centre dealt with a total of 20,320 calls, 5.23% (1064) of the calls were Welsh medium calls. The calls dealt with in Welsh are slightly down by 0.5% from last year as were the total number of incoming calls which were also down by 4.4% (935).
Despite a proactive language offer, a number of Welsh speakers still initially choose our English service, but the call will often change to a Welsh language call when it is understood that the call handler is a Welsh speaker. Because the customer initially selected the English service these calls are registered as English medium calls on our system despite ultimately being dealt with in Welsh.
North West Wales public service board – Welsh language sub-group project
To address the issue of customers not selecting Welsh language services, with the evidence that supports this from across the public sector as a whole, NRW is part of the North West Wales Public Service Board – Welsh Language sub-group that has started working on a project with Cwmni Iaith Cyf to try and establish what the barriers are in using our Welsh language services.
Meetings and events
As lockdown has lifted, we have participated in more meetings and events. One such example is Nature a Ni (Nature and Us) which is the national conversation facilitated by us, with support from Welsh Government, to develop a collective vision for the future of our environment for 2050, and the actions needed to take us there.
All campaign resources, communication, website and survey, were made available in Welsh and English, with equal number of Welsh and English webinars, allowing people could indicate their language preference when signing up for workshops and focus groups.
Social media posts and digital advertisements actively targeted Welsh speaking audiences and communities using social media algorithms. We also reached out directly to Welsh language groups for example Cynllun Siarad, the National Centre for Learning Welsh, and Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for their support in advertising the Welsh language sessions
The below table summarises the survey completion and event registration numbers in both languages:
|Stakeholder workshop||22 (13%)||142||164|
|Focus group||14 (5%)||256||270|
- Welsh language breakout groups were offered at workshops.
- Small focus groups of up to 10 were set up regionally online across Wales. The number who requested to join the Welsh medium groups in each region were low, so in response we ran a separate Welsh event.
Education and health team – training events
During this reporting year the education and health team ran 51 courses in total as follows:
- 5 face to face and 46 online
- 15 through the medium of Welsh
- 2 face to face bilingually
Working in partnership with the welsh advisory team, Flintshire County Council the team delivered a face-to-face course for Welsh second language teachers. The aim of the day was to give teachers ideas and confidence on teaching in the outside environment and in using the correct Welsh names and terms.
A monthly education and learning newsletter produced bilingually goes out to approximately 5,500 educators, with numbers growing monthly, which includes good practice from education groups and educators from around Wales.
New bilingual educational resources made available this year on our webpages and on Hwb (Digital Learning for Wales) have included:
- delivering the digital competency framework through outdoor learning
- plan, develop, use, and maintain an orchard for learning
- climate change emergency - There is no Planet B!
- nature play and family fun!
- NRW’s children’s rights approach
Place names & signage
We have reviewed our signage guidance referencing the Welsh place names standardisation panel and raising awareness of the importance of using the correct standard spelling which often links back to the heritage and how the land was used in the past.
In September 2021, 7 new local accounts were launched on Twitter and Facebook. All these accounts are operated bilingually by the communication officers between 9 and 5 o'clock, Monday to Friday. The pages provide more opportunity to share local news with local audiences. Facebook's local pages currently attract more followers than Twitter which proves the website's popularity as a conversational platform. Our focus will be on promoting the pages through our corporate accounts and by tagging partners in relevant posts.
Flood warning and informing services
The flood warning service issues flood alerts, flood warnings and severe flood warnings to the public and professional partners. Messages are sent by phone, SMS or email in Welsh or English, as requested by the recipient. These warning messages are complemented by the following services:
- NRW website services - 5 day flood risk for Wales webpage - where we provide a summary of potential flood risk across wales for the next 5 days
- Flood warnings and alerts webpage - we provide details of all warnings in force along with live flood information
Each of these services are available in Welsh or English.
- Floodline 0345 988 1188 – a local rate call service where callers can listen to live flood information, listen to pre-recorded advice, and speak to a trained call agent to report flooding or register to the flood warning service
In July 2019, we improved the Floodline call plan to make it easier for callers to access our Welsh language service by including a Welsh language call agent service during weekday daytime hours. Outside these hours, or if a Welsh speaking call agent is unavailable, callers are given the option of leaving a message requesting a call back in Welsh, or to be diverted to an English-speaking call agent instead.
The table below shows overall there are still small percentages of Welsh Language customers and an increase in calls to Floodline agents selecting Welsh.
2019 - 2020
|Language choice||307 (3.1%)||9,652|
|Pre-recorded live warning information||95 (1.3%)||7,456|
|Calls to Agents||25 (2%)||1,256|
Note: 2019-2020 data is from July 2019 only.
|Language choice||244 (4.1%)||5,713|
|Pre-recorded live warning information||94 (2.4%)||3,789|
|Calls to Agents||61 (5.3%)||1,067|
|Language choice||176 (3.2%)||5,334|
|Pre-recorded live warning information||59 (1.6%)||3,567|
|Calls to Agents||58 (7.4%)||729|
Although the proactive offer of a Welsh language service is still in place, Welsh speakers are often put through to English call handlers as the service cannot guarantee a dedicated Welsh speaker to deal with Welsh medium calls. Welsh medium callers can also choose to terminate the call and receive a call back from a Welsh language agent when one becomes available.
To address this non-compliance issue, the flood warning and informing team have developed a solution to improve this service by developing a Welsh language agent service, which would be available 24/7 by diverting Welsh calls from Floodline UK to NRW staff in our incident communications centre, with call overflow to English language call agents if required. This would mean that Welsh speakers calling Floodline UK would be provided with a seamless Welsh language service via NRW ICC. This would be equal to that of the English language service and NRW would have control over the Welsh language service as well as being able to promote the service more widely here in Wales.
NRW Website – Flood warnings, alerts and flood risk services
NRW website services - 5 day flood risk for Wales webpage - where we provide a summary of potential flood risk across wales for the next 5 days
In October 2020, we refreshed our website design to make it easier and quicker to use, ensuring that the design was fully compatible with the Welsh language.
Visitors to our website are asked to choose their preferred language and the table below shows that there has been a decrease in visitors to our Welsh language flood warning webpages.
|Webpage||Cymraeg views||English views|
|Flood warnings & alerts||10,257 (0.95%)||1,067,767|
|5 day flood risk for Wales||489 (0.73%)||66,570|
|Webpage||Cymraeg views||English views|
|Flood warnings & alerts||6,771 (0.8%)||856,914|
|5 day flood risk for Wales||570 (0.3%)||174,150|
|Webpage||Cymraeg views||English views|
|Flood warnings & alerts||4,843 (0.5%)||1,024,179|
|5 day flood risk for Wales||346 (0.1%)||336,933|
Flood warning message and website
Flood warnings and alerts webpage - we provide details of all warnings in force along with live flood information.
A key element of our service is to provide real-time information to help people understand their immediate flood risk. This requires the ability to accurately translate information in Welsh.
We are planning to explore options for developing this translation capability so that we can provide richer, more helpful information – noting there is little room for translation error in a potentially life-saving service.
On completion of the Floodline improvement we plan to carry out activities to promote our Welsh language offering to increase their use.
Our statistics show that over the year there were 48,019 (2.13%) page views on our Welsh pages, this is an increase of 3,424 views from last year. There were 2,204,933 (97.87%) on English pages. The most accessed page in Welsh was our job vacancy pages with 2,338 page views.
During the year our digital team have carried out work to improve the Welsh language capability of our website considering both the digital standards and Welsh language standards when developing ICT services.
The digital team have met with our contact at the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office to check the needs for the translation of 'attribute tables data' in the flood map for planning and the peatlands data portal for Wales. This meeting helped to ensure that the online service was being developed in line with requirements of our standards but also considering the expectations of those using the service and the limitations in being able to amend some technical information.
More information can be found on the work the team have carried out to improve the websites bilingual capability and services can be found in appendix 2 of this report.
Marine species dictionary
Our marine area statement team have worked with Bangor University to develop a Welsh marine species dictionary. This is a list of species names in the marine environment that includes their common English, Welsh, and scientific names and published on Termau Cymru.
Having this dictionary in the public domain enables greater accessibility of marine terminology, both in the environmental field and for members of the public. The dictionary is already being used by our own internal translation team for technical correspondence.
Microsoft Teams telephones
In March we migrated to using Microsoft Teams telephones allowing staff to make and receive telephone calls to external numbers from their laptops.
Whilst the system has an automated answerphone in English only, we have offered training to all staff which included the need to record a bilingual answer message, Welsh language telephone correspondence guidance forms part of the guidance for using Microsoft Teams telephones.
Raising awareness of standards
Each month managers receive corporate information to share with their team. Over the last year we have continued to raise awareness of the Welsh language policy and therefore managers have been asked to raise awareness and remind their teams to:
- remind staff of our internal language policy
- be proactive in promoting and offering a language choice when initiating contact with others, including in online meetings.
- ensure email signatures and out of office messages are bilingual
- assess and record Welsh language skills in MyNRW
- promote our Welsh language training programme,
- consider and discuss translation requirements with Translation Team
- ensure text is proof read when using automated translation tools
Over the last year our Grŵp pencampwyr iaith Gymraeg (Welsh language champions group), with a representative from each of our directorates have met four times and members have:
- Promoted ICT systems that are available for staff in Welsh including using the the background which has the 'Cymraeg' symbol in Microsoft Teams, and developed 'Dwi’n Dysgu Cymraeg' mail tip for Welsh learners on Outlook email to help in communicating informally in Welsh by email with colleagues.
- Five have volunteered to mentor and support a learner each, helping learners practice their speaking skills.
- Raised awareness and promoted Welsh language training courses with their teams.
- Worked with Welsh Government on joint projects, ensuring they comply with the requirements of our Standards.
- Helped develop a separate Welsh and English video to help inspire people to get out into the great outdoors.
Cymraeg 2050 - Welsh Government action plan for 2021/22
In implementing and improving our Welsh language services, we have contributed towards Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 Strategy Action Plan for 2021-22 by:
- recruiting staff with Welsh language skills into roles that deal with the public on a regular basis, ensuring that the percentage of Welsh speakers are higher in the Welsh speaking stronghold areas.
- promote and support our staff to develop their language skills to help increase our capability in providing services bilingually for the future.
- promote the use of Say Something in Welsh as one of the resources offered through our Welsh language training programme.
- Health and education team training courses with the education sector, contribute to ensuring that educators have skills and confidence to teach environmental subjects through the medium of Welsh using the correct terms and names.
- through operating all our social media accounts bilingually, promote Welsh language culture and events to a wide audience, raising awareness that Welsh is a living spoken language.
- develop our services to suit the needs of users, by listening and acting upon feedback, proactively promoting, facilitating, and welcoming the use of our services in Welsh in all areas of the business.
Implementing our policy making standards
Equality impact assessment
The need to consider an equality impact assessment has been fully embedded into our project management office process and procedures for our projects.
In carrying out an assessment, we are required to seek feedback from those likely to be affected before a decision is made, 'we don’t know what we don’t know' without asking those affected.
Over the year 27 assessments were carried out, with some showing more work required to raise awareness to understand the needs of Welsh speakers in relation to how the project, policy or strategy can impact on the ability to use the language.
The Welsh language policy advisor is part of the approval process for all assessments and provides advice on considerations in relation to the needs of Welsh speakers.
Over the last year our grants team have been updating their policy and processes. Welsh language considerations have formed part of the process with an advice document drafted for the grants policy team on the requirement to our standards in relation to grants.
Guidance has also been drafted for applicants to help them in understanding Welsh language considerations and how to use and promote the Welsh language as part of their project work.
Questions have been included in our consultation process to gather feedback on the effects the policy decision being consulted on may have on the use of the Welsh language have been incorporated into our consultations and Citizen Space guide in line with requirements of standards 88 and 89.
Asking questions in relation to the Welsh language in consultations will help us in gaining a better understanding of how our work could impact on the use of the Welsh language on our customers, partners, public and staff. This feedback will help us in developing our services and relationships to suit their needs.
Implementing our operational standards
Six courses have taken place online over this reporting period with 164 attending in total. Feedback from those attending said they found the information provided useful in helping them understand our legislative requirements, Welsh language training programme and the support our translation team.
The induction course has been a worthwhile platform to promote the programme with several new starters have shown an interest in developing their language skills through our training programme.
Welsh language training programme
To date, 138 members of staff attending Welsh language training at various levels. This is down by 23 from last year however:
- most of our learners are based in North West Wales 29% (40) and Gwent 24% (33).
- 15% (20) of our learners are or near being fluent Welsh speakers.
- if the 14% (19) who are currently learning at intermediate level continue learning, they will become fluent Welsh speakers within the next 3 to 4 years.
As a result of Covid-19, only oral exams took place in summer 2021. The uptake for these were very low as most learners would prefer to sit all exams at once.
Once restrictions continue to ease, some face-to-face training will resume, this style of learning suits some of our learners better as they believe it provides them with further opportunity to reinforce what they are learning. Some learners have already commented that moving courses online has provided flexibility and reduced travelling, being more environmentally friendly. More information on our training programme can be found in appendix 3 of this report.
Work Welsh Employer of the Year 2021-22
We were recently awarded Work Welsh Employer of the Year 2021-22. This is an annual award given by The National Centre for Learning Welsh who said that “Natural Resources Wales are the worthy winners of this award for 2021-22” due to the support we provide staff in learning Welsh as follows:
- Allow staff to attend courses within working hours
- Arrange revision sessions before exams if needed
- Arrange extra sessions for classes during summer holidays
- Study leave for those studying for exams
- Mentoring scheme
Following discussion with the Welsh Language Commissioner we developed new guidance where managers assess language levels of vacant roles.
Feedback from managers during the trial has been positive with useful points raised which have been incorporated into the draft guidance and form making the guidance easier to use and understand.
NRW participated in the Kickstart project which provided 6 months’ work placements for 16- to 24-year-olds to gain experience to help secure skills for the workplace for future employment.
We advertised 50 placement opportunities through the scheme, 25 of the placements were filled. 6 placements were advertised requiring a Welsh speaker, 3 of the placements were filled with a Welsh speaker.
All other roles were advertised as requiring Level 1 Welsh language skills, to show linguistic courtesy as part of these placements.
Record keeping standards
Our standards require that we keep records as follows:
The number of employees who have Welsh language skills at the end of the year in question on the basis of the records kept in accordance with standard 145
We have seen a steady increase in the language skills of our staff at most levels, with the highest percentage of our Welsh speakers fluent in both written and spoken Welsh at level 5. Most of our fluent Welsh speakers are in our operations directorate with the majority based in North Wales. Overall 730 (32.4%) of our staff can discuss matters in Welsh with others at Levels, 3, 4 and 5, with 94.1% of our staff are able to show linguistic courtesy when meeting and greeting others.
The number of fluent Welsh speakers have increased by 21 through our recruitment process. The percentage increase from last year does not reflect this due to the increase in our overall staff numbers.
The Welsh language skills of our staff at March 2022 can be found below:
- Level 5 = 334 (14.8%)
- Level 4 = 221 (9.8%)
- Level 3 = 175 (7.8%)
- Level 2 = 456 (20%)
- Level 1 = 942 (41.75)
- No skills = 88 (3.9%)
43 (2%) are yet to self-assess their language skills.
Analysis of our fluent Welsh speakers show that:
- The majority are aged between 30-39 (155)
- 126 are aged between 50-59
- 45 are aged 60+
- 298 are males
- 60 are females who work part-time
- The highest numbers are in grades 5 and 6 with the lowest numbers at our more senior grades of 9 and above.
- 48 new starters are fluent Welsh speakers
- 44 fluent Welsh speakers have left in this reporting year
More information on the Welsh language skills of staff can be found in appendix 4 of this report.
The number of staff who attended training courses offered in Welsh during the year on the basis of the records kept in accordance with standard 146. If a Welsh version of a course was offered during the year, the percentage of the total number of staff attending the course who attended the Welsh version on the basis of the records kept in accordance with standard 124
During this reporting period none of the courses listed below were offered in Welsh as required in accordance with standard 146:
- performance management – online using Microsoft Teams
- recruitment and interviewing – online using Microsoft Teams
- complaints and disciplinary procedures – no courses taken place
- induction – online using Microsoft Teams
- dealing with the public – no courses taken place
- health and safety – some face-to-face
The majority of our courses have continued online during this period apart from some health and safety courses.
The number of new and vacant posts advertised during the year which were categorised as requiring Welsh language skills as essential, desirable, needed to be learnt when appointed to the post, or not necessary on the basis of the records kept in accordance with standard 148
During this reporting period we have advertised 586 vacancies in total, 384 were internal moves with 202 advertised externally.
All posts are advertised requiring level 1 as the minimum language, training is given to staff who need to attain this level of understanding to show linguistic courtesy.
Number of posts advertised during this reporting period were as follows:
|Language level||Essential||Desirable||Welsh to be learnt|
|Level 5 – fluency in spoken and written Welsh||7||0||0|
|Level 4 – fluency in spoken Welsh||30||91||1|
|Level 3 - The ability to communicate in Welsh with con confidence in some work situations||20||95||6|
|Level 1 – The ability to pronounce basic Welsh names, phrases, and greetings||336||0||0|
Analysis of the above stats and language abilities of staff who secured roles through our recruitment process, both internally and externally during this reporting period are as follows:
- 65 are Welsh speakers at level 5
- 39 are Welsh speakers at level 4
- 31 are Welsh speakers at level 3
- 76 are Welsh speakers at level 2
- 360 are Welsh speakers at level 1
- 15 have no Welsh language skills
The 15 who do not meet the level 1 minimum language level required are expected to complete the 10-hour online course provided by the National Centre for Learning Welsh. This course will need to be completed within the probationary period to help achieve this level.
The number of complaints received during the year which related to compliance with standards numbers 152, 156, 162 and 164 with which we are under a duty to comply with
During this reporting period we received ten complaints, this is an increase of eight from last year. We dealt with all the complainants that came to us directly on each occasion to resolve matters.
Complaints received were as follows:
Three complaints were received due to erroneous Welsh text found on NRW signage.
Complainants were dealt with directly, signage was removed and replaced with new signage and correct text.
Teams responsible were reminded to ensure text is proof read when using automated translation tools. This was highlighted in the managers monthly.
Each complainant was satisfied with the steps taken by us to rectify the errors.
One complaint was received on our use of River Towy rather than Tywi in the English version of our stakeholder cyfoeth newsletter.
Having looked at our own and others use of spelling of Tywi, it has been decided that only Tywi will be used in our communication material in future. This requirement has been added to our communication style guide.
The complainant was satisfied with the action taken.
Two complaints were received due to our use of the spelling Cwm Carn, asking that we change and use Cwmcarn to be consistent with way the village is spelt.
Having previously sought the advice of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Place Name Standardisation Panel, it was explained that the use of two words differentiates between the topographical (Cwm/Valley) feature and a settlement or a village.
Not all complainants were happy with our explanation following and the Welsh Language Commissioner’s contact details were passed on for information.
One complaint was received having found inconsistencies on the spellings of Cwm Carn found on signage at the site.
In discussion with our translation team, though the use of the term 'gyrfa' is not incorrect for 'drive', it was agreed that the term 'rhodfa' was more appropriate to describe the drive through the woodland. When the current timber signs displaying 'gyrfa' are updated, 'rhodfa' will be used. This was explained to the complainant.
The Environment Agency received a complaint in Welsh in relation to the fact that the Gov.uk Get a Fishing Licence service does not allow the user to complete the online catch and release form in Welsh.
It was explained that we are working in partnership with the Environment Agency on developing the Get a Fishing Licence service bilingually. A Welsh hard copy of the form was sent to the complainant to complete.
We also receive complaints from our own staff on the lack of compliance with our internal language policy on occasions in relation to sending out bilingual emails and in relation to internal presentations to large groups of staff being in English only.
Monitoring exercise 2022
A monitoring exercise was carried out with five of our permitting teams, our three visitor centres, customer care hub, and our financial transactional team. The teams were asked to complete an online monitoring form as part of our work in self-regulating our standards in relation to our service delivery standards.
This exercise highlighted the following positive aspects:
- Forestry permitting team dealt with 22 applications in Welsh in 2021/22, with the permit delivery team dealing with one, no applications in Welsh were received by the other permitting teams.
- All the teams apart from one have at least one or more Welsh speakers at Level 3, 4 or 5, the one team with no fluent Welsh speaker currently have 3 members of staff developing their language skills at Level 2 to build team language skill capability.
- All visitor centres public facing staff are fluent Welsh speakers, with reception areas promoting the use of Welsh with 'Cymraeg' posters and staff wearing lanyards.
- Our customer hub and financial transactional team provide a proactive telephone language choice to callers.
- All forms are available to the public in Welsh (online forms and hard copies). Our online forms provide a direct link from the English form to the Welsh via a toggle allowing the customer the choice to complete in Welsh.
- Guidance, policies, and procedures are available to the public in Welsh for all the teams apart from our installations and radioactive substance regulations permitting team due to the technical nature of the work. Having followed our translation guidance the team have assessed that the expectation of those applying for a permission would not expect guidance and procedures in Welsh.
However, more consistency needs to be made:
- to ensure more consistency in keeping records of applications dealt with in Welsh.
- permitting teams do not make the initial contact with applicants and will correspond in the language the application is received. Upon responding to applications a proactive language choice should be more consistently offered.
- monitor to ensure that all forms have a statement on English form that it is also available in Welsh.
Good practice shared by teams as part of our monitoring exercise:
- One permitting team will upon responding to the applicant ask language preference regardless of language application received, this helps to encourage and facilitate the use of Welsh.
- Welsh language skills are essential in recruitment process for visitor centre staff.
- Greeting all customers bilingually (in person and on the phone). 'Cymraeg' sign is on display at the reception desk, with 'Cymraeg' and 'Dwi’n Dysgu Cymraeg' lanyards worn by staff. Displaying this material and hearing the language being spoken gives a sense of place to those visiting and helps to promote the use of the language is welcomed.
- Welsh language learners club for visitors at Coed y Brenin.
Risk of non-compliance
Purchase of fishing licence on Gov.uk
During 2021/22 we have made progress in working with the Environment Agency who administer the fishing licence purchase service on our behalf in developing the Welsh language capability on the website. Currently the website is in English only and non-compliant with our standards. Fishing licences continue to be sold at local post offices; all fishing licences sold to Welsh postcodes are bilingual.
With funding and translation support from NRW, the Environment Agency have started on this work, with our translation team providing Welsh versions of all the information held on the fishing licencing purchasing service. Once the information has been uploaded, the team will proof-read to ensure all the information is in the correct place and format and test the site with our digital team prior the service becoming live on Gov.uk website, which we hope will be during 2022.
We will continue to work with Environment Agency during the year to ensure that all information they administer on our behalf on the Gov.uk site as well as via other communication channels will be available to customers in Welsh and compliant with the requirements of our standards.
The Welsh Language Commissioner is being kept informed of this progress.
Floodline UK service cannot guarantee a dedicated Welsh speaker to provide a service equal to that of the English service provided, therefore making the service non-compliant with our legal duties.
The flood warning and informing team have identified a possible solution which will mitigate the non-compliance issue. A business case being submitted to the D&I Programme and being approved through the project management office process.
Promoting Welsh language and culture
Since October 2021 we have been promoting and raised awareness of the language, events, historical and current Welsh cultural traditions on our intranet, Yammer, and social media accounts. These have proven to be popular with both staff and the pubic and helps to share the cultural history and language of Wales.
Our very own Côr Cyfoeth staff choir recorded 'Ar Lan y Môr' especially for St David’s Day, this attracted many likes on both our Yammer and comments on our social media accounts. The recording not only celebrates St David’s Day but showcases through photos and video footage our work in helping to protect and keep the natural habitats of Wales for future generations along with celebrating the 10year anniversary of the Wales Coast Path this year.
We have promoted:
- publication of Welsh language annual report in September 2021
- Shwmae/Su’mae day – 14 to 15 October
- Dathlu Dysgu Cymraeg/Celebrate Learning Welsh – 11 to 15 October 2021
- Calan Gaeaf First Day of Winter – 1 November
- Diwrnod Hawliau Iaith Gymraeg – 5 to 7 December
- Welsh Christmas and New Year Traditions 15 to 17 December
- Santes Dwynwen (Welsh Valentines Day) 25 January
- Welsh Music Day 4 February
- St David's Day 1 March
- Diwrnod y Llyfr 3 March
- Diwrnod Barddoniaeth y Byd – World Poetry Day 21 March
Action plan 2021–22
The action plan for 2021-22 had 15 actions in total, out of the actions 11 were completed with 3 ongoing, 1 not started. Some of the ongoing and not been completed actions are due to other work priorities and the Covid-19 restrictions. The ongoing and not started actions form part of the for action plan for 2022–23.
Action plan 2022–23
The priorities in our action plan for 2022- 23 will be:
- launch the new process for assessing Welsh language skills of posts
- continue working with Environment Agency to ensure all information on Gov.uk is available in Welsh and compliant with our Welsh language standard
- develop and seek approval to implement the solution to mitigate non-compliance risk on Floodline UK flood information service to be compliant with our Welsh language standards
- develop one-stop-shop page for Welsh language services, advice, training and resources on the intranet for staff
- start work on developing a Welsh language strategy and review our internal language policy
NRW Welsh language strategy
Gyda’n Gilydd - All Together - NRW's diversity and inclusion strategy 2021-25 was approved by board in January 2022, with an operational action plan which includes drafting a Welsh language strategy for the organisation. Our aim is to increase opportunities for our Welsh speakers and learners to use the language daily, both internally and externally in our dealings with others as part of our day-to-day work. Work will start of developing the strategy this coming year.
This will help in ensuring our Welsh speaking business need matches the capability in each workplace and help us in being an organisation fit for the future in line with the ambition of Welsh Government language strategy – Cymraeg 2050.
We are pleased with the progress we are making in implementing our Welsh language standards, and with the number of Welsh speaking staff increasing, we will look for more opportunities for our staff to use the language as part of their day-to-day role.
The development of our translation team to a team of six to meet our Welsh language needs in-house, can only improve our services to both the public and our own staff, allowing for greater consistency with terminology and style, improving the user experience by co-creating content in Welsh alongside the English content. Over time, we hope this style of developing our services will increase the numbers using our Welsh language services.
With the end of the Covid restrictions and our lives slowly getting back to normal, several staff have shown an interest in re-starting their Welsh classes and looking forward to having some face-to-face classes as they feel this provides them with the opportunity to reinforce what they are learning. We will promote our training with the aim of increasing the number of staff who wish to develop their language skills.
Winning the Work Welsh Workplace of the Year 2021-22 has meant a lot to us as an organisation and the work that we do in supporting our staff to develop their language skills being recognised. We appreciate the personal commitment our learners give to developing their language skills and want to ensure that they are supported as they progress to become confident Welsh speakers for the future.
There are some services which are non-compliant with our standards, but we are confident that the work we are doing to address these areas will help to mitigate non-compliance with our standards in the coming year.
As an organisation we want people to use our Welsh language services and to feel they are welcome to use them in all areas of our work. We welcome the feedback received and will do all we can to develop and provide services that suit the needs of the users, by providing a real language choice to help improve our services with the aim of increasing their use over time. All this work will contribute to the Welsh Government’s aim in Cymraeg 2050 and The Wellbeing Future Generation Act as well as our own ambitions as an organisation to use and increase the use of the language both externally and internally.
Translation Team - Trialling new approaches
In February 2022, the translations team was invited to collaborate in the content creation process with the digital team. The digital team had already been working on creating user-centric content on woodland creation and invited our Senior Translator to trial a new 'trio writing' process as part of one of the sprints alongside a user researcher and content designer. The aim of the project is to:
- create and publish user-centric content about woodland creation and management
- put in place new, collaborative ways of working
- build momentum for creating further user-centred content
The first trio writing session gave us the opportunity to work on a live Google Doc in both English and Welsh. This enabled the translator to develop a better understanding of the content and hear about any issues that the researcher had already encountered in terms of vocabulary and tone of voice. The process was then showcased in the Bilingual Community of Practice in March.
Following on from the initial trio writing approach, we have also started working on a similar project looking at ways of creating bilingual user-centric content on hazardous waste. To date, we have taken part in one sprint and created one piece of content which has proceeded to prototype with the aim of testing with bilingual users. Work is ongoing.
Online flood services
- Conducted research interviews with Welsh users to develop a prototype view your flood risk side by side in Welsh and English.
- We reviewed final service translations view your flood risk and Flood map for planning to make them as natural as possible in the context of the service.
- We translated the buttons, labels and tables for the shoreline management plans map to take advantage of our knowledge of the context.
- We reviewed the Welsh version of our Cookiebot 'cookies' management service statement to make it more natural and understandable.
- Moving the old English only version of the flood risk assessment map for Wales to a new platform that will be bilingual. We have tried to create everyday Welsh language versions for the map labels
- Designing a registration service for new flood warnings. We will test the Welsh version alongside the English one
- All online surveys for flood services go out in Welsh. The consumer researcher creates the Welsh version in order to convey the meaning rather than a strict translation.
- In the future, we will be working on a project to revamp the river levels service. We will conduct research interviews to check the Welsh version.
Designing content in Welsh earlier in the process
We are a strong voice of projects to promote the practice of testing Welsh version alongside the English, rather than relying on translation at the end of the process.
Apart from the above flood works, we have carried out:
- two discovery interviews in Welsh for the Centre of Digital Public Services (CDPS) project for hazardous waste
- two interviews to test a Welsh prototype with the above
- a number of Welsh interviews for a forest creation project
- we plan to conduct a series of interviews in Welsh for the next row of the above project
These have several useful points for vocabulary in such registration services
Our roll in the CDPS practice group on sharing and building on good practice on the design of bilingual services:
- We contribute to the CDPS 'Building bilingual services' 'community of practice' each week
- We have introduced three sessions to the 'ma' group to share our work of including testing materials in Welsh early in the process
Other: Work on maps / peat portals etc
- Met with an official from the Office of the Welsh Language Commissioner to check the needs for the translation of 'attribute tables data' in the flood map for planning and the peatlands data portal for Wales
- Continue to work with authors to ensure that web content is bilingual wherever possible
Number of learners attending each learning level
NRW currently offer a mentoring scheme which is designed to provide support for Welsh learners within the organisation. The scheme involves fluent Welsh speaking staff members or more advanced learners volunteering 30 minutes of their time every fortnight to informally chat to their Welsh learner buddy.
We have had a great uptake so far with 35 mentors and 49 learners registering for the scheme. This is very encouraging, and we are always open/encouraging more people to join.
Say Something in Welsh
There have been many requests in the past from staff to introduce Say Something in Welsh as an alternative and flexible method of learning. We currently have 20 people trialling this with more being added daily. We find this is a good way of getting complete beginners to start their learning whilst waiting to register for a Learn Welsh course.
We offer this course to all NRW staff; however, it appears that it is better directed towards staff on short term contracts, visitor centre staff and staff members that are unable to commit to a course due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical conditions).
Welsh language skills of staff
|Date||No return completed||No language skills||Able to pronounce basic phrases and greetings||Able to construct basic sentences||Able to discuss some work matters confidently||Fluent Welsh speaker||Fluent in both spoken and written Welsh|
|March 2022||43 (2%)||88 (3.9%)||942 (41.7%)||456 (20%)||175 (7.8%)||221 (9.8%)||334 (14.8%)|
|February 2021||109 (4.9%)||87(3.9%)||915( 40.9%)||438 (19.6%)||153 (6.8%)||225 (10%)||310 (13.9%)|
|March 2020||134 (6.5%)||63 (3.1%)||820 (40.0%)||412 (20.1%)||136 (6.6%)||211 (10.3%)||275 (13.4%)|
Headcount March 2022 = 2259 – Number and percentage of Welsh speakers in March 2022 = 555 (24.6%)
Headcount February 2021 = 2237 - Number and percentage of Welsh speakers in February 2021 = 535 (24%)
Headcount March 2020 = 2051 - Number and percentage of Welsh speakers in March 2020 = 486 (23.7%)
Welsh language skills by age profile
|Age||No return completed||No understanding of Welsh||Able to pronounce basic Welsh phrases and names||Able to construct basic Welsh sentences||Able to discuss some work matters confidently||Fluency in spoken Welsh||Fluency in spoken and written Welsh||Grand total|
|22 - 29||7||15||80||23||14||18||66||223|
|30 - 39||9||17||192||102||43||56||99||518|
|40 - 49||13||23||307||158||52||75||70||698|
|50 - 59||9||24||286||137||52||52||74||634|
Welsh language skills by sex – full-time/part-time Employees
|No return completed||No understanding of Welsh||Able to pronounce basic Welsh phrases and names||Able to construct basic Welsh sentences||Able to discuss some work matters confidently||Fluency in spoken Welsh||Fluency in spoken and written Welsh||Grand total|
|Male full -time||19||49||498||207||76||116||182||1147|
Welsh language skills by each grade
|Grade||No return completed||No understanding of Welsh||Able to pronounce basic Welsh phrases and names||Able to construct basic Welsh sentences||Able to discuss some work matters confidently||Fluency in spoken Welsh||Fluency in spoken and written Welsh||Grand total|
Welsh language skills of new starters and leavers
|Starters/leavers||No return completed||No understanding of Welsh||Able to pronounce basic Welsh phrases and names||Able to construct basic Welsh sentences||Able to discuss some work matters confidently||Fluency in spoken Welsh||Fluency in spoken and written Welsh||Grand total|