|Bethan Sayed AC||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Caroline Jones AC|
|Dai Lloyd AC|
|David Melding AC|
|Jenny Rathbone AC|
|Mick Antoniw AC|
|Rhianon Passmore AC|
|Vikki Howells AC||yn dirprwyo ar ran Jane Hutt|
|substitute for Jane Hutt|
|Jason Thomas||Cyfarwyddwr Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Director, Culture, Sport and Tourism, Welsh Governmen|
|Peter Owen||Pennaeth Yr Is-adran Amgueddfeydd, Archifau a Llyfrgelloedd, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Head of Museums Archives Libraries Division, Welsh Government|
|Rónán Ó Domhnaill||Comisiynydd Iaith Iwerddon|
|Irish Language Commissioner|
|Sue Ball||Cyfarwyddwr Cynorthwyol, Datblygu Sefydliadol, Bwrdd Iechyd Lleol Aneurin Bevan|
|Assistant Director of Organisational Development, Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board|
|Teresa Owen||Cyfarwyddwr Gweithredol Iechyd y Cyhoedd, Bwrdd Iechyd Lleol Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr|
|Executive Director of Public Health, Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board|
|Yr Arglwydd / Lord Elis-Thomas AC||Y Dirprwy Weinidog Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth|
|Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism|
|Yr Athro Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost||Ysgol y Gymraeg, Prifysgol Caerdydd|
|School of Welsh, Cardiff University|
|Yr Athro Robert Dunbar||Cadeirydd, Ieithoedd, Llenyddiaeth, Hanes a Hynafiaethau Celtaidd, Prifysgol Caeredin|
|Chair of Celtic Languages, Literature, History and Antiquities, University of Edinburgh|
|Adam Vaughan||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Gwyn Griffiths||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Craffu ar waith y Dirprwy Weinidog Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth - yr Archif Ddarlledu Genedlaethol||2. Scrutiny of the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism - National Broadcast Archive|
|3. Cefnogi a hybu'r Gymraeg: Ymchwiliad i'r cyd-destun deddfwriaethol, polisi ac ehangach: Sesiwn dystiolaeth 8||3. Supporting and promoting the Welsh language: An inquiry into the legislative, policy and wider context: Evidence session 8|
|4. Cefnogi a hybu'r Gymraeg: Ymchwiliad i'r cyd-destun deddfwriaethol, polisi ac ehangach: Sesiwn dystiolaeth 9||4. Supporting and promoting the Welsh language: An inquiry into the legislative, policy and wider context: Evidence session 9|
|5. Papurau i’w nodi||5. Paper(s) to note|
|6. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod ar gyfer y mater a ganlyn:||6. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for the following business:|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:31.
The meeting began at 09:31.
Diolch a chroeso i Bwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu. Eitem 1: cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau. Mae gennym ni ymddiheuriadau a dirprwyon. Mae Jane Hutt wedi ymddiheuro. Er ei bod hi'n Weinidog, mae hi dal yn aelod ffurfiol o'r pwyllgor yma hyd at wythnos nesaf, a bydd Vikki Howells yn dirprwyo ar ei rhan. A oes gan unrhyw un rhywbeth i'w ddatgan o ran buddiant? Na. Grêt.
Thank you and welcome to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. Item 1: introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. We have apologies and substitutions. Jane Hutt has apologised. Even though she's a Minister, she's still a formal member of this committee until next week, and Vikki Howells will substitute for her. Do any Members have any declarations of interest? No. Great.
Felly, gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 2, craffu ar waith y Dirprwy Weinidog dros Ddiwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth—archif ddarlledu genedlaethol, a chroeso i Dafydd Elis-Thomas, y Dirprwy Weinidog Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth a hefyd i'r swyddogion Peter Owen a Jason Thomas.
Wedi ymgynghoriad gan Aelodau'r Cynulliad, rydw i wedi gofyn a ydym ni'n gallu gofyn cwestiwn clou ar y dechrau sydd ddim ar yr archif ond sydd ar rywbeth sydd wedi creu stwrw yn ardal Port Talbot yng nghyd-destun y darn o waith celf Banksy sydd wedi cael ei roi ar garej yn Taibach. Rydw i ar ddeall eich bod chi wedi—wel, eich swyddogion—cwrdd â'r perchennog ddoe â'ch bod chi wedi trafod hyn gyda phobl yn yr ardal. A fyddech chi'n gallu rhoi rhyw fath o gyd-destun o'r hyn rydych chi wedi'i wneud yn barod a'r hyn y byddech chi, efallai, eisiau gweld yn digwydd i'r darn celf, wrth gwrs, yng nghyd-destun siarad gyda'r perchennog am yr hyn fyddai orau i'r darn o waith celf hwnnw?
So, we'll move on to item 2, scrutiny of the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism on the national broadcast archive, and welcome Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, and also his officials Peter Owen and Jason Thomas.
In consultation with Assembly Members, I have asked about asking a question that's not on the archive, but on something that has created a stir in the Port Talbot area in the context of a piece of art by Banksy that has been placed on a garage in Taibach. I understand that your officials have met with the owner yesterday and that you have discussed this with people in the area. Would you be able to provide us with some sort of context regarding what you've done already and what you, perhaps, will want to see happen to this piece of art—of course, in the context of speaking to the owner about what would be best for this piece of art?
Wel, rydw i'n falch iawn eich bod chi wedi gofyn y cwestiwn. Mae'n siŵr y dylwn i ddymuno blwyddyn newydd dda i Gadeirydd y pwyllgor ac i aelodau'r pwyllgor. Fe ges i gyfarwyddyd clir iawn o swyddfa'r Prif Weinidog yn syth ynglŷn â'r mater yma pan ddeuthum i i mewn i'r gwaith yr wythnos yma, ac roeddwn i'n falch iawn o gael cefnogaeth y Prif Weinidog. Mae yna drafodaethau wedi bod ers hynny. Rydw i am droi at Jason Thomas fel fy mhrif weithredwr yn y gwaith diwylliant a gwaith celf, a jest dweud, cyn imi ofyn iddo fo ddisgrifio manylion y trafodaethau sydd wedi digwydd, a gaf i ei gwneud hi'n hollol glir mai fy egwyddor i yw bod unrhyw waith celf sydd yn ymddangos yn gyhoeddus ac sydd yn cael cefnogaeth y cyhoedd yn waith y mae'n addas i Lywodraeth Cymru ei gefnogi? Ac, felly, mewn egwyddor, rydw i wedi dweud y byddwn ni yn barod i wario allan o'n cyllideb ni fel Llywodraeth pe bai galw am hynny, ond, yn ddelfrydol, wrth gwrs, byddwn ni am wneud hynny mewn partneriaeth efo awdurdodau lleol ac, wrth gwrs, Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru ac unrhyw bartneriaeth arall a fyddai'n fodlon cefnogi sut y mae cadw'r gwaith celf yma a'i ddiogelu at y dyfodol.
Yn wir, roeddwn i'n falch, mewn ystyr, fod hyn wedi digwydd, oherwydd y ddadl rydw i wedi bod yn ei chyflwyno—fel y cofiwch chi—ers dechrau'r drafodaeth ynglŷn â chael amgueddfa neu oriel gelf genedlaethol i Gymru, ydy y dylai honno fod yn ddatganoledig ac ar gael yn y cymunedau, ac nid oes dim enghraifft well o gelf gyhoeddus ar gael yn y cymunedau na beth sydd wedi digwydd ym Mhort Talbot, ac, felly, rydw i'n gweld hwn yn ddatblygiad positif iawn o safbwynt ein strategaeth ni fel Llywodraeth. Jason.
Well, I'm very pleased that you've asked the question. I'm sure I should wish the committee Chair and the committee members a very happy new year, first of all. I was given a very clear directive from the First Minister's office immediately on this issue when I came to work this week, and I was very pleased to receive the support of the First Minister. There have been discussions since then. I will turn to Jason Thomas, as my chief executive in the area of culture and art, and before I ask him to describe the details of the discussions that have taken place, may I make it entirely clear that my principle is that any work of art that appears publicly and is supported by the public is a piece of work that it is appropriate for the Welsh Government to support? So, in principle, I have stated that we would be willing to spend from our budget as a Government if that were required, but, ideally, of course, I would want to do that in partnership with local authorities, the Arts Council of Wales, and any other partners who would be happy to support the preservation and safeguarding of this artwork for the future.
Indeed, I was pleased, in one sense, that this had happened, because the argument that I've been making—as you will recall—since the beginning of the discussion on having a contemporary art gallery for Wales is that that should be a devolved gallery and should be available within communities, and there is no better example of public art available in our communities than what has happened in Port Talbot recently, and I see this as a very positive development in terms of our strategy as Government. Jason.
Diolch. I guess the primary issue that we wanted to address, really, was on Mr Lewis himself. It was clear from everything that had happened over the last couple of weeks that he was under, I guess, an enormous amount of stress, finding himself in a really unique position here. I think it's fair to say that we don't really have a policy for dealing with a Banksy piece of art in Port Talbot.
No, it certainly hasn't. On behalf of the Minister and the First Minister, I spoke to Mr Lewis earlier this week, and I've spoken to him several times, really to try to provide as much reassurance as we could that we are here to support him in any way that he likes. It's important to frame all of this from his context, I believe. So, what we've offered is—to try and give him as much peace of mind as possible, we've offered to provide security for the artwork immediately. We're in discussion with him around that. There is a security company there at the moment looking after it, and they've been extremely helpful to Mr Lewis. So, he's conscious that he wants to be able to help them as much as possible as well.
We have an avenue through Cadw and through a facilities maintenance contract that we've got so that we can put our security provider down there immediately, really. We've offered that to Mr Lewis. We're working with him. I've had a really long chat with people who he trusts, as well, to work on his behalf, so I think he feels reassured by all of that. We want to do everything that we can and keep all options on the table for the artwork itself. Ultimately, it's a private piece of art now that he owns. He's come about this in a strange set of circumstances.
It's clear to me that he wants to keep this in Wales, and, of course, ideally, Port Talbot. So, we want to do everything that we can to support him, basically. All options are on the table. My officials in the museums, archives and libraries division, plus in the arts branch, have been down to meet Mr Lewis yesterday, as have colleagues from Cadw, who are in charge of security—really positive discussions. So, all options are on the table, and I understand things will pick up pace over the next couple of days when these offers that he seems to have received are worked through, I guess.
I guess it's just to get on the record—I'm aware of some offers, but would you be keeping on the table potentially trying to see whether the Government could, if some of those offers didn't come through, play a role in keeping that piece of art in Wales?
All options are on the table. As I've explained to Mr Lewis myself, I think for the Welsh Government there's an important precedent that could be set here if we start intervening in purchasing private artwork. So, I think one potential outcome of this that would be preferred would be if somebody were to purchase it and loan it back—that could be a really good option for us. All options remain on the table, though. I think it would be a shame if this was lost to Port Talbot, actually. Like I say, the main concern is to help him through managing what's become a rather large visitor attraction, which we do have expertise in, so we're offering that.
Ocê, diolch yn fawr iawn. Gwnawn ni, mae'n siŵr, gadw golwg ar yr hyn sy'n digwydd a chefnogi'r perchennog. Rwyf i'n falch iawn bod y Llywodraeth wedi arwain o ran cymryd cyfrifoldeb dros gael y trafodaethau hynny gydag Ian Lewis. Gobeithio y gwnawn ni gael canlyniad positif i'r hyn sy'n digwydd.
Reit, gwnawn ni symud ymlaen yn awr, felly, at yr archif genedlaethol ar ran y BBC. A allaf i ofyn cwestiwn cychwynnol o ran a ydych chi'n credu bod egwyddor cefnogi cadw'r archif yn y llyfrgell yn rhywbeth sydd ar y bwrdd o hyd, neu a ydych chi wedi newid eich meddwl?
Okay, thank you very much. I'm sure we'll keep an eye on what is happening and support the owner. I'm very pleased that the Government has led on this, in terms of taking responsibility for these discussions with Ian Lewis. I hope that we'll have a positive outcome to what is happening.
So, we'll move on now to the national broadcast archive on behalf of the BBC. Can I ask an initial question: do you think that the principle of supporting and keeping the national broadcast archive in the library is something that's still on the table, or have you changed your mind?
Na, nid wyf i wedi newid fy meddwl. Rydw i wedi bod yn ymwneud â'r llyfrgell genedlaethol ac â'r archif cyfryngau, teledu a ffilm ers blynyddoedd fel cyn-gadeirydd Sgrin, wrth gwrs. Rydw i'n gefnogol iawn o ddatblygiad yr archif yna, ond mae'n rhaid i unrhyw ddatblygiad fod ar sail y defnydd gorau o arian cyhoeddus. Pan ddeuthum i i'r swydd yma, a chymryd diddordeb uniongyrchol o ddechrau'r flwyddyn ddiwethaf, mewn gwirionedd—mi welwch chi o'r holl ohebiaeth sydd wedi bod rhyngof i a llywydd y llyfrgell, ac mae yna drafodaethau eraill wedi bod, wrth gwrs, rhwng swyddogion, a thrafodaethau preifat eraill, rydw i'n awyddus iawn i weld y llyfrgell yn gallu manteisio ar bartneriaeth.
Ond, mae yna egwyddor arall fan hyn, sef i ba raddau y mae hi'n briodol i gorff cyhoeddus sydd heb ei ddatganoli, sef y BBC—a darlledu heb ei ddatganoli—i ba raddau mae hi’n briodol i gorff felly, sydd wedi defnyddio ei adnoddau ei hun yn y ddarpariaeth gyfatebol ar gyfer archif yn Lloegr, yn Perivale, a’r £9 miliwn, neu beth bynnag oedd y gost o'r buddsoddiad yna—. Rydw i’n deall bod y sefyllfa’n wahanol oherwydd mae hwnnw’n adeilad penodedig, ond mae e wedi’i sefydlu drwy’r BBC i gymryd cyfrifoldeb o’u cyllideb eu hunain tuag at warchod yr archif yn Lloegr. Mae’r egwyddor yn codi, wedyn, i ba raddau mae’n briodol bod cyllideb gyfyngedig bloc Cymru ar gyfer gwasanaethau datganoledig yng Nghymru yn cael eu defnyddio yn y sefyllfa yna. Mae’n rhaid imi ddweud fy mod i’n teimlo bod y ffordd mae’r drafodaeth wedi datblygu yn y misoedd diwethaf, a’r cynnig yma o £20 miliwn ar gyfer y dyfodol—ac mae hynny’n fy mhoeni i’n fawr iawn oherwydd—
I've not changed my mind, no. I have been involved with the national library and the television, film and media archive over a period of years as a former chair of Sgrin, of course. I am very supportive of the development of that archive, but any development must be on the basis of the best use of public funds. When I came into this post and took a direct interest from the beginning of last year, if truth be told—you will see from all of the correspondence that there's been between myself and the library president, and there have been other discussions, of course, between officials, as well as private discussions too, that I am very eager to see the library being able to benefit from partnership.
But, there is another principle here, namely to what extent it is appropriate for a public body that is non-devolved, namely the BBC—and broadcasting, of course, is non-devolved—to what extent is it appropriate for such a body that has used its own resources in the corresponding provision for the archive in England, in Perivale, and the £9 million, or whatever the cost of that investment was—. I understand the situation is different because that is a designated building, but it has been established with the BBC taking responsibility for it through its own budget in terms of safeguarding the archive in England. The principle then arises as to what extent is it appropriate that the limited budget of the Welsh block for devolved services in Wales should be used in that circumstance. And I have to say that I do feel that the way in which the debate has developed over the past few months, and this offer of £20 million for the future—and that concerns me greatly because—
Ugain mil—£20,000 roeddwn i fod i'w ddweud. Sori, mae’n ddrwg gen i—£20,000.
Twenty thousand pounds—I meant to say £20,000. Sorry, I apologise—£20,000.
Byddai £20 miliwn yn iawn, ond £20,000 ar gyfer y dyfodol. Ond dyna sut gymysgais i, oherwydd mae’r amcangyfrif ar hyn o bryd, roedd o dros £400,000, o’r gost flynyddol. Mae’n rhaid imi gael golwg ar honno, pe byddwn i’n rhoi swm o £1 filiwn, ddywedwn ni, i’r llyfrgell ac i’r BBC i ddatblygu’r prosiect yma, a’n bod ni’n gwybod bod yna gost flynyddol o £400,000 yn wreiddiol—rŵan maen nhw’n sôn am ua £250,000—mae hwnnw’n rhan fawr o gyllideb i gymharu â chyllideb gyfan y llyfrgell. Mae yna gwestiwn hefyd yn gysylltiol efo hynny a oedd yn bwysig iawn i mi ac i’m swyddogion i sydd yn fy nghynghori ar y materion yma—ac mi ofynnaf i Peter ddweud gair mewn dau funud—sef y defnydd o adnoddau dynol staff y llyfrgell ar gyfer gwaith fel hyn, a’r ffaith eu bod nhw—yn rhai o’r papurau a welais i—yn fodlon trosglwyddo 13, rydw i’n credu oedd y ffigur, o bobl oedd yn gyfrifol am y llyfrgell i mewn i wneud y gwaith yma. Felly, mae’n codi’r cwestiwn: a ydy hwn yn rhan o waith canolog y llyfrgell a beth mae’r bobl yma’n ei wneud ar hyn o bryd os ydy’r bobl yma ar gael ar gyfer darpariaeth arall? Felly, nid wyf i'n meddwl bod yr holl gynllun, yn y ffordd y datblygwyd o, wedi ystyried yn ddigonol pa fath o bartneriaeth fyddai’n gweithio orau rhwng y BBC a’r llyfrgell ac, wrth gwrs, Llywodraeth Cymru.
Yes, £20 million would be fine. No, £20,000 for future years. That's why I became confused, because the estimate at the moment was over £400,000. I would have to have oversight of that if I were to give, say, £1 million to the library and the BBC to develop this project, when we knew that the annual cost would have been £400,000 originally—now they're talking of around £250,000—that is a major part of the budget as compared to the wider library budget. There is a related question that was very important to me and my officials who advised me on these issues—and I will ask Peter to say a few words in a moment—namely the use of human resources, the staff within the library, for work such as this, and the fact that, in some of the papers that I've seen, they seem to be willing to transfer 13 staff members, I think, working for the library to carry out this work. So, it raises the question as to whether this is part of the core work of the library and what these people are doing at the moment if they are available for other provision. Therefore, I think the whole plan, in the way that it was drawn up, hasn't fully taken into account what sort of partnership would work best between the BBC, the library and, of course, the Welsh Government.
Felly, a ydy’r £1 filiwn yn dal i fod ar y bwrdd, neu a fyddech chi’n disgwyl i’r BBC roi mwy o arian mewn nag y maen nhw wedi’i gynnig?
So, is the £1 million still on the table, or do you expect the BBC to put more money in?
Wel, byddwn, wrth gwrs, oherwydd ni fyddai’n—. Gwarchod arian cyhoeddus a’i ddefnyddio’n briodol ydy fy ngwaith i. Ac felly, pan fyddwn ni'n dweud, 'A ydy’r £1 filiwn ar y bwrdd?' wel, 'ydy' a 'nac ydy'ydy’r ateb i hynny oherwydd nid oes cyllid o’r maint yna y gallwn ni ei ddefnyddio, ac yn enwedig yn y trefniadau newydd sydd gennym ni gyda’r Gweinidog datblygu rhyngwladol a'r iaith Gymraeg, ac nid wyf i wedi trafod y materion yma efo hi’n benodol, ond, yn amlwg, fe fyddai’n rhaid inni gyd-ariannu hwn fel Llywodraeth. Felly, na, nid ydy’r arian ar y bwrdd, ac mae’r drafodaeth ynglŷn â phartneriaethau rhwng y cyrff—y BBC, y llyfrgell a Llywodraeth Cymru—yn parhau, ydy’r ateb i hynny.
Well, yes, of course. Safeguarding public expenditure and using it appropriately is my job. When you ask whether the £1 million is still on the table, well, 'yes' and 'no' is the answer because we don't have funding of that scale available at the moment, particularly in the new arrangements that we have with the Minister for international affairs and the Welsh language, and I haven't discussed this issue with her specifically, but, clearly, we would have to fund this jointly as a Government. So, the funding isn't on the table, as such, and the debate on partnerships between the BBC, the library and the Welsh Government continues. That's the answer to that question.
Ocê. Iawn. David Melding. O, sori.
Okay. Fine. David Melding. Oh, sorry.
Dai, did you want to come in quickly?
Ie, wel, dim ond ar gefn hynny, achos rydym ni'n sôn am adnodd amhrisiadwy yn y fan hyn sydd o ddirfawr bwys i’r genedl, buaswn i’n dadlau, ac rwyf yn credu eich bod chithau hefyd yn dadlau, ond mae yna beryg ein bod ni’n colli’r holl beth. Hynny yw, os ydych chi’n dadlau bod yr £1 filiwn ar y bwrdd, neu efallai nad ydyw ar y bwrdd, ac efallai rydych chi eisiau rhagor o bres oddi wrth y BBC—ac rwyf i'n gallu deall y ddadl yna hefyd—mae yna amserlen dynn yn fan hyn ynglŷn â thynnu’r arian loteri yma lawr hefyd. Hynny yw, mae angen gwneud rhyw fath o weithgaredd o’ch ochr chi, ddim jest i aros i bethau ddigwydd. Hynny yw, a ydych chi’n bwriadu cael trafodaeth, er enghraifft, efo’r BBC, i weld a ydyn nhw’n barod i ehangu i fwy na’r £20,000 maen nhw’n fodlon ei roi ar hyn o bryd? Achos, fedrwn ni ddim jest gadael pethau fel y maen nhw, yn amlwg.
Yes, well, only on the back of that, because we are talking about an invaluable resource here that is of great importance to the nation, I would argue, and I think you would also argue that, but there's a danger that we lose all of it. Because if you argue that the £1 million is on the table or not on the table, and perhaps that you want more funding from the BBC—and I can understand that argument as well—there is a tight timetable here in terms of drawing this lottery funding down. There is a need to do some sort of activity from your side, not just wait for things to happen. Do you intend to have a discussion with the BBC to see whether they're willing to expand the £20,000 that they're willing to give you at the moment? You can't leave things as they are, obviously.
Nid ydym ni'n gadael dim byd fel y mae hi oherwydd mae’r loteri wedi ymestyn y cyfnod er mwyn i’r trafodaethau yma barhau, ac mae’r trafodaethau yn parhau.
We are leaving nothing as it is because the lottery has extended the period for these discussions and negotiations to continue, and they are ongoing.
Peter, would you like to explain what’s been going on in our discussions at official level?
Yes. We are continuing to have discussions with the BBC. In fact, we're planning to meet with the BBC and the national library within the next couple of weeks to discuss this very point about whether additional support could be provided by the BBC. I think that, on the point about whether this amazing cultural resource could be lost, I think it's obviously important to bear in mind that the entire collection has been digitised, so that collection will not be lost. I think there is an issue then about how far the physical collection—the old tapes, the old archive material—should be kept for. And, clearly, there is still an element of doubt about digital technology. So, it would not be sensible to literally throw away the original material at this point. But I think that question will have to be asked in the future: does it make sense to retain for all time the entire BBC Cymru Wales physical archive? But, certainly, yes, the short answer to the question is that those discussions are continuing and that we very much hope that the BBC will be willing to provide additional support in the way that the Minister describes.
On a more general point, if we are expecting the National Library of Wales, say, to accept some valuable piece of whatever is relevant to our history as a nation, it surely depends then, by this way of argument that, that whoever is donating said piece of valuable Welsh history or whatever would be expected to make a financial donation as well. So, you're asking the library not just to be in a position just to accept things but to accept a financial contribution from those donating it to it as well. I mean, is that the principle we are establishing here, or is it just because the BBC is involved?
Well, because the BBC is involved obviously, for the reasons I set out earlier, because we are talking about a non-devolved function, and the BBC has already invested in England and there's a kind of Barnett in reverse here. The Welsh Government is expected to pay for a facility that the BBC has paid for itself in Perivale, and nobody's answered that question to my satisfaction so far.
Can I come in on that? I do think that it's not that precedent because, if you use the analogy of somebody giving a donation, they're invariably giving a donation of something that is one of a kind. In this instance—and I think Peter's point is very relevant here and I think it's sometimes been misunderstood—the entire archive has already been digitised. So, they won't be giving something that is one of—it's already been digitised. And Peter's point is right about whether we should keep the physical archive for a certain amount of time until we can be sure that further digitisation is going to last forever. But the whole thing has been digitised already, and I think, sometimes, that's been lost in the debate around this.
That's great that it's been digitised, but it's got to be made available to the public to be of any use, and it seems to me that, unless we can secure that, all that time spent on digitising it just to shove it into an archive somewhere is really the main issue. Surely, just like all our wonderful books, we need this archive to be available to the people of Wales.
Yes. We are not convinced that the scheme for the clip centres is at all viable at the cost that's being proposed at the moment. I notice that the HLF themselves have suggested that there should be a pause and a review after that's been operating because they too are clearly not convinced that it's a viable—
Well, then we'll lose all the money because the deadline—. You know, at the end of this financial year, the Heritage Lottery Fund will no longer be providing the sort of resources that are currently on the table, so it'll be dead in the water at that point.
Yes, well, we haven't got there yet. We're still in discussion is the important point in relation to the HLF, but I haven't spoken to them directly, although, clearly, officials have been part of the discussion. But the principle here is that it's not part of my responsibility as the Minister to use Welsh public funds in a way that is not sustainable for the future, and I'm not convinced that this whole scheme is financially viable or, indeed, is likely to be viable in the take-up of people going to Carmarthen or going to wherever to visit a clip centre, when it is, I would have thought, quite possible with digitised material, provided you can get through any encryption on that material—and that is the issue for the BBC, obviously, of copyright and so on—
—when the current budget of the library is £9.85 million. Any senior leadership team worth their salt would be able to find that sort of money.
Well, have you looked at the deficit projected for the library in the next two financial years? It's £900,000.
But, surely, more resources coming in will enable them to act more efficiently, because you said earlier something that I find rather surprising: 'What are these staff doing at the moment?'. Well, no staff, none of our staff are going to be doing the same thing that they're doing today in five years' time; everybody has to change. So, no change is not an option given (a) austerity and (b) automation. There are huge changes in the way we deliver services, so I can't see how that is a substantive point.
Jest i gadarnhau, fel rwyt ti’n gwybod, mae prosiect yr archif yma’n brosiect £9 miliwn, yn dibynnu ar £5 miliwn yn cael ei ‘lever-o’ lawr o’r arian loteri, sydd yn ddibynnol ar y £1 filiwn oddi wrthych chi. Felly, i gadarnhau, mae’r £1 filiwn yna oddi wrthych chi yn dal i fod ar y bwrdd.
Just to confirm, as you know, this archive project is a £9 million project, relying on £5 million being levered down from the lottery funding that is reliant on the £1 million from you. So, just to confirm, that £1 million from you is still on the table.
Wel, ydy ac nac ydy, fel y dywedais i'n gynt. Mae'n ddibynnol ar gwrdd â'r gofidiau clir iawn rydw i wedi'u mynegi wrth y pwyllgor yma, ac, os darllenwch chi'r ohebiaeth, rydw i wedi bod yn dilyn y safbwynt yma ers dechrau'r ohebiaeth rhyngof i a llywydd y llyfrgell.
Well, yes and no, as I said earlier. It is reliant on meeting the very clear concerns that I've expressed to this committee, and, if you read the correspondence, I have adhered to this view since the beginning of that correspondence between myself and the library president.
I can see how the position of the BBC as a public body and the action it's taking in England is quite material to decision making over the archive in Wales. But, having read the correspondence, and up until today, actually—your latest paper—this is not mentioned explicitly and I just wonder—. You do say things about the financial arrangements and the contributions partners, I accept that. But it's not mentioned as a specific issue that the magnitude of funding is grossly inappropriate from the BBC. And, behind the scenes, going back to this time last year when your correspondence first started and you raised major issues about this project, was it at the forefront of the information you were giving to the library at that stage? Because, until this morning, I had not heard in these terms that it's roughly £9 million in England; that would be nearly £0.5 million here, which is a huge issue, I agree, that we need to consider. So, why has it emerged so late, or has it always been there in your discussions with the library?
It's always been in my view of this project, and because of my general knowledge of broadcasting policy and my long-term involvement with the BBC and what they get up to. I mean, they will look for funding from any source that they can get it, I suppose. If they think they can get away with taking money out of the Welsh block, they will try that on, and I'm surprised that this project ever really emerged. If I'd known about it at the time, I would've been equally vehemently against this kind of way of putting together a development for Wales, which should've been structured in partnership with equal responsibility and equal funding to compare resource with resource. And, of course, since then, I have investigated what the BBC have done in England more closely. I haven't yet visited Perivale, but I look forward to seeing the facility at some time. And I think we have to have regard for the use of the Welsh block in a way that benefits devolved services first, and I don't apologise for that at all.
I agree with you as well that we need robust information of a comparable project in England. But, from what you've just said there, it sounds very much as if that's work in progress rather than your actual considered position. We don't have a paper on it, for instance, you've not confirmed whether you raised it with the library a year ago in the terms that you are now discussing it, and I just wonder is this a fairly new factor, although a significant one, or has it always been there in terms of your attitude to the project?
Well, I made it quite clear that my attitude to the project has been consistent all along. I believe that the BBC should contribute substantially to take care of its own archive. Indeed, I believe that it should do exactly the same thing in Wales as it has done in England.
So, does that mean that—and this is quite clear in the correspondence, in fairness to you—your concerns about the structure of the project, particularly the condition of the materials that would be archived whilst we work out whether digitalisation is an appropriate vehicle for preservation—? The condition of the archive needs restorative work, which you'd expect, you know, on the old technology that was used to record those programmes. That's a big issue. You've mentioned staffing. And then a very significant one, and I do agree with you on this: the access arrangements and the robustness of the clip centres, whether in the modern world they would be needed or are appropriate, and the whole fact that we have an archive but only 1,000 items of it will be available at any one time. Now, I appreciate all that, but would all that be removed if the BBC paid up? This is what I'm now in utter confusion about. Where's your principal objection?
Well, I think the BBC should also have considered at the start of this whether the location in the national library at Aberystwyth is the ideal location for the archive. After all, we have a wonderful archive, the Glamorgan Archives, a building I love dearly, just along the road here, and I'm sure they still have capacity. Now, I'm not suggesting that the BBC should put everything there, but there is a question of whether there should be—. The idea of a national archive, to me, and this applies to all national institutions in my portfolio, is not necessarily centralised in one place. The important thing is the issue you've described, which is access by the Welsh public, whether digitally or whether directly, to the material.
So, to conclude—this is the final question I'll put to you, then—there remain two substantial strands at the moment in terms of what you need to be reassured about for this project to be regarded as robust. And it's meant to be there forever, isn't it, as long as the library's there, so I think thorough due diligence is certainly required. The one strand you still have real problems about—the structure of the project, the issues we've just talked about—and then the second strand is on the financial viability after 2024, because of the BBC's contribution. So, those two things now come together in more or less equal weight. Is that your current position?
Thank you. And you've partially addressed what I was going to underscore or seek reassurance on. So, in terms of your positioning around this, is it then the case that you think that this project could, on the face of it, after 2024, present significant financial risk in terms of deficit to the library in terms of ongoing maintenance?
And, in regard to the correspondence that I've looked through in regard to what you've asked of the library in terms of substantiating their sort of business case outline, you have not received reassurances around either the bodies that will be dispersing to the public in terms of the clips—. I mean, what has been missing in that regard in terms of your ask from them in terms of that business planning?
Well, if you look at the correspondence, as I'm sure you've done, carefully, you will find that we issued a question in January, and it was much later in the year—four months, I think—when we got a response, and that response does not amount to what we asked for.
And has there been anything further from the library in that regard?
On that, I think that where we are now is a better position than where we were 12 months ago. In the original business case that was submitted to us from the library, in their own words, there was a revenue deficit in the region of £450,000 in 2024. And, exactly as the Minister says, we've got to take the broader view of the viability of the library for the long term. It addresses the earlier question about, 'Well, surely, £250,000 is manageable in a budget of £9.8 million.' We have to be satisfied of that, and we haven't been to date. Where we are now is that that figure and the revenue deficit of the project have come down to £250,000, so it's definitely going in the right direction, and all the other points are irrelevant, because, to a certain extent, where the match funding can come into this project is potentially irrelevant, really; it's about making sure that the project itself is viable. All options are on the table, and we are discussing this constantly with the library and project partners to try and bring this deficit down, because we want to get to a situation where, you know, the whole thing is viable, really. So, it's moving towards a better place. Like I say, it's come from £450,000 down to £250,000, and we remain in live discussions with them about whether that can come down further.
Do you know how that's been arrived at, because I'm not 100 per cent myself as to how they've been able to change that figure?
From the £450,000 down to the £250,000—
Well, we will approach them, but I was wondering—just if you've had deliberations with them, you may know.
Do you want to come in on this, Peter?
To some extent, I think, as I understand it, it's because the clip centre partners have agreed to make more agreed to make more of a financial contribution. And I guess, in relation to the clip centres, even though we have concerns about them, as to whether they will really work as a concept and will receive the number of visits that the library projects, there is at least I think now, in the new proposals the library put forward, a break clause. So, in effect, if, at the end of the project period, the clip centres aren't seen to be working, they can be mothballed or closed without the whole project being compromised. So, I think that, whilst we still have some concerns about them as a concept, in terms of our overall attitude towards the scheme, it is much more about the revenue pressure that it will cause, because, as we've always said, there are large elements of this proposal that we do think are excellent—you know, the public engagement. And, obviously, the other that thing hasn't been mentioned is the cataloguing. Yes, the whole archive has been digitised, but it hasn't been catalogued and the metadata analysed in such a way that you can actually bring together and search in a meaningful way. So, as I say, there are many very positive aspects about the scheme, but we still haven't had the answers to those fundamental questions that the Minister and Jason have outlined.
I'm quite new to this, so it's a bit of an eye-opener for me to read some of these papers. But, in terms of the position with regard to the BBC, of course there is a very fundamental principle there in terms of, as you say, using the Welsh block grant to actually fund non-devolved matters. It arises in other areas as well, so it is very, very important. Would you say that that is a red line for the Government in this area?
Well, it's certainly a red line for me as the Minister with overall oversight of broadcasting policy. Now, we would be in a different situation if there was a devolution of other forms of communication as well as broadcasting. I'm very clear on this: as a principle, I don't argue for the devolution of broadcasting because broadcasting really doesn't exist any more as a stand-alone activity; it is part of the whole digital economy. Now, if there was further discussion in the next round of devolution about what would happen in relation to the digital economy, then, clearly, if Welsh Government were to become a stronger partner across the board in communications and cultural communication sectors, then there could be a role for us investing. But for us to invest this amount of money alone, virtually, with the small contribution that has been offered by the the BBC so far in discussion—and we've requested £200,000 as a realistic partnership share; they've offered £20,000, if I'm right—
And some in-kind support.
—and some in-kind support, which would bring it up to about £160,000, something like that?
No, that would be over the three years. It would be more like £60,000 a year.
Three years, sorry—£60,000 a year; £60,000 a year is what they're currently offering. So, those discussions are still going on and, obviously, anything I say should not prejudice any discussions that are going ahead because I want this to happen, but I want it to happen on terms that are fair, considering the size and resource of the partner that we're dealing with as a non-devolved partner.
Can I say that the issue of inequality in terms of the way the BBC as a public institution is operating is again something of quite serious concern? Just in order that I can get a better understanding of this, have they applied the same approach in respect of Scotland or Northern Ireland?
As far as I'm aware, Scotland and Northern Ireland are watching with interest as to what the BBC will get away with here. I haven't discussed this, actually, with colleagues in those two Governments, but I have to say that my understanding is that there is not a great deal of surprise in the BBC. There may be a bit of surprise in BBC Wales, but there's no surprise in the BBC centrally that I'm currently homing in on Perivale and saying, 'Where's the Welsh Perivale?'
I'm not convinced of these arguments, simply because just because we don't have full devolved powers over all means of communication doesn't seem to me a reason why we can't take a different approach. We don't fail to take policy decisions around fiscal and economic matters even though we don't have the full levers of powers over those issues. So, I'm a little bit disturbed that this is being used as the reason for putting at risk £6 million in resources and in kind going into the national library.
When you decided to withhold the £1 million—
That's not—. I didn't 'withhold'. There was nothing on offer. No decision has been made to offer—
Okay. But you can understand, looking at this from the perspective of the national heritage lottery, if the Welsh Government is not supportive of such a significant and large grant, then why would the national heritage lottery wish to give the money to this project rather than some other project in Canterbury or somewhere else?
Well, that is a matter for the National Lottery. I haven't been discussing this directly with them.
No, absolutely. That's not the point I'm making. Without evidence of Welsh Government support, the lottery is unlikely to want to support this project.
Well, since you raise this issue, I might well make it quite clear that I have an oversight of lottery spending in Wales, and I'm not happy with the way that the lottery generally views Wales and views particularly the spending of Welsh Government. I don't think it's appropriate that the lottery should determine how the money that we have in the Welsh block is spent. And it shouldn't—
But that's not—. This is not particular to Wales. They would expect government or local government, in another context, support for a very significant project of this nature.
Yes, but that support should be developed on the basis of negotiation so that the budgetary priorities of the Welsh block aren't determined by the decisions of the lottery. There should be a proper partnership.
Well, the pace of the negotiations seems to have been going at the pace of a snail. Could you explain to us why, when the president of the national library asked for a meeting with you in July, that didn't happen?
I've met the president of the national library many times since I've been Minister. I don't think it's appropriate for me to be involved directly in negotiations about funding. My role is to decide and sign off the funding when there has been agreement, and that's the approach I've adopted throughout all my decisions, because I think that means there's a clear, arm's-length relationship that exists between me and the bodies I fund. Negotiations about funding always take place at officials level, and that's my understanding of how it is best to carry out the ministerial function.
So, you rely completely on your officers to provide you with the detail of any concerns you may have about any of the policy issues you're responsible for.
Well, clearly, if I have concerns, I would express those to the officials taking part in discussion, and, when it comes to taking the final decision about any level of spending, that's a decision that I will take on the basis of the policy and the principles that we are developing within my work, within that which is now the ministry for international relations and the Welsh Language as well as culture, tourism, sport.
The previous post holder used to have regular six-monthly meetings with the national library. Have you had any?
And with the BBC, and with ITV, and with S4C. I speak to all these people regularly.
Okay. But we are struggling to understand why, then, all the detailed issues that you have concerns about haven't been ironed out, and the board now meets in February and this is the last chance for them to submit the detailed application that the national heritage lottery requires. So, could you outline to us how you now plan to resolve this situation before that deadline is passed?
I have informally and privately requested the officials of the national library, as well as the president, and my officials—and obviously I've mentioned this to senior management in the BBC as well—to continue the discussions to come to a satisfactory conclusion within that timescale.
We understand that a meeting of officials was due to take place on 19 December. Did that meeting take place?
We understand that a meeting was due to take place on 19 December between your officials and officials of the national library.
Yes. These discussions are continuing, and I'm meeting—Peter was reminding me now—the president of the national library formally next month, in February.
Yes, and by then I hope this issue will have been concluded.
Okay. So, how do you think you're going to—? What is your timeline for resolving this situation, given the importance of this funding and, indeed, the availability of this archive certainly to my constituents, and I'm sure everybody else's?
Well, my intention is that this matter should be resolved before the spring of this year.
It has to be before the February board meeting, practically speaking.
Well, that will be for the—. That's a decision for the national library to take at that board meeting. By then I hope that negotiations will have been successful—discussions between officials will have been successful.
So, you're unable to give us any sort of detailed timeline about how this matter is going to be resolved. We're just going to wait for this meeting in February, are we?
No, I've just given you—. No, no. What I've said is that I've asked informally—. I think this is the most effective way to function, which is to allow the organisations responsible to come to a more satisfactory understanding if they can do so, and that's what officials have been doing constantly since I made this request in the late autumn of last year.
So, are you able to say that progress was made on the queries that you had at this meeting on 19 December?
Perhaps on the Minister's behalf, I can say that progress was made at that meeting on 19 December, and it's partly reflected, obviously, in the fact that the revenue gap, if we can call it that, has now reduced to a figure more like £250,000. We are aware that the clock is ticking. We are in almost daily contact with the national library on this project. So, I don't think committee members should be under the impression that we are not doing anything on this. This is, basically, very high on our agenda and we're working on it constantly.
Yes, the issues that the Minister has raised in relation to the BBC are very important, and I think we are saying that we are looking for some movement on that in the very near future. That is very important, but—
Yes, that is our intention to meet with them very shortly.
We've been—. There's a discussion going on about dates, but we are trying to make sure that happens and, clearly, it's a matter of such importance that people will make themselves available. So, I'm confident that we'll be meeting them, certainly within the next two weeks.
We have met with the BBC. I've met with the senior lead in the BBC on this, and we're in regular discussions over this. That has happened and is continuing to happen.
But fundamentally we're talking about tying down £250,000 as of 2020-4 being a condition for obtaining £6 million extra resources into the national library. Is that right?
I think, in effect, you can present it like that. It's something I think—
—the impression has been given earlier on that the Heritage Lottery Fund would not consider any bid here after April in relation to this scheme. And certainly, the discussions we've had with HLF haven't indicated that's necessarily the case. Whilst we're not seeking for the project to be delayed until the next financial year, if for any reason an agreement can't be reached and an acceptable proposal can't be brought forward before the deadlines that are looming, then we would certainly be keen to carry on those discussions to make sure that a project, albeit in perhaps a slightly different form, could be taken forward. It's not what we want, but we are willing to do that.
Yes, but what the president of the library told us was that the HLF strategy of grant funding was changing, and this is the last round of very large grant giving. In future, all the grants they'll be considering are for much smaller sums.
We're aware of the pressures on the lottery fund—all the lottery distributors—and, yes, there's certainly an indication that that might well be one of the effects of this, that there will be fewer larger grants. But it's not our understanding that there would be no potential at all for a project of this scale to come forward.
I'm not saying he's ill-informed, I'm saying that it's a matter of debate as to whether or not the HLF would never consider a project of this size.
It's very unusual for us to even be in the running for such a large sum of money. Do you acknowledge that?
I would acknowledge that. This is obviously a significant potential amount of grant to come from the HLF into Wales and there are absolutely no grey areas around that. We totally recognise that. But that does not remove the fundamental concern, which is the project has to be viable in its entirety. Our contribution to that takes into account all these broader factors we've talked about, about the viability for the library over the long term. It wouldn't be incumbent upon us to say, 'Because you can get £5 million from the HLF, we have to give you this £250,000', because it unravels so many other things. We've got to look at it in the broadest possible terms. Obviously, we want £5 million of HLF money to come into Wales, but it has to come into a project that totally stacks up. We will remain around the table with them to make sure that it does stack up. But we don't have—where we are today, we still don't have enough evidence to justify that it does, but we are confident that we will work with partners over the next few weeks to get to a point where it does. That's where we are.
Okay, but surely this should have been recognised back in July? Why are we now talking about resolving these issues?
There is so much clarity in the correspondence of us asking the same questions consistently over 12 months. I do not accept that this is a latest development. The correspondence is clear on it.
Okay, I think this is correspondence that some of us may have seen but not all of us.
It's been shared with the committee.
Thank you very much. My previous questioning was around whether you've received the answers to your January letter in terms of the stacking up of the business case. I take it from what you've said that, from the library's perspective and their communication to you, it's still a work in progress. I also hear what you say in terms of willingness to be able to work with them in terms of perhaps a different model of a project. But, fundamentally, hearing this conversation today, I do sense an almost ideological issue here, based on principle in terms of the devolved functionality that you mentioned earlier in terms of the BBC and the English situation and obviously our regional partners. So, how much of that is weighted in terms of your perspective on this project and how much of that is also weighted on the fact that there seems to be a fundamental difficulty in terms of assessing the long-term viability in terms of the deficit of the library itself without this project on board, bearing in mind its scale? I'm sorry—that's a long question with two strands.
You're in danger of putting words in my mouth that I hadn't intended using. One could argue the other way. Did the library wish to have this project in order to address the question of its financial management? I will not answer that question myself.
But it's a question—. Because I don't think it would be fair on—
I'm asking for a perspective to understand where you're coming from, in terms of what on the surface seems to be a fantastical, transformational initiative for Wales, but the more I look at it the more I'm concerned about financial management and viability, and also whether this could destabilise the whole library's sustainability moving forward.
Well, that's been the basis of our questioning in those letters, which you have read, all along.
So, your position would be—and if I'm putting words into your mouth you need to disagree with me—your position would then be that they need to come up with satisfactory answers over the next period of time, but to date you've not received them. Is that correct?
Yes, but that does include also a request in the discussions that the BBC also should consider what is equitable between England and Wales.
Okay. So, between those two strands, do you feel, then, that there is possibility for this project still to get off the ground in whatever model or guise in the limited amount of time that's available? That's the simple question.
I wish we were not having to sit here early in January to still be discussing this project. I would have hoped that the way that we conducted this discussion directly with the library and informally and privately as well with the BBC and with the library would have brought a more positive result. In that sense, I'm very grateful to the committee for this opportunity to discuss this matter publicly, because obviously it is a matter of concern. It would be very helpful if you could report, when you've considered the evidence from the people that you wish to speak to, on a timescale that could influence the result, because clearly we have failed so far to convince partners that there is a need for a more clear-sighted and better balance of contributions to this project to enable it to happen, in our view.
Okay. With regard to my final question, then, obviously with regard to the austerity agenda, the block grant situation to Wales over the last 10 years, the fact that libraries across Wales are facing huge challenges in terms of their fundamental sustainability—and if we look at England we can see what's happening over there—and with regard to the 23 per cent reduction to the library's overall financial envelope, how much of that do you think is responsible for their current £1 million projected deficit, without this project? And how much of that, in your view, is due to financial management of the organisation itself?
I would say entirely due to austerity. I think the library have worked with us extremely well over a number of years, and we have every confidence in the leadership there to address these things. This is, I would say, entirely a consequence of austerity and the pressure that has been put on their core funding. We'd obviously like to be able to provide more and to be in a position where we're not talking about deficits of £900,000 in 2024, we'd be talking about a position where all our public bodies have adequate funding and are able to deliver the services that we all want them to do. But austerity has meant that we've had to make difficult decisions, difficult choices. So, I would say it's entirely that.
If I could just add to that? Part of my concern has always been that the level of funding that I'm able to make available from Welsh Government block to the national botanic garden, the national museums and galleries, the national library and, of course, the whole issue with the development of a national archive—those issues have to be balanced and that has been part of my concern with the £1 million project.
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Rhianon. Symudwn ymlaen yn awr at Dai Lloyd.
Thank you very much, Rhianon. Moving on now to Dai Lloyd.
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Wel, mae nifer o bethau wedi'u cwestiynu eisoes. Rydw i jest eisiau'r sicrwydd ynglŷn â'r deunydd crai sydd yn yr archif yma, yn y lle cyntaf—na fuasai perygl o golli hynny. Rydw i'n clywed beth rydych yn ei ddweud ynglŷn â bod y pethau i gyd wedi cael eu digideiddio, ond hefyd rydw i'n cytuno â Jenny ynglŷn â hygyrchedd y pethau yma i'r cyhoedd. Nid pawb sy'n gallu mynychu a chael gafael mewn stwff sydd wedi ei ddigideiddio. Ond rydw i eisiau sicrwydd bod yr archif yma, doed a ddelo, ddim yn mynd i gael ei cholli. Dyna ydy fy mhryder i. Medrwn ni fod yn dadlau ynglŷn ag arian a phwy sy'n ariannu a loteri a beth sydd wedi cael ei ddatganoli neu ddim wedi cael ei ddatganoli, ond beth rydw i ddim eisiau ei weld ydy colli'r archif yma. Wedyn, ŷch chi yn gallu rhoi sicrwydd i ni fod yr archif yma ddim yn mynd i gael ei cholli?
Thank you, Chair. Well, there have been questions on a number of issues already. I just want assurances, really, on the core material that's in this archive, in the first place—that there's no danger of losing that material. I hear what you're saying about everything being digitised, but I also agree with Jenny about the accessibility of this material for the public. Not everybody can attend and get hold of material that's been digitised. But I want assurances that this archive is not going to be lost. That's my concern. We can be arguing about money and who's funding and the lottery and what's been devolved or not been devolved, but what I don't want to see is this archive being lost. So, can you provide us with assurances that this archive is not going to be lost?
Wel, mater i'r BBC ydy diogelu eu harchif eu hunain, cyn belled ag rydw i yn y cwestiwn, yn y lle cyntaf. Mi fuasai o'n rhyfedd iawn pe byddai'r BBC yn gwneud unrhyw beth i ddifetha deunydd crai yr archif sydd gyda nhw. Nid oes yna neb o'r BBC wedi awgrymu i fi eu bod nhw'n mynd i wneud hynny. Wrth gwrs, mae yna newid wedi digwydd ynglŷn â lleoliad BBC Cymru yng nghanol Caerdydd, ac mae'n bosib bod hynny wedi bod yn bwysau ar amseriad y penderfyniad yma i geisio—. Rhaid i chi ofyn i'r BBC ynglŷn â hynny. Ond nid wyf yn credu y gallwch chi ofyn i fi—ni fyddech chi'n gofyn i fi am roi sicrwydd am unrhyw archif arall yng Nghymru. Mae'r archif yma yn perthyn i gorff sydd heb ei ddatganoli, ac mae'n amlwg i mi fod hynny'n fater cyfansoddiadol pwysig—i beidio â gwario arian Cymru yn ormodol nac yn ddiangen, lle nad ydy corff sydd heb ei ddatganoli ddim yn cymryd cyfrifoldeb dros ei weithgaredd yng Nghymru, ac ni fedraf gredu bod y BBC yn y sefyllfa yna. Mater iddyn nhw ydy hyn.
Well, safeguarding its own archive is a matter for the BBC, as far as I'm concerned, in the first instance. It would be very strange if the BBC did anything to destroy the core material of their archive. Nobody from the BBC has suggested that they will do that. Of course, there has been a change in terms of the location of BBC Wales in the centre of Cardiff, and that might have placed some pressure on the timing of this decision to—. But you would have to ask the BBC about that. But I don't think that you can ask me—you wouldn't ask me to give assurances about any other archive in Wales. This archive belongs to a non-devolved organisation, and it's clear to me that that is an important constitutional issue—not to spend Welsh funds excessively or unnecessarily where a non-devolved body doesn't take responsibility for its own activities within Wales, and I can't believe that the BBC is in that situation. That's a matter for them.
Yn naturiol, rydw i'n cymryd y pwynt ein bod ni lle'r ydym ni efo beth sydd wedi cael ei ddatganoli a beth sydd ddim wedi ei ddatganoli ac, efallai, bydd rhai ohonom ni yn amrywio'n barn ynglŷn ag a ddylai darlledu gael ei ddatganoli ai peidio. A hefyd rydw i'n clywed beth rydych chi'n ei ddweud o ran y byd digidol—nid oes gwahaniaeth a yw'n cael ei ddatganoli neu beidio, mae'n fyd-eang. Wedyn, mae rhyw ddryswch, efallai, ynglŷn â'r ddadl yna. Ond beth sy'n bwysig ydy hyn: rydych chi'n Weinidog dros ddiwylliant. Ni fedrwch chi jest bod yn eistedd yn fanna ac yn dweud, 'Mater yn unig i'r BBC yw dyfodol yr archif yma. Rydw i, fel Gweinidog diwylliant, ddim yn mynd i roi safbwynt ynglŷn â'r peth yma o gwbl.' Achos beth rydw i eisiau ydy sicrwydd bod yr archif yma yn mynd i bara. Bai pwy bynnag yw e, mae gyda chi gyfrifoldeb fel Gweinidog.
Naturally, I take the point that we are where we are with what's been devolved and what's non-devolved, and, some of us, perhaps, will have different views on whether broadcasting should be devolved or not. And I'm also hearing what you're saying about the digital world—it doesn't matter if it's devolved or not, it is worldwide. So, there is some confusion, perhaps, regarding that argument. But what's important is that you're a Minister for culture. You can't just sit there and say, 'The future of this archive is a matter for the BBC, and, as Minister for culture, I'm not going to have a position on this at all.' Because what I want is assurance that this archive is going to continue. Whoever's fault it is, you have a responsibility as a Minister.
Wel, dyna pam fy mod i wedi gofyn i swyddogion drafod y sefyllfa yma, i geisio ei datrys hi, ers yr hydref diwethaf, ac mae'r trafodaethau yn dal i fynd ymlaen.
Well, that's why I've asked officials to discuss this situation to try and resolve it and they've been doing that since last autumn, and the negotiations continue.
Ac rydych chi'n hyderus bod y trafodaethau yn mynd i ddod i ganlyniad llwyddiannus?
And you're confident that the discussions are going to have a successful outcome?
Nid ydw i'n gwybod. Mae hynny'n dibynnu ar y partneriaid, onid ydyw? Mae'n amlwg o beth rydw i'n ei ddweud heddiw rydw i'n pregethu nid jest ichi ond i'r BBC hefyd.
I don't know. That depends on partners, doesn't it? Clearly, in what I'm saying today, I'm preaching not just to you but to the BBC too.
Ie, wel, mae pobl Cymru allan yn fanna—mae yna gryn dipyn o sylw wedi cael ei roi i hyn—hefyd eisiau cael yr un un sicrwydd fod yna adnodd cenedlaethol, amhrisiadwy ddim yn mynd i gael ei golli a'ch bod chi fel Gweinidog ddim jest yn mynd i eistedd yn fanna a gadael i'r golled yna fynd rhagddi.
The people of Wales are out there, and quite a lot of attention has been given to this, and they also want to have the same assurances that a national resource, an invaluable one, is not going to be lost and that you as a Minister are not going to just sit there and allow this to happen.
Ie, ond ar y llaw arall, pam ddylai trethdalwyr Cymru, allan o floc Cymru, dalu am rywbeth sy'n perthyn i bobl eraill os nad ydyn nhw'n fodlon derbyn eu cyfrifoldeb amdano fo, neu ran o'u cyfrifoldeb? Dyna ydy sail y drafodaeth.
But on the other hand, why should Welsh taxpayers, out of the Welsh block, pay for something that belongs to someone else if they're not willing to take their own responsibility for it, or part of their responsibility for it? That is the basis of this discussion.
Rydw i'n deall sail y drafodaeth ond a ydych chi hefyd yn mynd i fod yn barod i jest adael i'r holl fenter yma ffaelu, felly?
I understand the basis of this discussion, but are you willing to allow this whole project to fail, therefore?
Pwy sy'n gadael i bethau ffaelu? Mae yna drafodaethau'n mynd yn eu blaen. Dyna'r holl bwynt.
Well, who's allowing this to fail? There are discussions ongoing. That's the whole point.
Rwy'n credu bod y pwynt wedi cael ei wneud. Dai, a ydych chi eisiau gofyn unrhyw beth—?
I think the point's been made. Dai, do you want to continue?
Na, na. Rwy'n hapus efo beth sydd wedi cael ei ofyn.
No. I'm happy with the questions I've already asked.
On that, I want to be fair to you because I do think the principle of making a contribution out of the block grant to something that you could read as being the responsibility of a non-devolved body, though they are obviously very active in Wales—we'll discuss this in private session later, no doubt, but that this is now the front and centre objection has come very late, certainly in public. I don't think any of us knew about it; that's a concern to me. The other thing is that the Welsh Government does make commitments from the block to major matters of Welsh interest that actually do rest with UK bodies. I mean, the Swansea barrage is an obvious one where a £200 million capital liability was extended by the Welsh Government. So, you have to talk about orders of magnitude to achieve a large public interest in Wales. So, I'm not quite sure it's the trump card that you are saying, and that card is certainly being played late, Minister.
No, it's not been played late. It's been part of the whole discussion that's taken place, and I'm expecting the BBC to respond more positively than of the order of £20,000.
A allaf i ofyn, a ydych chi wedi gofyn i'r llyfrgell i ofyn i DCMS am y £1 filiwn? Os ydych chi'n dweud, fel yr ydych chi wedi ei ddweud yn eithaf clir yma, ei bod hi'n elfen nad ydyw wedi'i datganoli, a ydych chi'n credu felly wedyn fod yna le i'r DCMS chwarae rôl Llywodraeth Cymru yn y trafodaethau rhwng yr HLF, rhwng y llyfrgell, gan nad ydyw Llywodraeth Cymru yn berchen ar y pwerau datganoledig? A ydych chi wedi trafod gyda nhw, felly?
Could I ask: have you asked the library to ask the DCMS for the £1 million? If you're saying, as you have said quite clearly here, that it is an element that is non-devolved, do you think therefore that there is a place for the DCMS to play the role of the Welsh Government in discussions between the HLF and the library, as the Welsh Government doesn't own the devolved powers? Have you discussed that with them?
Fedraf i ddim ateb cwestiwn fel yna oherwydd nad ydw i'n credu y byddai DCMS am foment yn mynd i mewn i unrhyw drafodaethau ynglŷn â chyllido beth mae'r BBC yn ei wneud yng Nghymru.
I can't respond to such a question because I don't believe the DCMS for one moment would enter into any discussions on funding what the BBC does in Wales.
Iawn. Ocê. Gofyn y cwestiwn oeddwn i gan fod yna lot o ffocws—
I was simply asking the question because there has been a lot of focus—
Gwell ichi ofyn i'r DCMS os gallwch chi. [Chwerthin.]
Perhaps you should ask the DCMS. [Laughter.]
Mae yna lot o bobl i ofyn pethau iddynt ar ôl y sesiwn yma heddiw. Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am ddod mewn atom. Os oes yna angen inni ysgrifennu atoch chi eto, mae'n siŵr y gwnawn ni, a sicrhau bod pob Aelod yn cael golwg ar y dystiolaeth honno. Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am ddod mewn atom heddiw. Byddwn ni'n cymryd seibiant o bum munud nawr. Diolch.
Well, there are many people to question following this session today. Thank you very much for joining us. If we do need to write to you again, we will do that and we will ensure that all Members receive copies of that evidence. Thank you for joining us this morning. We will now take a five-minute break. Thank you.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:28 a 10:38.
The meeting adjourned between 10:28 and 10:38.
Croeso'n ôl i'r pwyllgor, ac rydym ni’n symud ymlaen nawr at eitem 3, cefnogi a hybu'r Gymraeg: ymchwiliad i gyd-destun deddfwriaethol y polisi yma ac yn ehangach. Y tystion yma heddiw yw Teresa Owen—sydd yma ar linc fideo, os gall Aelodau gyfathrebu a dweud 'helo'—cyfarwyddwr gweithredol iechyd y cyhoedd, bwrdd iechyd prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr. Ac yma gyda ni mae Sue Ball, cyfarwyddwr cynorthwyol, datblygu sefydliadol, bwrdd iechyd prifysgol Aneurin Bevan. Croeso ichi'ch dwy yma heddiw.
Os yw'n iawn gyda chi, awn ni'n syth i mewn i gwestiynau, ac wedyn bydd Aelodau’n gofyn cwestiynau ar themâu gwahanol yn rhan o'r cyd-destun hwnnw. Y cwestiwn cyntaf sydd gen i yw un ar effaith gyffredinol Mesur 2011 a hawliau siaradwyr Cymraeg. Mae cydffederasiwn y sefydliad iechyd yn dweud bod hyn yn rhoi sylfaen gryfach i sefydliadau allu adeiladu arni, a byddem ni eisiau deall gennych chi sut mae hynny'n digwydd o ddydd i ddydd. Sue, a ydych chi eisiau arwain, neu Teresa? Teresa Owen?
Welcome back to the committee, and we're moving on now to item 3, supporting and promoting the Welsh language: an inquiry into the legislative, policy and wider context. We have witnesses with us today. They are Teresa Owen, who is here on video link, if Members can communicate and say 'hello'. She's the executive director of public health at Betsi Cadwaladr university health board. And with us here we have Sue Ball, assistant director of organisational development, from the Aneurin Bevan university health board. Welcome to you both today.
If it's okay with you, we'll go straight into questions, and then Members will ask questions on different themes as part of that context. The first question I have is on the general impact of 2011 Measure on Welsh speakers' rights. The Welsh NHS Confederation notes that this has provided a stronger base for organisations to build on, and we would want to understand from you how that happens on a day-to-day basis. Sue, would you want to lead on this, or Teresa perhaps? Teresa Owen?
Af i'n gyntaf os ydych chi eisiau. Rydym ni fel bwrdd iechyd, wrth gwrs, yn croesawu'r statws swyddogol sydd yna erbyn hyn i'r iaith Gymraeg. Mae hynny'n rhywbeth i'w groesawu i'n haelodau staff, yn bwysicach fyth, i'n poblogaeth ni ac i'n cleifion ni. Yn bendant, rydym ni'n gweld y ffaith bod hawliau unigolion i ddefnyddio Cymraeg yn cael eu cynyddu—mae hynny'n beth da—ac rydym ni'n gweld bod newid tirwedd wedi digwydd o fewn ein hardal ni yng ngogledd Cymru, o ran defnyddio'r Gymraeg a sicrhau ein bod ni'n gallu ei defnyddio hi, mewn ffordd, a bod y Gymraeg ddim yn cael ei thrin yn llai ffafriol na'r Saesneg. Mae'r rheini i gyd yn bethau positif. Ac rydw i'n meddwl ei fod o'n bwysig, o ran y Mesur, mi fydd yna gysondeb i'n cleifion ni ac i'n poblogaeth ni ar draws Cymru.
Ond, wrth gwrs, inni, beth sy'n bwysig ar hyn o bryd ydy nad ydym ni wedi dechrau efo'r safonau go iawn hyd yn hyn. Gwaith paratoi rydym ni wedi bod yn ei wneud. Newydd gael yr hysbysiad cydymffurfio ydym ni.
Nid ydw i'n gwybod os ydych chi'n ein clywed ni—rydw i'n gweld pobl yn defnyddio'r offer—.
I will go first if you like. We as a health board do welcome the official status afforded to the Welsh language now. That is something to be welcomed by our staff members and, more importantly, by our patients and the wider population. Certainly, we see the fact that the rights of individuals in using the Welsh language are being enhanced, and that's positive, and we do see that there's been a change of landscape within our area in north Wales, in terms of the use of the Welsh language and ensuring that we're able to use the language in all contexts, and that it's not treated any less favourably than the English language. That's all positive, of course, and I do think it's important, in terms of the Measure, that there will be consistency for our patients and the wider population across Wales.
But for us, what's important at the moment is that we haven't started with standards yet. We've done preparatory work. We've only been given the compliance notice.
I do not know if you can hear me—I see people using the equipment—.
Na. Rydym ni'n mynd i fynd i mewn i sesiwn breifat nawr achos mae yna broblemau gyda'r sain. So, awn ni i mewn i sesiwn breifat am ddwy funud.
No. We'll have to go into a private session now because there are some problems with the sound. We'll go into private session for two minutes.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:41 a 10:49.
The meeting adjourned between 10:41 and 10:49.
Ymddiheuriadau am y seibiant hynny—roedd problemau technegol wedi digwydd, i'r nifer ohonoch chi oedd yn gwylio o'ch cartrefi yma yng Nghymru. Rŷm ni'n mynd i fynd yn ôl at y cwestiwn, sef gofyn ichi beth yw effaith Mesur 2011 ar hawliau siaradwyr Cymraeg. A ydych chi'n credu ei fod wedi'n symud at sefyllfa lle mae pobl yn teimlo eu bod nhw'n gallu defnyddio'r iaith yn fwy ym maes iechyd? Rwy'n gwybod, Teresa Owen, eich bod chi wedi dechrau ceisio ateb y cwestiwn yna. Pe baech chi'n gallu parhau, byddwn i'n gwerthfawrogi hynny'n fawr.
Apologies for that break—we had technical problems, for those of you who are watching from your homes in Wales. We're going to return to the question, namely to ask you what the impact of the 2011 Measure on Welsh speakers' rights is? Do you think that it has moved the position to one where people can use the language more in the field of health? I know, Teresa Owen, that you have started to try to answer that question. If you could continue, I'd appreciate it greatly.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Rydym ni, fel bwrdd iechyd, yn croesawu'r Mesur. Yn bendant, mae'r statws swyddogol i'r Gymraeg yn bwysig, ac mae hynny'n rhywbeth i'w groesawu. Wrth gwrs, mae'n cynyddu hawliau ein poblogaeth ni ac, yn bwysicach fyth, ein cleifion ni o ran defnyddio'r Gymraeg bob dydd.
Mae'r Mesur wedi newid y dirwedd yn barod wrth sicrhau'r Gymraeg a'i lle hi, a'r ffaith ein bod ni ddim yn mynd i ddelio efo'r Gymraeg yn llai ffafriol nag yr ydym ni efo'r Saesneg. Ond, wrth gwrs, dyddiau cynnar ydyn nhw i ni, fel bwrdd iechyd, efo'r safonau ar hyn o bryd—newydd dderbyn yr hysbysiad cydymffurfio ydym ni, o ran y safonau, ac ni fyddan nhw'n dod i rym tan ddiwedd mis Mai eleni. Felly, ar hyn o bryd, mae'n anodd gwybod yn iawn beth fydd yr effaith i ni, fel sector iechyd. Ond, yn bendant, rŷm ni'n ei weld o fel cam positif, ac rydym ni wedi bod yn gweithio ers dwy flynedd rŵan i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n paratoi ar gyfer y safonau fel ein bod ni'n gallu gwneud yn siŵr bod ein gwasanaethau ni yn ymateb yn briodol o ran y safonau, a'n bod ni'n gallu gwella'r ddarpariaeth i'n cleifion ac i'r boblogaeth yma yng ngogledd Cymru.
Thank you very much. We, as a health board, welcome the Measure. Certainly, the official status for the Welsh language is important, and it's something to be welcomed. Of course, it does enhance the rights of our population and, more importantly, our patients in terms of using the Welsh language on a daily basis.
The Measure has changed the landscape already, in terms of securing the place of the Welsh language and the fact that we're not going to be dealing the Welsh language less favourably than the English language. But, of course, it's early days for us as a health board with the Welsh language standards—we've only just received the compliance notice in terms of the standards, and they don't come into force until the end of May of this year. So, at the moment, it's difficult to know what the impact for us, as a health sector, will be. But, certainly, we see it as a positive step, and we have been working for two years now to prepare for the implementation of standards so that we can ensure that our services respond appropriately to the standards and that we can improve provision to patients and the population more widely here in north Wales.
I would agree entirely with Teresa's comments. I think the strengthening of the rights of Welsh speakers is a very important step. I think it's helped our communities where we do have fluent Welsh speakers, and we see them as very positive. We hope that the impact will continue to be positive for our patients and communities—the communities that we serve.
Diolch am hynny. A allwch chi ddweud wrthym ni beth yw nodweddion cadarnhaol a llai cadarnhaol y Mesur? Beth sydd yn gweithio'n dda a beth sydd, efallai, ddim yn gweithio mor dda â hynny ac sydd angen ei newid o fewn y Mesur, fel y mae? Teresa.
Thank you for that. Can you tell us what are the positive and less positive characteristics of the Measure? What is working well and what, perhaps, isn't working as well and what needs to be changed within the Measure as it stands? Teresa.
Diolch. Rwy'n meddwl mai'r peth pwysig yw cael statws—mae'n hynod o bwysig ac mae hynny'n wych o ran ein poblogaeth ni. Ond, yn bendant, beth sy'n digwydd go iawn ar lawr gwlad—dyna beth sy'n mynd i wneud gwahaniaeth. Dyna'r ydym ni eisiau ei weld—bod pobl yn gwybod eu bod nhw'n gallu cael gwasanaethau yn y Gymraeg, a'u bod nhw'n gallu defnyddio eu sgiliau ieithyddol, ac, yn yr un modd, fod ein staff ni'n cael help a chymorth ynglŷn â defnyddio'r iaith o fewn y gweithle fel ein bod ni'n gallu gwella'r gwasanaethau yr ydym ni'n eu cynnig. Rydym ni'n gwybod bod pobl yn ei gweld hi'n rhwydd siarad yn eu mamiaith, ac mae hynny'n gwneud gwelliannau o ran eu hiechyd nhw.
Rwy'n meddwl mai cysondeb ydy'r peth arall sydd yn bwysig o ran y Mesur—fod yna gysondeb ar draws Cymru. Rwy'n meddwl bod y gwaith rydym ni wedi'i wneud hyd yn hyn yn adeiladol, efo'r cynlluniau iaith. Mae pethau wedi bod yn gwella dros nifer o flynyddoedd, ond efo'r safonau bydd y cysondeb yna'n dod yn ei le. Wrth gwrs, mae rheoleiddio yn ein rhoi ni mewn lle gwahanol at y dyfodol.
Rwy'n meddwl bod pethau wedi gwella dros y blynyddoedd. Mae adroddiadau'r comisiynydd yn dangos hynny, ac, yn bendant, rydym ni wedi gweld hynny o fewn y bwrdd iechyd. Mae survey o'r staff yn cael ei wneud bob hyn a hyn, ac rydym ni wedi gweld mwy o staff yn deall pwysigrwydd y Gymraeg ers 2016 at rŵan. Wedyn, rwy'n meddwl bod y Mesur yn rhywbeth sy'n mynd i fod yn bositif i ni, ond mae hefyd angen inni fod yn hybu'r iaith yn ogystal â rheoleiddio'r iaith.
Thank you. I think the important thing is status—that's a very positive thing and it's excellent in terms of our population. But, certainly, what happens on the ground is what will make the real difference. That's what we want to see—that people are aware that they can access services through the medium of Welsh and that they can use their language skills, and, likewise, that our staff should be given support and assistance to use the Welsh language within the workplace so that we can improve the services that we provide. We know that people find it easier to speak in their mother tongue, and that provides some health benefits to them.
I think that consistency is the other thing that's important, in terms of the Measure—that there is consistency across Wales. I think the work that we've done to date is constructive, with the language schemes. Things have improved over a period of years, but, with standards, we will have that consistency in place. Of course, regulation puts us in a different position for the future.
I do think that things have improved over the years. The commissioner's reports demonstrate that, and we've certainly seen that within the health board. There's a staff survey carried out periodically, and we have seen more staff coming to understand the importance of the Welsh language since 2016. So, I do think that the Measure is going to be positive for us, but we also need to promote the language as well as regulate it.
Diolch, thank you. I would agree again with the comments made by my colleague. I think that the positives of the Measure are the consistency that she referred to—our ability to be able to both plan and provide services through the medium of Welsh wherever we can.
In reference to the all-Wales NHS Wales staff survey, one of the questions is about whether or not staff understand that they can offer services to patients and clients through the medium of Welsh. Our response rates were such that our staff knew that they could do that but, actually, their ability to do that was very limited. That's really based on the number of Welsh speakers that we have within our health board—that it's much lower than in some other areas across Wales.
I think that one of the things that we felt was positive, despite the low numbers—and we were the lowest in Wales in response to that particular question—was that staff knew how to access services for patients and clients that wanted the provision of their care through the medium of Welsh. So, they knew where to go and who to ask, and I think that's as a result of the work that we've been doing over the last couple of years, as all other health boards and trusts have, in terms of promoting the Welsh language and promoting the importance of being able to offer patients and clients a service through their first language.
Y cwestiwn olaf sydd gen i yw esbonio beth roedd datganiad cydffederasiwn y GIG yn golygu—y gellid cyflawni llawer o amcanion y fframweithiau polisi newydd yn organig ar y cyd â staff cefnogol. Beth mae hynny'n golygu i chi, fod hyn yn gallu digwydd mewn ffordd organig? Teresa neu Sue. Teresa.
My final question is to ask you to explain what the NHS confederation meant by its statement that many of the objectives of the new policy frameworks could be achieved organically in conjunction with supportive staff. What does that mean to you, that this can happen in an organic way? Teresa or Sue. Teresa.
Diolch i chi. Rydw i'n meddwl fod ymgysylltu efo'n staff ni yn hynod bwysig drwy'r gwaith yma i gyd. Cyn y mesurau a'r gwaith eleni, fe fuom ni wrthi yn ystod y flwyddyn ddiwethaf yn cynnal taith yr iaith ar draws y bwrdd iechyd er mwyn trio gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n codi ymwybyddiaeth efo'n staff ynglŷn â'r safonau a'r Mesur, a beth mae hynny'n golygu iddyn nhw. Ac, fel roedd Sue yn sôn rŵan, mae'r gwaith paratoi yna wedi bod yn hynod bwysig i ni.
Rydw i'n meddwl, o ran beth ddywedodd y conffederasiwn, fel petai, mai'r peth pwysig ydy bod ein staff ni yn symud gyda ni wrth i ni greu'r gwaith yma. Mae'r staff yn hynod bwysig, ac mae hynny'n her oherwydd nid yw'n staff ni o reidrwydd yn siarad Cymraeg. Nid yw llawer ohonyn nhw'n hyderus yn defnyddio'r Gymraeg, ac nid ydyn nhw wedi arfer defnyddio'r Gymraeg gymaint â hynny mewn rhai ardaloedd. Ond mae o'n wahanol iawn i ni yma ar draws gogledd Cymru, fel y gallwch chi ddeall, ond beth rydym ni'n gwybod yw bod pobl â diddordeb mewn dysgu, ac mae gennym ni erbyn hyn diwtor yma yng ngogledd Cymru, ac mae hynny wedi'n helpu ni.
Felly, rydw i yn meddwl ei bod hi'n bwysig ymgysylltu efo'n staff tra byddwn ni hefyd yn gwneud y rheoleiddio. Mae'n rhaid i ni gael y cydbwysedd o hybu a hyrwyddo'r iaith, yn ogystal â rhoi'r rheoliadau yma yn eu lle.
Thank you. I think engagement with our staff is extremely important through all of this work. Before the work carried out this year, during the previous year we held what we called 'taith yr iaith' across the health board in order to ensure that we raised awareness among our staff of the standards and the Measure, and what that will mean to them. And, as Sue has just mentioned, the preparatory work has been extremely important to us.
I think, in terms of what the confederation said, that the important thing is that we take the staff with us as we do this work. The staff are extremely important, and that's a challenge because our staff don't necessarily speak Welsh. Many of them are not confident in using the Welsh language, and they've not been used to using the Welsh language in certain areas. But it is very different for us across north Wales, as you can understand, but what we know is that people are interested in learning the language, and we now have a tutor in north Wales and that's been of great assistance to us.
So, I do think it's important to engage with staff whilst we also carry out the regulation. We have to strike that balance between promotion and regulation of the language, as well as implementing these regulations, of course.
Diolch, and, again, I would agree with Teresa's comments. I think that unless we take our staff with us, the challenge will be even greater than it is currently. We know that we haven't had the opportunity to test the standards yet, but we will do, and that the way in which we support our staff to both improve their language skills but also to improve their confidence—Teresa mentioned confidence—. And I think that we have many staff that we believe are able to offer things like words of comfort, and perhaps level 1-type language skills with patients and clients, and often it's about confidence rather than competence. I think that the work that we do in terms of engagement and promoting language skills and promoting the ability for staff to improve those skills, and perhaps be in more of a bilingual environment—. I think I mentioned the last time I came to the committee about the Welsh language centre that we've opened in Abergavenny, and part of the purpose of that is to have a fully bilingual environment where staff, patients and the public can come and learn together and talk together through the medium of Welsh. And we've got a number of initiatives that support that—supporting the loneliness agenda—and we've got things like a bilingual scrabble club, which has been very positive. So, I think the more we promote those types of things, the more likely staff are to be positive about using the language skills that they have, however advanced or limited those might be.
Ocê. Diolch yn fawr iawn am hynny. Rydym ni'n symud ymlaen at gwestiynau ar y safonau, ac mae Dai Lloyd yn arwain.
Okay. Thank you very much for that. We'll move on to questions on the standards, and Dai Lloyd will be leading on this.
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Jest yn benodol ar safonau'r Gymraeg ac, yn naturiol, rŷm ni'n derbyn ein bod ni'n gynnar iawn yn y broses yma, achos prin maen nhw wedi cicio i fewn. Wrth gwrs, yn gyffredinol—ac, wrth gwrs, fe fydd y Cadeirydd yn gwybod fy mod i'n feddyg teulu hen iawn y dyddiau yma—ac rydw i'n ymwybodol mai yn hwyr yn y dydd mae'r gwasanaeth iechyd wedi dod i fewn i'r busnes o ymddiddori yn yr iaith Gymraeg, achos dros y blynyddoedd mae'r gwasanaeth iechyd wedi trio gwneud ei orau i anwybyddu'r iaith Gymraeg. Ond rŵan mae'r gwasanaeth iechyd hyd yn oed yn sylweddoli bod darparu gwasanaethau yn y Gymraeg yn fater clinigol, nid jest yn fater o hawliau. Hynny yw, rŷch chi'n gwella—fel rydych chi wedi ei ddweud, Teresa, eisoes, rŷch chi'n gwella ansawdd gofal y claf, achos—. Mae pawb yn credu, os ydych chi'n ddwyieithog, eich bod chi yr un mor rhugl yn y ddwy iaith, ond, yn naturiol, mae nifer fawr o siaradwyr Cymraeg yn rhugl yn y Gymraeg ond nid ydyn nhw mor rhugl â hynny yn y Saesneg, er eu bod nhw'n gallu siarad Saesneg. Felly, rydych chi'n gwella ansawdd y gofal drwy ddarpariaeth yn y famiaith. Yn hwyr yn y dydd mae'r neges yna yn ymdreiddio drwodd i'r gwasanaeth iechyd, er ein bod ni'n dal i glywed pethau fel, 'Wel, chi'n lwcus i gael meddyg teulu o gwbl yn eich ardal, heb sôn am fynnu bod fe neu hi yn siarad Cymraeg.' Rydym ni yn sôn am ansawdd y gofal yn y fan hyn.
Felly, gyda gymaint â hynny o gyd-destun naturiol i'r safonau, rydw i'n clywed beth rydych chi'n ei ddweud Teresa, ac rydych chi wedi ateb—a Sue hefyd—y cwestiynau yma'n rhannol, achos, fel rydw i'n ei ddweud, cynnar ydym ni gyda'r safonau. Ond a fuasech chi'n disgwyl bod y safonau yma yn rhoi statws ond hefyd yn symud y ffordd ymlaen a'i gwneud hi'n haws i ddarparu gwasanaethau fel bod staff yn deall pam fod darparu gwasanaethau mor sylfaenol bwysig? Ond, wedi dweud hynny, bydd yna gryfderau a gwendidau o osod safonau i'r Gymraeg. A allech chi olrhain rhai o'ch pryderon neu efallai rhai o'r pethau sydd yn mynd yn dda? Dechreuwn ni efo Teresa, a wedyn Sue.
Thank you very much, Chair. Just specifically on the Welsh language standards, naturally, I accept that we're in the very early stages of this process because they have only just kicked in. But, in general—and the Chair will know that I am a very old GP now—I'm aware that the NHS has come into the business of taking an interest in the Welsh language late in the day, because, over the years the health service has tried to do its best to ignore the Welsh language. But now the health service, even, is realising that providing services through the medium of Welsh is a clinical issue, not just a matter of rights. That is, you improve—as, Teresa, you've said, you improve the standard of care for the patient, because—. Everybody thinks, if you're bilingual, that you're as fluent in both languages, but, naturally, a number of Welsh speakers are fluent in the Welsh language but not as fluent in the English language, even though they can speak English. So, you're improving the quality of care by providing services in the mother tongue. That message has appeared quite late in the day for the NHS, even though we're still hearing things such as, 'Well, you're lucky to have a GP at all in your area, let alone demanding that that GP has to speak Welsh.' We are talking about the quality of care here.
So, with those few words of context to the standards, I hear what you're saying, Teresa, and you've answered—and Sue also—these questions in part, because, as I say, it is early days for these standards. But would you expect that these standards provide status but also move things forward and make it easier to provide services so that staff understand why providing services are so fundamentally important? But, having said that, there will be the strengths and weaknesses in setting the standards. Can you outline some of your concerns or perhaps some of the things that are going well? We'll start with Teresa, then Sue.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Rydym ni wedi bod wrthi yn paratoi am y safonau yma am y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf yma yng ngogledd Cymru. Rydym ni wedi gwneud gwaith arloesol yn barod. Rydw i wedi siarad yn barod am daith yr iaith. Cyfle oedd hwnnw i ymgysylltu â'n staff a chodi ymwybyddiaeth yn gyffredinol, ond rydw i'n meddwl ein bod ni wedi gwneud gwaith da fel arall. Nid wyf yn or-bryderus ar hyn o bryd ynglŷn â'r safonau; mae'r gwaith rydym ni wedi ei wneud yn ein rhoi ni mewn sefyllfa dda.
Rhai o'r pethau buaswn i'n hoffi codi ymwybyddiaeth y pwyllgor amdanyn nhw ydy’r gwaith rydym ni wedi ei wneud ar y cynllun dewis iaith; mae hwnnw wedi bod yn gam mawr i ni. Rydym ni wedi bod yn defnyddio magnetau oren yn y wardiau uwchben y cleifion, fel petai, fel ein bod ni'n tynnu allan rhywfaint o'r pryder i'n cleifion ni. Mewn ffordd, mae'n rhoi cynnig rhagweithiol i'n cleifion, mae'n hwyluso i'n staff beth sy'n digwydd, ac mae'n gynllun ymarferol syml tu hwnt sydd yn codi ymwybyddiaeth ac yn normaleiddio'r defnydd o'r Gymraeg drwy gydol yr amser.
Mae'r gwaith rydym ni wedi ei wneud yn barod hefyd drwy 'Mwy na geiriau', y fframwaith prif ffrydio, mae hwnnw wedi ein helpu ni i symud ymlaen. Ac, wrth gwrs, wrth inni wneud ein cynlluniau IMTP, y cynlluniau integrated medium term plans, y cynlluniau tymor canolog, fel petai, mae hynny'n golygu ein bod ni'n paratoi am hyn drwy gydol yr amser. Ond, o ran y cleifion, mae'r gwaith rydym ni hefyd wedi ei wneud efo'n staff—'defnyddiwch eich Cymraeg' ydy'r cynllun sydd gyda ni yma yn Betsi Cadwaladr—yn eithaf syml, mewn ffordd. Fel yr oedd Sue yn ei ddweud, nid yw pobl yn or-hyderus am ddefnyddio'r mymryn o Gymraeg sydd gyda nhw, ond mae'r mymryn yna'n bwysig, ac mae hynny wedi bod yn gam positif iawn i ni.
Ond, wrth ochr hynny, mae gyda ni hefyd diwtor yma yng ngogledd Cymru. Rydym ni wedi buddsoddi yn y staff er mwyn gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n paratoi ar gyfer y safonau, ac mae'r tiwtor yn barod wedi gweld dros 600 o aelodau o staff. A dweud y gwir, rydw i'n amau byddai'n gallu gweld llawer mwy. Mae gyda ni restr aros erbyn hyn ar gyfer y tiwtor. Beth sy'n bwysig ydy ei bod hi'n mynd i'r meddygfeydd, mae hi'n mynd i'n wardiau ni, mae'n mynd i'r lle gwaith a'i wneud o'n haws i'n timau ni, er mwyn normaleiddio, codi ymwybyddiaeth. Wrth gwrs, mae yna nifer o staff wedyn yn dewis gwella eu hiaith nhw a gloywi iaith a symud ymlaen, ac rydym ni'n gwybod y bydd hynny'n helpu ansawdd y gofal. Wedyn, mae gyda ni enghreifftiau da.
Roeddech chi'n sôn am ofal cychwynnol ynghynt fel GP, ac wrth gwrs mae hwnnw'n faes sydd yn heriol i ni. Ond mae yna waith da wedi ei wneud yn barod. Rydym ni wedi gwneud gwaith targedu. Mi fedraf i feddwl am un feddygfa yn arbennig ym Motwnnog ac maen nhw wedi bod yn esiampl rhagorol fel practis sydd wedi cymryd y cyfle i weithio efo ni ond i hefyd wneud yn siŵr eu bod nhw yn croesawu'r gefnogaeth sy'n cael ei rhoi a'u bod nhw erbyn hyn yn gwneud yn siŵr bod y Gymraeg yn hollol weladwy o fewn y practis, o'r cortynnau rownd gyddfau'r staff i'r arwyddion yn ddwyieithog. Mae hynny’n dangos bod y Gymraeg, mewn ffordd, ar yr un un lefel â Saesneg ac yn hollol normal. Dyna’r gwaith rydym eisiau ei symud ymlaen i’r dyfodol.
Thank you very much. We've been preparing for these standards for the past two years here in north Wales. We have already done some innovative and groundbreaking work. I've already spoken about taith yr iaith. That was an opportunity to engage with our staff and to raise awareness more generally, but I do think that we've done some good work elsewhere too. I'm not overly concerned at the moment about the standards; the work that we have done has placed us in a strong position.
Some of the things that I would like to bring to the committee's attention is the work that we have done on the language of choice programme; that has been a big step for us. We have been using orange magnets in the wards above our patients, as it were, so that we can take away some of the concern for our patients. In a way, it provides our patients with a proactive offer, it informs our staff of what is happening, and it's a very simple, practical scheme that raises awareness and normalises the use of the Welsh language.
The work that we have already done through the 'More than just words' framework, the mainstreaming framework, has helped us to move forward. And, of course, as we carry out our IMTP, the integrated medium term plans, that has meant that we are continually preparing for these requirements. But, in terms of the patients, the work that we've also done with our staff—a scheme 'called use your Welsh' within Betsi Cadwaladr—is quite simple, in a way. As Sue said, people aren't always confident about using the little Welsh that they have, but that little Welsh that they have is very important, and that's been a very positive step for us.
But, along with that, we also have a tutor here in north Wales. We have invested in our staff in order to prepare for the standards and the tutor has already seen over 600 staff members. I suspect that she could see far more. We have a waiting list now for work with that tutor. What's important is that she goes out to surgeries, she goes onto wards, she enters the workplace and makes it easier for our teams, in order to normalise the use of the Welsh language, to raise awareness. Then many staff choose to improve their language skills and move forward in that way. We know that that will improve the quality of care. So, we have some very positive examples.
You mentioned primary care as a GP, and of course that is a challenging area for us. But there has already been good work done there. We've done some targeting work. I can think of one particular surgery in Botwnnog that has been an exemplar as a practice and they've taken the opportunity to work with us, but also to ensure that they welcome the support available and that Welsh is very visible within the practice, from lanyards to bilingual signage. That means that the Welsh language is at the same level as English and is normalised within that surgery. That's the work that we want to proceed with for the future.
Diolch. Thank you. Well, absolutely, we're committed to ensuring that we provide a truly bilingual service for our patients and clients wherever we possibly can. As Teresa has mentioned, our IMTP has a specific section on Welsh language and our ability to both plan and provide services, now and in the future, through the medium of Welsh, is a really important part of our planning process. Therefore, how we support our staff to be able to provide those services through the medium of Welsh is extremely important.
Like Teresa, we've done a lot of work over the last couple of years, particularly in relation to the work we did around the active offer and the Welsh language Measure, which has raised awareness and, hopefully, the continuity of that—. So, since we've—. The last three to six months, we've done much more awareness raising and engagement with staff around the standards themselves and what impact they will have and what staff might expect and what we might expect of them. So, making it clear what's expected is really helpful for staff and for patients. So, I think that active offer is essential. One of the things we've been doing in the last two or three months is, as part of our awareness sessions, we've been undertaking some work around what it means for individuals to be Welsh. So, what are the cultural things? What are the things that you connect with? Is that rugby? Is it the Eisteddfod? Is it the environment and the mountains? So, a whole range of different things that we've done in order for staff, in different ways, to think, 'Actually, that is what it means for me to be Welsh' and we've seen a very, very positive impact on that, which I think is really helpful.
We are part of one of the primary care pilots in north Monmouthshire supporting six GP practices specifically, and we've seen some very positive outcomes from that in terms of—. So, when we go in, a bit like Teresa was describing around the tutor, when you go in and you're visible, and talk to the practice staff about the impact of being able to provide bilingual services and a bilingual environment in terms of just straightforward things like the notices and the things on the—. If our patients see those in Welsh, then they know that we're taking their bilingual, or their ability to use the medium of Welsh, much more seriously, which is what we want.
A oes gyda chi unrhyw fath o farn ar wendidau allweddol safonau’r Gymraeg? A ydych chi’n credu—? Nid oedd y cynlluniau iaith yn gyson rhwng sectorau. A ydych chi’n credu bod hyn yn rhoi mwy o gysondeb? Os ydw i’n gallu cael atebion weddol fras, achos wnaethom ni gychwyn yn hwyr, bydd hynny’n grêt. Teresa.
Do you have any view on key weaknesses of the Welsh language standards? Do you think—? The language schemes weren't consistent between sectors. Do you think this provides more consistency? If we can have quite brief responses, because we started a little bit late. Teresa.
Ydym. Rydw i’n meddwl mai cysondeb ydy’r peth mwyaf. Rydym ni wedi bod ar y siwrnai, fel maen nhw’n ei ddweud—mae pob un cynllun, fframwaith, pob darn sydd wedi dod trwodd, mewn ffordd, yn ein hannog ni i wneud gwahaniaethau, wedi gwneud gwahaniaethau i’n cynnig ni. Ond y cysondeb, rydw i’n meddwl, fydd yn bwysig efo’r safonau. Wrth gwrs, fydd hynny’n heriol, ond rydym ni wedi paratoi ac yn dal i wneud y gwaith fyddwn ni ar ôl diwedd mis Mai.
Yes. I think consistency is the greatest thing. We've been on a journey, as it were—every scheme, every framework, every piece of work that's come through, encourages us to make a difference to our offer, and has done that, but I think it's the consistency that's the important thing with standards. That will, of course, be challenging, but we have prepared and we will continue to carry on with that work after May.
I would agree, absolutely. I think the balance—. Consistency is extremely important, but that balance between challenge and support for us as an organisation, particularly where we have a very limited number of Welsh-speaking staff. Even though we're doing all we can to improve that, we're working in an environment where there are national and international recruitment challenges for us, so, on top of that, recruiting bilingual staff is a challenge. We have, obviously, made efforts towards that, but it is difficult.
Could you just give us an oversight of the benefits and weaknesses of the Welsh language standards and how they compare with—you know, how they all fit together, really, in terms of your strategy?
Okay. Shall I take this one first?
Betsi Cadwaladr, obviously, there's huge numbers of Welsh-speaking communities; Aneurin Bevan is a rather different area, so—.
It is, it is. I think we've alluded to many of the positives around the standards, particularly around consistency and ensuring that our patients and clients know what to expect and know what they can ask for, and us making that active offer is an extremely important part of that. I think it is a journey, because I think without that our patients and clients aren't necessarily—. They perhaps don't—. Perhaps even they, as fluent Welsh speakers, are not confident to ask for services in Welsh, and I think the more we promote that the more likely that is to be the case. So, that's perhaps part of the confederation's reference to an organic change. I think that would be part of that. I think the concerns for us—. We know that we haven't had the opportunity to test the standards, as I've already said, but the concern around the potential for them being overly bureaucratic in terms of their application or monitoring would be something that we would want to perhaps help to influence. I think that would be helpful.
So, would you like to see them amended or revised, so that the—you know, fewer words, more impact?
I think that's a difficult question, actually, because there are a lot of standards, and that's—. But many of them were part of our Welsh language Measure and our plans anyway. So, there are an awful lot of them that are things that we have already got in place, albeit that in some areas we need to do more work in terms of ensuring a consistency of things like the active offer, the bilingual greetings, all of those sorts of things. I think some of the challenges for us around service provision are that we have an ageing population with patients and clients who have what we would describe as co-morbidities, which means they have a number of things wrong with them and therefore they're accessing services in a number of different parts of the system. So, that ability to ask once and know that the individual, their language choice is Welsh, and for another part of the system to know that is quite challenging for us in some areas. So, I think that would be an area that would be more difficult. It's not insurmountable, but it is a challenge.
So, when looking at your strategic plans, where does 'More than just words' sit within the framework of compliance? Is this the bible you go to or is there something else? I'll bring Teresa in in a minute, but if you just answer that, then I'll—.
Okay. Well, 'More than just words' has obviously been the foundation and we're building on that, and I think the standards build on that so that the standards will become the bible, if you like, once they come into play in the spring of this year. But the work that we've been doing already has built—. It's almost like pieces of the jigsaw, isn't it? There have been a number of pieces of the jigsaw over the years that have led us to the standards and, as we've already said, we welcome the standards, albeit that some of them will be more challenging for different parts of the—. The parts of the standards that will be challenging for us may not be challenging for places, for health boards, and organisations in the north or the west of the country, so—.
Okay. So, Teresa, 'More than just words' identifies four priority areas for the importance of Welsh language speaking: children and young people, elderly people, people with learning difficulties, and mental health. I just wondered if you could tell us whether you've been able to mainstream bilingualism in all those four priority areas.
Wel, fel roedd Sue yn sôn, ar siwrne rydym ni. Ond mae'r gwaith paratoi rydym ni wedi ei wneud yn golygu ein bod ni wedi bod yn rhoi pwyslais ar yr ardaloedd yna, ac yn bendant i ni fel bwrdd iechyd sydd mewn mesurau arbennig, mae yna bwyslais mawr wedi bod ar wneud yn siŵr bod ein gwasanaethau iechyd meddwl ni yn flaenoriaeth i ni, yn ogystal â phlant. Ac mae cleifion efo dementia yn faes arall rydym ni wedi rhoi ffocws mawr arno fo.
Wedyn, yn bendant, rydym ni wrthi’n gwneud y gwaith yna rŵan—rydym ni wedi bod wrthi ers cyfnod. Fel yr oedd Sue yn ei ddweud, rhan o jig-so ydy’r cam nesaf yma. Rydw i’n meddwl, i ni —. Roeddech chi’n gofyn cwestiwn yn gynt ynglŷn â beth sy’n wahanol, rŵan, o’r cynlluniau, a’r ffaith bod angen inni fod efo gweithdrefn fewnol. Mae hynny wedi bod yn broses bwysig i ni cyn y mesurau, ond yn arbennig, efo’r safon, rŵan, hynny yw sut rydym ni’n cyfathrebu dros y ffôn, a chyfarfodydd y bwrdd, hyd yn oed, a gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni’n gwneud pethau fel yna’n bwysig. Ond pan mae’n dod at weithio efo’n cleifion a rhai o’n cleifion mwyaf bregus ni—gwneud yn siŵr ein bod ni yn rhoi hyfforddiant a blaenoriaethau, a gwneud yn siŵr bod ein sgiliau dwyieithog ni’n cael eu cynnig i’n staff, a’n bod ni’n blaenoriaethu unwaith eto. Achos, fel roedd Sue yn dweud, nid oes gennym ni’r staff i wneud bob peth, ond rydym ni wedi buddsoddi ac mae gennym ni staff cryf yma yn Betsi Cadwaladr.
Wedyn, rydym ni wedi blaenoriaethu ac yn dal i flaenoriaethu, gan wybod bod yna rai o’n cleifion mwyaf bregus ni angen ein ffocws fwyfwy. Wedyn, o ran y pedwar grŵp rydych chi newydd sôn amdanyn nhw, rydym ni’n gweithio ar y rheini trwy gydol yr amser, ac mae gwaith mawr yn cael ei wneud.
Well, as Sue mentioned, we are on a journey. But the preparatory work that we've done has meant that we have been putting an emphasis on those areas, and certainly for us as a health board in special measures, there has been great emphasis on ensuring that our mental health services are a priority, as well as children. And dementia patients are another area that we have focused on.
So, certainly, we are carrying out that work now—we have been working on this for some time. As Sue said, this next step is part of the jigsaw. You asked an earlier question on what's different now between the standards and the schemes, and the fact that we need internal procedure. That's been an important process for us. It was important before standards, but it's even more important now how we communicate over the phone, and meetings of the board, even, and ensuring that those things are done properly. But when it comes to working with our patients and our most vulnerable patients, it's ensuring that we do provide training and prioritisation, and ensuring that bilingual skills are offered to our staff, and that we prioritise that properly too. Because, as Sue said, we don't have the staff in place to do everything, but we have invested and we have strong staff here at Betsi Cadwaladr.
We have prioritised and continue to prioritise, in the knowledge that some of our most vulnerable patients need greater focus. So, in terms of the four groups that you've mentioned, we are working on those consistently, and there is great work ongoing.
Could I just ask you, Teresa, to tell us a little bit about how this work in progress is interfacing with the complaints process? Obviously, I'm aware, from work on another committee, that there's been quite a significant rise in NHS complaints that have been going to the ombudsman. What proportion of your complaints relate to the inadequacy of accessing services in Welsh, and how do you deal with them?
Wel, ar hyn o bryd, wrth gwrs, nid ydym ni'n delio efo'r system gwyno o dan gyfundrefn y safonau, oherwydd nid ydyn nhw wedi dod i'w lle, fel petai. Ond yn bendant, fel y cyfarwyddwr gweithredol dros yr ardal yma o waith, rydw i'n cael gweld y cwynion yna, ac mae gennym ni'r fforwm amlddisgyblaethol yma yn y bwrdd iechyd, ac, wrth gwrs, pan rydym ni'n cael unrhyw gwynion, rydym ni'n eu trafod nhw'n fanna i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n rhoi'r ffocws iawn arnyn nhw.
O ran y niferoedd, fedraf i ddim rhoi sylw heddiw i chi, ac, wrth gwrs, fel rydw i'n ei ddweud, nid ydym ni eto o dan gyfundrefn y safonau, wedyn mae'n anodd rhoi sylw arbennig fan hyn. Ond beth rydym ni yn ei wneud fel fforwm ydy trafod y rheini ac edrych ar welliannau trwy gydol yr amser, fel ein bod ni'n dysgu. Mae gennym ni broses o adlewyrchu a dysgu drwy'r amser pan mae'n dod i unrhyw gwynion.
Well, at the moment, of course, we're not dealing with the complaints system under the standards, because they haven't come into place, as it were. But certainly, as the executive director in this area of work, I can see those complaints, and we have a multidisciplinary forum here in the health board, and, of course, when we do receive any complaints, we discuss them there to ensure that we give them the right focus.
In terms of numbers, I can't comment today, but, as I said, we're not yet under the standards regime, so it's very difficult to comment specifically here. But what we are doing as a forum is discussing those and looking at improvements all the time, so that we learn from this. We have a process of reflection and learning all the time when it comes to any complaints.
Okay. I appreciate that it's not yet statutory, but, obviously, that doesn't stop the patients complaining. So, you deal with it by obviously responding orally and in writing when people raise this.
Ac rydym ni'n eu cymryd nhw o ddifrif. Un o'r pethau eraill rydym ni wedi ei wneud ydy bod gennym ni waith mewnol yn digwydd, y secret shopper, y mystery shopper, ac mae hynny'n digwydd gennym ni yma ar hyn o bryd, yn naturiol. Rydym ni'n cael y wybodaeth bob chwarter i mewn i'n fforwm iaith ni i drafod beth rydym ni'n ei ddysgu, ac, wrth gwrs, unwaith eto, rydym ni'n trio blaenoriaethu'r ardaloedd hynny lle rydym ni'n gwybod ein bod ni angen blaenoriaethu oherwydd mae yna gleifion bregus, neu os oes yna unrhyw sylwadau wedi cael eu gwneud. Wedyn, mae'r rheini'n dod i'r fei ac rydym ni'n eu trafod nhw trwy gydol yr amser. Mae o'n rhan o'n broses ddysgu ac mae'n cryfhau'r cynnig sydd gennym ni.
And we take them seriously. One of the other things that we've done is we have internal work, a secret shopper, or mystery shopper, and that is happening at the moment, naturally. We receive information every quarter into our language forum to discuss what we're learning from that, and once more, we're trying to prioritise those areas where we know that we need to prioritise because there are vulnerable patients, or if there are any comments that have been made. And then those do come to the fore and we discuss them all the time. That is part of our learning process and it strengthens the offer that we have available.
Sue, os medrwch chi ateb ynglŷn â'r cwynion, ac wedyn bydd rhaid inni symud ymlaen, achos rydym ni'n brin iawn o amser, yn anffodus. So, os ydych chi'n gallu ateb am y cwynion, ac wedyn fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen.
Sue, if you could respond on complaints and then we will have to move forward, because we're very short of time, unfortunately. So, if you could respond on the complaints and then we will move forward.
Okay. I would agree with the comments that Teresa has made. We have very similar types of processes. With Welsh language complaints, wherever possible, we meet with the complainant as early as possible and work with them about what the issues are, and we've found that that's been very positive. We've had extremely positive outcomes as a result of that, both for the complainant, but also with the staff in the area where the issue arose.
And do you have a mechanism for logging these complaints so that you can see progress over time?
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. I just wanted to ask you about the link between regulation and promotion of the language. I'm particularly interested because I sense a slight difference of emphasis, with the NHS Confederation saying reasonable enforcement
'supports the use and promotion of the language',
and then Betsi emphasising that the balance in terms of regulation and promotion is 'key'. So, it seems—my initial view, I have to say, would be that through regulation you do get better promotion. It seems to me there's inevitably a linkage there. So, perhaps you can give me some evidence of that working in practice, and then for Betsi to say—well, what do you mean, really, by a balance in terms of regulation and promotion? If you're doing regulation, you surely are also promoting the language. It doesn't limit that. Shall we start with the NHS Confederation? Sorry, have I got that slightly wrong? I thought that—
No, I'm not from the confederation. I'm from the health board.
I mentioned earlier that I think it's that balance between regulation and enforcement. It is a balance between challenge and support, where we would want and expect to be challenged, but we would also want some support, both internally and from the commission in order to be able to continue to improve services for the people of the community we serve.
O'm hochr i, buaswn i'n dweud bod angen y ddau. Mae angen y cymorth rheoleiddio fel petai, ac mae rhywun yn gweld gwerth a manteision y comisiynydd yn gyfrifol am hynny, a lle'r ydym ni rŵan, a'r ffaith y bydd yna gysondeb yn symud ymlaen. Ond mae'n rhaid inni hefyd fod yn hyrwyddo ac yn hybu, a rhaid inni fod yn glir pwy sy'n gwneud beth i'r dyfodol. Rydym ni fan hyn wedi gwneud gwaith ar 'defnyddiwch eich Cymraeg'—rhywbeth syml ar draws gogledd Cymru, ond mae'n bwysig bod yna gymorth cenedlaethol hefyd wedyn. Rydw i'n meddwl bod y ddau ran yn bwysig: rheoleiddio, a hefyd hybu a hyrwyddo. Nid wyf yn eu gweld nhw ar wahân. Rydw i'n gweld y ddau ynghlwm, ond mae angen pwyslais ar y ddau. Allwch chi ddim gwneud un heb y llall.
From my perspective, I would say that we need both. You need the regulatory support, and one does see the value and benefits of the commissioner being responsible for that, where we are now, and the fact that there will be consistency moving forward. But we must also promote, and we must be clear as to who does what for the future. We have done some work here on 'defnyddiwch eich Cymraeg'—'use your Welsh'—which is something quite simple that's been implemented across north Wales, but it's important that there's national support available too. So, I think that both aspects are important: regulation and promotion. I don't see them as being separate. I see them as being interlinked, but we need to emphasise both. You can't do one without the other.
Ocê. Diolch am fod yn gyflym yn fanna. Caroline Jones.
Okay. Thank you for being brief there. Caroline Jones.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. What do you think are the risks and/or benefits of introducing new legislation at this moment in time? For example, Betsi Cadwaladr, you have a long-term plan between 2016 and 2019. What sort of impact do you think this would have on that plan? So, I'd like to know your views on that at the moment.
Wel, fel mae Sue wedi dweud yn barod, jig-so a siwrnai ydy hyn. Mae'n ddyddiau cynnar i ni o ran y safonau, ond rydym ni wedi gwneud y gwaith paratoi. Mae gennym ni strategaeth gref. Rydym ni wedi bod yn symud i'r cyfeiriad yma trwy gydol y gwaith yn barod. Rydym ni'n rhoi adborth a diweddariadau i un o bwyllgorau'r bwrdd iechyd, ac wedyn maen nhw'n glir hefyd ein bod ni ar y siwrnai yma yn symud ymlaen.
Wedyn, o ran ein strategaeth ni, proses strategol ydy hynny i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni yn llwyddiannus yn cynnig y gwasanaethau iawn yn y dyfodol. Rydym ni wedi gweld gwahaniaeth yn barod. Nid ydym ni'n gweld hyn fel unrhyw broblem o ran y strategaeth. Mae'r strategaeth yn gorffen beth bynnag, fel rydych chi'n dweud, yn 2019. Mi fydd cyfle inni rŵan ailedrych. Mae gennym ni swyddog sydd yn edrych ar gydymffurfio efo'r safonau yn barod. Wedyn, mae popeth wedi cael ei wneud i drio asio'r prosesau efo'i gilydd. Wedyn, nid ydw i'n gweld gormod o risg ar hyn o bryd, ond mae yna her o'm blaenau ni, yn bendant.
Well, as Sue has already said, this is a jigsaw and a journey. It is early days for us in terms of the standards, but we have done the preparatory work. We have a strong strategy. We've been moving in this direction throughout the work already. We provide feedback and updates to one of the committees of the health board, and then they're clear as well that we are on this journey moving forward.
Then, in terms of our strategy, it is a strategic process to ensure that we are successful in offering the right services in the future. We have seen a difference already. We don't see this as any problem in terms of the strategy. The strategy comes to an end, as you said, in 2019. There'll be an opportunity for us then to revisit it. We have an officer who is looking at complying with this standard already, and then everything has been done to try and bring these processes together. So, I don't see there's too much of a risk currently, but there is a challenge facing us, certainly.
Diolch. I would agree with Teresa: we have a very similar process. We have a committee that is a sub-committee of our board. So, in terms of our governance structure, it fits with the other sub-committees of the board. It's chaired by my director, the director of workforce and organisational development, who's the executive lead for the Welsh language, and has representation from across the organisation in terms of our divisions and primary care. That's where we will monitor the impact and the application of the standards.
Thank you. Can I ask what you think of having a single regulatory body that not only sets out and enforces standards, but is also responsible for the promotion of the Welsh language. What do you think are the pluses and minuses of having a single regulatory body? Either person—I don't mind.
I fi, mae angen hybu a rheoleiddio. Fel bwrdd iechyd, mi fyddwn ni'n gwneud beth bynnag sydd ei angen er mwyn cynnig y gwasanaeth gorau i'n poblogaeth ni, ac wrth gwrs rydym ni yn trio gwneud hynny'n hollol ddwyieithog wrth symud ymlaen. Mi wnawn ni weithio pa bynnag ffordd sydd ei hangen. Mae yna gyfle i gael un pwynt cyswllt—medraf i weld bod hynny'n rhywbeth o fudd i'r dyfodol—ond, eto, rydw i'n gweld cyfle i gael sgwrs am reoleiddio mewn un lle a sgwrs am hybu a hyrwyddo mewn dimensiwn arall. Wedyn, rydw i'n gweld bod yna gyfleoedd i ni weithio'n bositif, beth bynnag, mewn ffordd, ydy'r dyfodol. Y peth pwysig ydy ein bod ni'n symud ymlaen yn gyson ar draws Cymru, fel bod y cleifion yn gallu cael y gwasanaeth yr un fath reit ar draws y patsh gennym ni. Ac mae yna her yn fanna i ni, oherwydd y staff a'u gallu ieithyddol nhw, ond hefyd o ran gwneud yn siŵr bod pawb yn ymwybodol o'r pwysigrwydd.
In my view, there's a need to promote and regulate. As a health board, we will do whatever's necessary to provide the best service for our population, and of course we are trying to do that bilingually in moving forward. We will work in whatever way that's required. There's an opportunity to have one contact point—I can see that that is something that is beneficial in the future—but, again, I see an opportunity to have a discussion about regulation in one place and promotion in another, and that's another dimension. I think there are opportunities for us to work positively, whatever, really, is the future. The important thing is that we are moving forward consistently across Wales, so that patients can have the same service right across the patch. And that is a challenge for us, because of the staff and their language skills, and also to ensure that everybody is aware of the importance.
I would agree. I think the most important thing is that we're able to provide services that are delivering high-quality and safe care, wherever that is delivered, through whichever is the most appropriate language for that individual patient or client.
And my final question: could I ask what sort of relationship there is between the commissioner and the health sector? Thank you.
Rydw i'n meddwl bod yna berthynas dda. Rydw i'n gwybod bod fy nhîm iaith Gymraeg i yn cwrdd yn aml efo grŵp y comisiynydd, ac rydw i'n meddwl bod y deialog yn dda a bod yna gyfle i drafod materion. Rydw i'n bendant wedi bod mewn un cyfarfod cyn y Nadolig oherwydd y safonau, a jest eu trafod nhw drwodd. Rydw i'n meddwl bod yna berthynas dda. Hwyrach, nid ydy hybu a hyrwyddo wedi bod yn rhan mor fawr o rôl y comisiynydd yn y gorffennol, ond, yn bendant, mae gennym ni berthynas dda, buaswn i'n dweud, fel bwrdd iechyd, ac rydym ni'n gwerthfawrogi hynny.
I think there is a good relationship. I know that my Welsh language team meet on a regular basis with the commissioner's group, and I think the dialogue is good, and there's an opportunity to discuss issues. Certainly, I've been in a meeting before Christmas because of the standards, and just talking them through. I think there is a good relationship. Perhaps promotion hasn't been such a big part of the commissioner's role in the past, but certainly we have a good relationship, I would say, as a health board, and we appreciate that.
A fyddai comisiwn yn wahanol, Teresa? Comisiwn yn lle comisiynydd—beth am y ddadl hynny?
Would a commission be different, Teresa? A commission instead of a commissioner—what about that argument?
Wel, medraf i weld y byddai un pwynt cyswllt ar gyfer pob peth i'r dyfodol, ond fel rydw i'n dweud, rydw i'n gweld bod hybu a hyrwyddo mor bwysig ag ydy rheoliadau. Fel rydw i'n dweud, fel bwrdd iechyd mi fyddwn ni'n gwneud beth bynnag sydd angen i ni ei wneud. Wedyn, mewn ffordd, mater i eraill, hwyrach, ydy hynny. Beth fuasem ni ddim eisiau ei golli ydy'r berthynas dda sydd gennym ni a'r cyfleoedd i drafod y gwaith lleol a dysgu gan system genedlaethol. Mae yna gryfderau ymhob un o'r sectorau, a beth sy'n bwysig ydy ein bod ni'n rhannu gwaith da, practis da, a'n bod ni'n dysgu o'n gilydd ac yn helpu ein gilydd i gryfhau ar draws Cymru.
Well, I can see that there would be a single point of contact for everything for the future, but, as I say, I believe promotion is as important as regulation. As I've said, as a health board we will do whatever is necessary. So, in a way, that's an issue for others. What we wouldn't want to lose is the good relationship that we have and the opportunities to discuss the work at a local level and to learn from a national system. There are strengths in every sector, and what's important is that we share good practice and that we learn from each other and help each other to strengthen the situation across Wales.
I would absolutely agree. I think our relationship is very positive. I think that the commissioner's office has been very supported, and they're very helpful in terms of—. I think the relationship is such that I'm certainly aware that our Welsh language officer, quite regularly, will just pick up the phone and have a conversation with a member of the commissioner's team in order to just seek advice, get some clarification and support, really. So, we would hope that that would continue, and I would see no reason for it not to.
So, Sue, with the health boards being asked to consult on draft compliance, issued by the commissioner, how has that been received, could you tell me?
The compliance with the standards?
I think the challenge for us has been some of the timescales. I think there are—. I can't think of any that we would be saying—. There are a couple that we felt we really couldn't meet, and we haven't had those as part of our compliance notice. I think the challenge for us will be other timescales, and we've worked with the commissioner and her office in terms of extending some of those, and have provided what I assume is a compelling rationale, because some of those timescales were extended, which has been really helpful. As I've already said, I think the community in which we work is very different in terms of south-east Wales and the number of fluent Welsh speakers we have, and therefore the number of staff that we have that are able to provide those services.
Rŷm ni'n symud ymlaen at y cwestiwn olaf nawr, ar y system ryngwladol.
Moving on to the final question now, on the international perspective.
Before I ask in regard to the international perspective, and Canada is a good example that keeps cropping up continually for good reason—but in regard to the emphasis, particularly to Aneurin Bevan health board, and I have an interest as a patient within the board, we are dealing with hugely, as we know, different constituencies across Wales in terms of our communities, but within those we do have pockets, in particular Aneurin Bevan in terms of my question here. I'm also wanting to understand—you've outlined some of the challenges in rolling out the standards, and the concerted drive to roll out the standards across Aneurin Bevan, but is there, from your perspective, any concern from those professionals who are maybe foundation-level Welsh, or have a competency in Welsh, but may not be feeling that they are of an able-enough standard to deal professionally in Welsh, but feel that they have to because they are in that position of being one of the few in number of competent Welsh speakers? So, from my perspective, would there be any unintended consequences in terms of health outcomes potentially for those wanting to use Welsh, and having a very small pool of Welsh-speaking health professionals who would be, in a sense, directed to deal with them?
I think there are—. I've already talked a little bit about some of our staff who have perhaps level 1, or limited, GCSE-type level Welsh language skills, who are concerned in terms of confidence when they use their Welsh language skills with patients and clients. I think they are increasingly doing that with more confidence, the more support that we are able to give them. I think there's another end of that spectrum where we do have bilingual members of staff who are able to converse fully bilingually with patients and clients when they're talking about the issues that face them, but even those members of staff will often describe their preference to speak to a patient in English when they're talking about the technical aspects of the delivery of their care, or their options around a treatment plan. And I think it's important that we support those members of staff when they're saying—. So, where we have consultants who are fluent Welsh speakers, however, they will still say, 'My preference would be to speak to the patient on this aspect of their care around their options, particularly on treatment options, through the medium of English.' But they have that conversation with the patient at the time and come to an agreement about the rationale for that, particularly around some of the technical language issues and the technical terms.
Okay, I'm not going to ask that question again. So, in regard, then, to specific aspects to language planning and legislation from other countries, is there any knowledge, potentially, from other nations that you think may be of use to us in Wales in terms of applying standards on wider language planning, or is that really not something that you are heavily involved in?
It's certainly not something that we've—[Interruption.] Sorry. It's certainly not something that we've looked into at this stage, but we would be interested to learn from other countries how they have helped, particularly helped their staff to provide bilingual services.
You're okay, Sue.
O'n rhan ni yma yng ngogledd Cymru ac ar draws Cymru, rydw i'n gwybod bod yna gyswllt yna gyda Chanada fel cafodd ei drafod cynt, ac yn bendant mi ddaeth y cysyniad o'r cynnig rhagweithiol, fel rydw i'n ei ddeall, o Ganada. O'r fanna y daru o ddeillio, fel petai. Rydw i'n meddwl bod yna gyfle inni edrych ar y gweithlu oherwydd gwaith sydd wedi cael ei wneud yng Nghanada, oherwydd bod strategaeth ganddyn nhw, yr health human resources, fel rydw i'n ei ddeall, ac mae ganddyn nhw strategaeth sgiliau dwyieithog, ac rydw i'n meddwl bod yna gyfle inni ddysgu o fanna. Rydw i'n gwybod, o fan hyn, ar draws gogledd Cymru, mae gennym ni nifer o staff sydd wedi dod o lefydd pell iawn, ac maen nhw wedi dysgu ac maen nhw'n gallu siarad Cymraeg yn hollol naturiol erbyn hyn gyda'n cleifion ni. Rydym ni'n dysgu o hyd gyda nhw, ond yn ddiweddar mae yna sgwrs wedi bod efo meddyg o Wlad y Basg eto. Wedyn, rydym ni'n fodlon dysgu o le bynnag sy'n bosibl i wella ein gwasanaethau ni. Nid ydyw o o bwys gennym ni, ac rydw i'n meddwl bod yna gyfleoedd arbennig gennym ni i ddysgu gan wledydd eraill i weld beth fedrwn ni ei wneud, a byddwn ni'n dal i wneud hynny wrth symud ymlaen.
From our perspective here in north Wales and across Wales, I know that there are links with Canada, as has already been discussed, and certainly the concept of the active offer, as I understand it, came from Canada. That's where it emerged initially. I think there's an opportunity for us to look at the workforce as a result of work that's been done in Canada because in the health human resources strategy that they have, they have a bilingual skills strategy, and I think there's an opportunity for us to learn from that. I know that, across north Wales, we have a number of staff who have come from far afield, and they have learnt Welsh and they can speak Welsh quite naturally now with our patients. We are constantly learning from them, but recently there has been some discussion with a doctor from the Basque Country. So, we are willing to learn from wherever possible in order to improve our services. It doesn't matter to us. and I think there are excellent opportunities for us to learn from other nations in order to see what we can do, and we will continue to do that in moving to the future.
Chair, if I may, just very, very briefly, because I know we're out of time, but in that regard, would you like to see more coming out from Welsh Government in that particular international research guidance manner? Or do you feel there's already enough out there coming to you?
Mi ddysgaf i o ble bynnag fedraf i. Y gorau rydw i eisiau i bawb. Wedyn, os oes yna gyfle, gwych. Mi fuaswn i'n gwerthfawrogi hynny.
I will learn from wherever I can. I just want the best for everybody. So, if there is an opportunity, that's excellent. I would appreciate that.
Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi, ac ymddiheuriadau unwaith eto am y problemau gyda'r sain a'r cyfieithiadau. Os oes yna gwestiynau ychwanegol gennym i'w gofyn, oherwydd y diffyg amser, byddwn ni'n ysgrifennu atoch chi, ond diolch eto am eich cyfraniadau yma heddiw.
Thank you very much, and apologies again for the problems with the sound and the interpretation. If there are any additional questions we need to ask, as a result of the lack of time, we will write to you, but thank you again for your contributions here today.
Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Thank you very much.
Mae angen inni gymryd seibiant o bum munud, jest i sicrhau bod y sesiwn nesaf sydd yn defnyddio'r un fath o dechnoleg yn gallu gweithio. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
We now need to take a break of five minutes, just to ensure that the next session, which is using the same kind of technology, will work. Thank you very much.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:36 ac 11:48.
The meeting adjourned between 11:36 and 11:48.
Diolch, a chroeso i eitem 4 ar yr agenda yma heddiw, cefnogi a hybu'r Gymraeg: ymchwiliad i'r cyd-destun deddfwriaethol, ac mae gennym dystion yma heddiw sydd yn mynd i roi persbectif rhyngwladol inni ar yr hyn sydd yn digwydd o ran yr iaith. Felly, os yw'n iawn gyda chi—yn sgil y ffaith nad wyf i eisiau problemau diplomyddol a gwleidyddol ar sut rydw i'n dweud eich henwau—a fedrwch chi gyflwyno eich hunain ar gyfer y record inni yma heddiw, gan ddechrau gyda Rónán?
Thank you, and welcome to item 4 on the agenda here today, supporting and promoting the Welsh language: an inquiry into the legislative, policy and wider context, we now have witnesses here today who are going to give an international perspective on what is happening in terms of the language. So, if it's okay with you—as a result of the fact that I don't want to have any political and diplomatic problems in terms of how I pronounce your names—could you please introduce yourselves for the record for us here today, starting with Rónán ?
Thank you very much for the invitation to be here today. I'm delighted to be here to give you an outline of the work we do in Ireland. I'm the Irish language commissioner. I was appointed in 2014, and I'm also chair of the International Association of Language Commissioners.
Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost ydw i. Rydw i'n athro yn y Gymraeg ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd.
I'm Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost. I am a professor in the school of Welsh at Cardiff University.
Bore da a diolch yn fawr iawn am y gwahoddiad i gyfranogi heddiw.
Good morning and thank you very much for the invitation to participate in today's meeting.
Dysgwr Cymraeg ydw i, dysgwr araf.
I am a learner of Welsh and a slow learner at that.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mae'n dda iawn gweld eich bod chi'n dysgu. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Rydym ni'n mynd i gael cyfres o gwestiynau ar sail themâu gwahanol. Felly, os yw'n iawn gyda chi, awn ni'n syth i mewn i gwestiynau gan Aelodau Cynulliad gwahanol, yn cychwyn gyda Dai Lloyd, Aelod Cynulliad. Diolch.
Thank you very much. It's great to see that you are learning. Thank you very much.
We are going to have a series of questions now on the basis of different themes. So, if it's okay with you, we'll go straight into questions from Assembly Members, and we'll start with Dai Lloyd, Assembly Member. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Yn naturiol, rydym ni'n sôn am Fesur Cymraeg 2011, nid jest yng nghyd-destun Cymru a hawliau siaradwyr iaith leiafrifol yn y fan hyn, ond, wrth gwrs, fel mae'r Cadeirydd wedi crybwyll eisoes, o fewn y cyd-destun rhyngwladol o brofiadau tebyg. Felly, y cwestiwn cyntaf, efallai i'r Athro Robert Dunbar, ydy effaith gyffredinol Mesur y Gymraeg (Cymru) 2011 ar yr hawliau i siaradwyr Cymraeg ydy eu bod nhw yn—. A allwch chi sôn am yr agweddau sydd wedi bod yn gadarnhaol yn eich tyb chi ac efallai agweddau eraill sydd wedi bod yn llai cadarnhaol? Ac mi wnaf i sôn wedyn ynglŷn â'r profiad rhyngwladol. Ond, os medrir sôn yn gyntaf jest am Fesur Cymru 2011. Robert.
Thank you, Chair. Naturally, we're talking about the 2011 Welsh language Measure, not just in the context of Wales and the rights of minority language speakers here, but, just as the Chair has mentioned already, within the international context of experiences that are similar. So, the first question is, perhaps first to Professor Robert Dunbar, on the general impact of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 on Welsh speakers' rights. Can you talk about the aspects that have been positive in your view and perhaps other aspects that have been less positive? And I'll then go on to talk about the international experience. But, if you can just talk first of all about Wales's 2011 Measure. Robert.
[Inaudible.]—first, it, I think, moves away from the rather vaguer commitments that are often found in the schemes mechanism, and maybe Rónán will be discussing some of the experience in Ireland with regard to schemes.
I think that the standards certainly move us towards rights. I think the key things here are the relative clarity in how duties are expressed. I think one of the drawbacks that we see in Scotland, as well as perhaps in Ireland, is that many of the language schemes, or plans as we have in Scotland, are rather vague and filled with qualifications, exculpatory language and so forth. Whereas, although they're very complex—I'll come back to the negative aspects—I think that the standards, particularly the service delivery standards, are providing much more detail and clarity and are beginning to look like rights, although we're very early in the process. And from my perspective, I think that's a positive, not only for the public who, arguably, have a better and clearer understanding of precisely what they can expect in terms of services, but for the regulated bodies themselves. It also makes, I think, compliance, measuring compliance and enforcing compliance somewhat easier. So, I think that's a positive.
I was also struck by some of the other standards, particularly the policy-making standards. I've just finished a year of research on the language legislation in the Celtic countries. One thing that is quite clear in a broader minority language context is that, of course, the legislation is usually directed at trying to revitalise a minoritised language and, obviously, in addition to the services that are provided by the public sector, there are a number of other things that can affect the vitality of language communities. The policy-making standards begin to require—again, we're at a very early stage—but I think they're very important, because they, potentially, require policy makers to consider what the impact of decisions in other areas that are not obviously directly related to the language, such as transport policy or housing policy et cetera, et cetera, may be on the language, and I think this is a very important innovation that will be followed very closely in other jurisdictions. I think this is a really innovative aspect, as are the record-keeping standards.
I think that some of the work that the commissioner has done has been very innovative. We'll talk, no doubt, about the commissioner, and commissioner versus commission, but I think things like the assurance reports are quite interesting innovations, because they try to convey a real sense of what's going on, and, obviously, that evidence has been useful to the Government as well.
Finally, just a couple of comments about negative aspects that have been highlighted already, highlighted by the Welsh Assembly Government. The complexity, particularly in respect of standard setting, is something that is quite striking—the complexity of the legislation. I acted as an adviser to the committee scrutinising the Bill that lead to the Measure back in 2010, and I was struck by the complexity there. And also the range of duties that the commissioner now has, which are potentially very wide-ranging, and these are, no doubt, issues that we'll come back to.
Diolch. Os ydym ni'n gallu sicrhau—mae yna dri pherson yn rhoi tystiolaeth—nad ydyn ni'n rhy hir, os yw hynny'n iawn, o ran cwestiynau ac atebion, ond os ydych chi eisiau ateb hefyd, byddai hynny'n helpu.
Thank you. Could we ensure, as there are three people providing evidence, that we're not taking too long in terms of questions and responses? If you'd like to respond as well, that would be of assistance.
Rónán, yr olygfa o'r Iwerddon bell—neu agos, yn dibynnu arnoch chi.
Rónán, the view from Ireland—near or far.
Professor Dunbar there mentioned the system of language schemes, which is what we have in operation in Ireland at present. The Government has taken a decision, as of May 2017, to disband that system upon my recommendation, following a commentary that I did on the workings of the language Act. I suppose what it shows is that if changes of such substance are to be made, they should be done based on evidence and research, and when a system is given a fair amount of time to bed in and to see how it works. So, in Ireland, the system of language schemes was brought in in 2004 with the Act. We did a commentary on the Act where we looked, basically, at every single scheme that was agreed over a period of two years, which encompassed 40 language schemes.
We had an idea when we undertook the work that the system of language schemes wasn't working, but even the figures for ourselves were surprising to us—about how bad the findings were. They showed, for example, that, in two thirds of the time when my office had made a formal investigation or findings against a public body regarding a commitment in a language scheme, in the subsequent language scheme that commitment had been removed. So, for example, one local council didn't have a traffic warden who spoke Irish in the Gaeltacht area. An investigation was undertaken and found against the council. In the next language scheme, that requirement had been removed. Another local council with a website, for example, had a commitment to have a website through Irish. An investigation was conducted as to that. In the subsequent language scheme, that commitment was removed, and that happened two thirds of the time. In half of second and third language schemes, there was a regression in general in commitments.
So, the point I'm making, essentially, is that the system was given enough time to see whether it worked, and evidence was produced to show that it didn't work. I think, when those two things combine, it's safe and it's fair to say, 'We have to look at something else'. But, without that, I think difficulties could arise as well.
Diolch. Diarmait, jest i orffen ar y cwestiwn yma, cyn inni symud ymlaen.
Thank you. Diarmait, just to finish on this point, before we move on.
O ran pethau cadarnhaol, mae safonau yn bendant yn llai amwys o ran cynnwys na chynlluniau iaith, a dyna oedd un o fwriadau'r Mesur yn wreiddiol. O ran pethau llai cadarnhaol, mae yna nifer o bethau—rhai ohonyn nhw wedi codi yn barod. Un yw bod y drefn newydd yn rhy gymhleth mewn gwahanol ffyrdd. Yn ail, roedd yna ddryswch ynglŷn â hybu—pwy yn y Llywodraeth, neu ai'r comisiynydd, oedd i fod yn gyfrifol am hynny ac ym mha ffyrdd? Hefyd, roedd yna ddryswch ynglŷn â beth yn union oedd rôl y comisiynydd—ai ombwdsmon neu reoleiddiwr oedd y comisiynydd i fod? Yn olaf, roedd yna ddryswch, rydw i'n meddwl, ynglŷn ag ystyr annibyniaeth y swyddfa honno, a hynny'n neilltuol mewn perthynas â'r Llywodraeth. Felly, yn gryno iawn, iawn, dyna—.
In terms of the positives, standards certainly are less ambiguous in terms of their content than the language schemes, and that was one of the aims of the Measure originally. In terms of the less positive issues, there are a number of things, and a number have been mentioned already. One is that the new system is too complex in many ways. Secondly, there was some confusion about promotion—whether it was the commissioner or the Government that was responsible for that and how. There was also some confusion about what the role of the commissioner was—that of an ombudsman or a regulator. Finally, there was some confusion about the independence of that post and specifically so in its relationship with Government. So, very succinctly, those are the issues.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Rwy'n ymwybodol o amser, Gadeirydd, felly cariwch ymlaen.
Thank you. I'm aware of time, Chair, so carry on.
Ocê, symudwn ni ymlaen, felly, at Vikki Howells. Diolch.
Okay, we will move on, therefore, to Vikki Howells. Thank you.
Thank you, Chair. I'm interested in your opinion—all three of you—on the balance between the language duties and regulation versus the voluntary language schemes. Do you think that we've got the balance right there? Can you expand and explain briefly why?
I'm happy to jump in from an international perspective; I don't know enough about the situation in Wales to comment specifically on that. To put it bluntly, in my experience, voluntary language schemes don't work, and they offer a second-grade service to citizens who want to do their business in the language of their choice, if it's a language spoken by a minority.
The way to get public bodies to provide services of a similar standard to people is to do it by regulation. If it's left up to public bodies, in my experience in Ireland, to agree schemes on their own voluntarily, then it doesn't happen—they don't recruit people with Irish, they don't provide services that are of a similar standard, and if we're serious about providing services of a similar standard to people, that needs to be done by regulation, not voluntarily.
But in your experience in Ireland, even the regulatory framework hasn't worked to date, has it?
That's the problem with it, because the schemes—. Essentially, it's like a game of cards; all the good cards are in the hands of the public body, because the Minister or the Government department can say, 'We would like this in our scheme', but it's left up, ultimately, to the public body to voluntarily say, 'These are the issues we're going to put into our language scheme.' If a system of standards is brought in in Ireland, which is expected to happen—you know, direct regulations—after consultation of course, and after an assessment of what provision is there and what amount of staff are available to provide services—. If regulations are laid down directly, it will provide, and should provide, a higher level of service than voluntarily expecting public bodies to provide services, or even volunteering to put services into a statutory language scheme.
Rydw i'n meddwl mai'r gair allweddol yn fan hyn, yn hytrach nag ein bod ni'n meddwl am gynlluniau iaith fel pethau 'gwirfoddol' oherwydd, ar ddiwedd y dydd, nid ydyn nhw'n wirfoddol—. Os yw corff yn derbyn gorchymyn i gytuno ar gynllun iaith, wedyn maen nhw'n gorfod gwneud hynny, ac unwaith iddyn nhw gytuno ar gynllun iaith, wedyn nid yw e'n wirfoddol i b'un ai gweithredu hynny ai peidio, ond yn hytrach mae'n fater o raid statudol. Rydw i'n meddwl ei bod hi'n fwy defnyddiol i ni feddwl i ba raddau mae rhai pethau'n werth eu negodi neu 'negotiate-o' rhwng cyrff cyhoeddus a chorff fel comisiynydd neu gomisiwn, ac i ba raddau mae pethau'n werth eu gosod fel mater o gyfraith drwy ddeddfwrfa fel y Cynulliad.
Rydw i'n meddwl, yn syml iawn, fod yna wraidd o bethau sydd yn werth deddfu yn eu cylch nhw drwy'r ddeddfwrfa, ond bod yna amrediad o bethau eraill sydd yn werth gadael i'r drafodaeth yna, i'r negodi yna, rhwng cyrff cyhoeddus yn unigol, ac yn y corff rheoleiddio neu rywbeth tebyg, fel comisiwn neu gomisiynydd. Mae yna sawl rheswm am hynny, ond yn bennaf y rheswm yw er mwyn caniatáu hyblygrwydd yn y system, er mwyn cydnabod gwahanol gryfderau a gwendidau iaith mewn gwahanol rannau o'r wlad sydd o dan sylw. Nid yw'r Gymraeg mor gryf ym mhob man yng Nghymru, felly beth fydd yn gweithio yng Ngwynedd, fydd hynny ddim o reidrwydd yn gweithio yng Nghaerffili. Wedi dweud hynny, mae rhai pethau y dylai Caerffili a Gwynedd fod yn eu gwneud, ac mae rhywun yn gallu gwneud hynny drwy osod hynny fel dyletswydd drwy reoliadau. Mae yna bethau eraill sydd yn angenrheidiol i'w trafod wrth negodi a chydnabod y gwahaniaethau yna.
I think the key word here, rather than thinking of language schemes being 'voluntary', because at the end of the day, they're not voluntary—. If an organisation is instructed to agree a language scheme, they have to do that, and, once they have agreed to that scheme, then it's not voluntary as to whether they implement that scheme or not, but rather it's a statutory requirement. I do think it's more useful for us to think to what extent some things are negotiable between a public body and a commissioner or a commission, and to what extent things should be set out as a matter of law through a legislature such as the Assembly.
I think, simply, that there are core issues that should be legislated on through the legislature, but there are a range of other things that are best left to that negotiation between individual public bodies and the regulatory body, such as a commission or a commissioner. There are a number of reasons for that, but mainly it is in order to allow flexibility within the system in order to recognise different strengths and weaknesses in terms of language in different geographical areas. The Welsh language isn't as strong in all parts of Wales, and therefore what would work in Gwynedd wouldn't necessarily work in Caerphilly. Having said that, there are certain things that Gwynedd and Caerphilly should be doing, and you can do that by making that a requirement through regulation. There are other things that need to be discussed in negotiating and recognising those differences.
I'll be very brief. I think that most voluntary schemes in Wales apply to organisations firstly in the private and voluntary sector, which are not subject to the regulatory system. So, I think one of the key issues is if you were to impose something more binding than a voluntary scheme—and I would generally go along with what the Irish commissioner has said about voluntary schemes—the question is: do you want to bring private sector organisations and third sector organisations within the legislative framework? Of course, right now, there is limited regulation possible under the measure, and some discussion in the White Paper as well. In other jurisdictions generally, the regulation only applies to the public sector, but in the province of Quebec, for example, and in Catalonia, there is now regulation of the private and third sectors. So, that really is the question: do you want to statutorily, or through statutory mechanisms, regulate those sectors?
Thank you. My final question is on the complaints process, and whether you think that the current system of dealing with complaints about Welsh language services is appropriate and robust, and Rónán, in your context, then, if there are any lessons that we can learn from Ireland on that.
In our context, we receive around 700 complaints a year, and the vast majority of those are resolved informally. The Act, the Official Languages Act 2003, basically gives the power to the commissioner to decide whatever form of investigation he wishes to undertake to do so. So, it doesn't necessarily have to be a formal investigation from the word 'go'. So, of those 700 complaints approximately, we end up with around five or six—maybe seven or eight—formal investigations a year. The rest of them then can be divided into two camps—the rest of them are resolved informally. It might be something like a road sign where you could write to the public body informally. They say, 'We'll take it down, we'll fix it', and it's closed. The big issue we have, really, is that almost half or approximately half of the complaints we receive we can't really investigate formally or informally because the statutory obligation isn't there. So, people are looking for a form in Irish or a person-to-person service through Irish that isn't agreed in a language scheme and isn't provided by direct provision. So, that's the main issue we have, really. We end up going back to people a lot saying, 'We understand the difficulty you've experienced. It should be available but it's not'.
Unrhyw un arall? Nid oes rhaid i chi ateb bob cwestiwn.
Anyone else? You don't have to answer every question.
Dau beth yn sydyn iawn. Rydw i'n meddwl ei fod e'n dda iawn o beth—wel, mi fyddai o'n dda iawn o beth—petai achwynydd yn gorfod mynd at y corff mae'n cwyno yn ei erbyn yn y lle cyntaf, yn hytrach na bod hawl gyda nhw i fynd yn uniongyrchol at y comisiynydd. Rydw i'n meddwl ei fod e'n fater o arfer cyffredin yn y meysydd lle mae cyrff yn trin cwynion mewn bob math o wahanol feysydd fod yna gyfle gan y corff i wneud yn iawn am y gŵyn yn y lle cyntaf cyn bod rhywun yn mynd at ryw drydydd parti er mwyn chwilio am ffordd o ddatrys y broblem.
Hefyd, byddai'n dda o beth petai y person sydd yn cyflwyno'r gŵyn yn gorfod dangos ei bod nhw wedi dioddef yn bersonol yn sgil beth bynnag sydd wedi digwydd, fel ein bod ni'n osgoi pobl yn cwyno ar ran rhyw bobl eraill, ac yn y blaen, ac fel bod y system yn trin pryderon dinasyddion go iawn yn hytrach na rhywbeth gwahanol i hynny.
Mae yna ryw gwestiwn yn codi ynglyn â beth yw ystyr difrifol cynigion y Llywodraeth ynglyn â'r drefn newydd, a buaswn i'n ymddiddori mewn gweld sut mae rhywun yn mynd i greu mecanwaith ar gyfer diffinio beth yw 'difrifol'.
Just two things very briefly. I think it would be a very good thing if a complainant had to go initially to the body that they are complaining against, rather than having the right to go immediately to the commissioner. I think it's a matter of common practice in areas where organisations deal with complaints in all sorts of different areas that there should be an opportunuity for the organisation to put the complaint right before the complainant goes to some third party to seek some sort of resolution.
Also, it would be a good thing if the complainant had to demonstrate that they had suffered personally as a result of what has happened, so that we can avoid people making complaints by proxy on behalf of others, so that the system treats the complaints of real citizens rather than dealing with something else.
There is a question arising as to the meaning of 'serious' in terms of the new system, and I would be interested to see how one would come up with a mechanism to define that.
Rŷm ni'n dod ymlaen at hynny. Robert, yn fyr, a oes rhywbeth gyda chi ar hyn?
We'll come onto that. Robert, briefly, do you have anything to say on this?
No, I generally accept what the others witnesses have said. On this question of serious breaches, I think that there should be some caution here. The Canadian experience is often that if a particular breach has been found to have existed, it may not look like a particularly major thing. It might involve failure to deliver a form or something like that, but it can have significant consequences in terms of changes in practice. So, I think that the threshold—. The whole purpose of the complaint is to put power in the hands of the citizen in the first instance, and I think they should err on the side of letting the citizen have their day, as it were.
Na, yn gyffredinol yr wyf yn derbyn beth y mae eraill wedi dweud tystion. Ar y cwestiwn hwn o achosion difrifol o dorri, credaf y dylid bod yn ofalus yma. Brofiad Canada yn aml na os canfuwyd achos penodol wedi bodoli, efallai y bydd mae'n edrych fel peth arbennig mawr. Gallai olygu methiant i ddarparu ffurflen neu rywbeth fel hynny, ond gall gael goblygiadau sylweddol o ran newidiadau mewn ymarfer. Felly, credaf fod y trothwy —. Holl bwrpas y gŵyn yw rhoi grym yn nwylo y dinesydd yn y lle cyntaf, a chredaf y dylai piau gosod y dinesydd wedi eu diwrnod, fel petai.
Gan symud ymlaen, roeddwn i jest eisiau gofyn i Rónán yn fras, gan eich bod chi yma, a oes yna unrhyw beth yn rhan o Fesur 2011 sydd mor dda, sydd mor wefreiddiol y byddech chi eisiau ei fabwysiadu ar gyfer Iwerddon gan eich bod chi, rwy'n credu, ar gam, efallai, neu mewn sefyllfa wahanol i ni ar hyn o bryd yma yng Nghymru?
Moving on, I just wanted to ask Rónán, as you're here, is there anything that's part of the 2011 Measure that is so good and so attractive that you would want to adopt for Ireland, because I think you are perhaps at a different stage or in a different situation to us here in Wales at the moment?
I suppose that the main issue that we would like to adopt—. We do look to Wales as a good example of how to get things done, especially within the International Association of Language Commissioners. The Welsh Language Commissioner has been a huge part of that organisation, a former chair of the organisation, and they've had groups from Nunavut and from Kosovo and from Canada over to view the workings of the office. The main success, I suppose, as I would see it from an outside view looking in, is that they have moved to a system of standards, and it has been relatively successful as far as I'm aware, from speaking to people. It of course is going to take time to bed in. I've yet to meet a public body that has openly and wholeheartedly agreed with further regulations imposed upon them, That's not the way that these things work in my experience.
So, from an Irish perspective, the system of standards is something that I would like to see brought in to Ireland, and the Government have committed to doing that in the heads of a new Bill, which is due to be published shortly. We hope they intend to move from the system of language schemes to a system of standards. So, I think that's something, certainly, that we would hope to learn from from here.
Ocê, diolch. Rŷm ni'n symud ymlaen i hybu ieithoedd lleiafrifol. David Melding.
Okay, thanks. Moving on to promoting minority languages. David Melding.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. I'd like to talk about the relation between regulation and promotion, and whether those functions sit naturally together in the same organisation or, in the case we're considering, the commissioner, and also how they interplay. I mean, a more regulatory approach—does that reduce the more, sort of, visionary expansionist role of promotion because you're out there trying to get organisations to adopt a more wide-ranging language policy? But if they then get tightly regulated, they may be, you know, unresponsive or unconfident about where they should be going. So, I'd just like to talk about whether, through good enforcement and regulation, we actually achieve promotion—or is it a more complicated relationship? I don't mind who starts, but Professor Mac Giolla Chriost, you've talked about this, I think, and written about where those functions should lie, for instance.
Nid oes yna ddim rheswm pam lai cael y ddwy swyddogaeth o fewn yr un corff. Nid oes yna ddim rheswm neilltuol pam na all hynny ddim digwydd. Rydw i'n deall bod rhai pobl yn pryderu bod gyda chi gorff sy'n wynebu dau gyfeiriad ychydig yn wahanol, ond mae yna ddigon o enghreifftiau rhyngwladol lle mae gyda chi swyddfeydd sydd yn gwneud y ddau beth ar yr un pryd ac mae yna rhai manteision o gael comisiwn neu ryw fath o gorfforaeth gyfansawdd i ymgymryd â'r math yma o beth oherwydd mi fyddai modd wedyn cael un rhan o'r corff sydd yn glir yn ymdrin â hybu ac yna rhan arall o'r un un corff sydd yn trin rheoleiddio. So, yn hynny o beth, nid yw hynny ddim yn broblem.
Mae gwahanol gomisiynwyr iaith, hefyd, gyda swyddogaethau hybu er nad ydyn nhw ddim yn hybu yn yr un un ffordd ag y byddai corff fel Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg, er enghraifft, wedi arfer hybu'r Gymraeg. Hynny yw, maen nhw'n hybu yn rhinwedd eu swyddogaeth nhw fel ombwdsman neu fel rheoleiddwyr, ac mae hynny'n wahanol beth i hybu yn yr ystyr o ddosrannu grantiau i gyrff sydd yn hyrwyddo'r Gymraeg, er enghraifft, neu annog cyrff i wneud pethau y tu hwnt i ofynion statudol ynglŷn â darparu gwasanaethau i'r cyhoedd yn y Gymraeg. Felly, nid oes yna ddim rheswm pam lai cael y ddwy swyddogaeth o fewn yr un corff, ond, yn hynny o beth, mae creu corff sydd gyda'r cyfansoddiad sydd yn mynd i ganiatáu i hynny ddigwydd orau yn angenrheidiol. Yn syml iawn, nid yw corfforaeth unigol neu corporation sole ddim yn mynd i weithio'n dda iawn wrth ymdrin â dwy swyddogaeth mor wahanol. Mae'n well cael corfforaeth gyfansawdd. Dyna un rheswm pam bod comisiwn, yn hynny o beth, yn well na chomisiynydd.
There is no reason for not incorporating both functions within the same organisation. There's no particular reason why that shouldn't happen. I do understand that certain people are concerned that you have an organisation facing in two different directions, perhaps, but there are plenty of international examples where you do have offices that do both things simultaneously and there are some benefits of having a commission or some sort of corporate body to undertake this kind of activity because then you could have one part of the organisation that would clearly be involved with promotion, and another part of the same organisation that would deal with regulation. So, in that regard, that isn't problematic.
Now, different language commissioners also have promotional activities, although they don't promote in the same way as an organisation such as the Welsh Language Board would have promoted. They undertake promotion as a result of their function as an ombudsman or a regulator, and that is a different thing to promotion in the sense of distributing grants to organisations promoting the Welsh language, for example, or to encourage organisations to do things that are over and above statutory requirements in terms of providing services to the public through the medium of Welsh, and, therefore, there is no reason why you couldn't have both functions within the same body, but, having said that, creating an organisation that has a constitution that will allow that to happen effectively is essential because, simply, an individual corporation or a corporation sole isn't going to work particularly well in dealing with two such different functions. It is better to have a body corporate, and that is why a commission would be better than a commissioner.
A oes yna reswm pam rydych chi'n dweud bod y comisiwn yn gweithio'n well na—?
Is there a reason why you're saying that a commission would work better?
Wel, mae'r comisiynydd yn gorfforaeth unigol—neu corporation sole—a mae hynny'n meddwl, ar ddiwedd y dydd, fel mater o raid statudol, un person sydd yn cymryd penderfyniadau ynglŷn â phopeth mae'r corff yna'n ei wneud, ac mae beth bynnag mae'r corff yna yn ei wneud yn dibynnu i raddau helaeth ar sgiliau, profiadau a phersonoliaeth y person sydd yn dal y swydd hon—
The commissioner is a corporation sole, and that means that, at the end of the day, as a matter of statutory requirement, there is an individual taking decisions on everything that that organisation does, and whatever that organisation does does depend, to a great extent, on the skills, experience, and the personality of the post holder—
Fel y comisiynydd plant, fel y comisiynydd pobl hŷn—
Such as wirh the children's commissioner, the older people's commissioner—
Ie, ond rydw i'n poeni ychydig am gymharu comisiynwyr fel yna achos mae Comisiynydd y Gymraeg ychydig yn wahanol i'r comisiynwyr eraill, ac mae hyd yn oed gwahaniaethau sylfaenol rhwng y gwahanol gomisiynwyr iaith yn rhyngwladol, ond mae corfforaeth gyfansawdd wedyn yn wahanol iawn i hynny yn yr ystyr mae gyda chi wahanol unigolion awdurdodedig o fewn y corff sydd yn gallu cymryd penderfyniadau mewn ffordd fwy awdurdodol, ac mae rhywun yn gorfod rhannu'r faich hefyd o gymryd penderfyniadau ynglŷn â gwahanol faterion sydd yn dod gerbron y corff. Mae e'n meddwl bod rhannu baich o ran cymryd penderfyniadau, mae llai o risg wrth gymryd penderfyniadau ac mae e'n gweithio'n well o ran hynny. O bosibl ei fod yn arafach, oherwydd mae rhywun yn gorfod creu gweithdrefn fewnol i'r corff er mwyn caniatáu am, er enghraifft, bethau syml fel cyfarfodydd i'r gwahanol unigolion yna ddod at ei gilydd. Mae'n cymryd amser i gymryd penderfyniadau ar y cyd ac yn y blaen—lle mae corfforaeth unigol, mae'r person yn gallu cymryd penderfyniad a dyna nhw, maen nhw'n gallu cymryd penderfyniad oherwydd nhw sy'n penderfynu.
Well, yes, but I'm a little concerned about comparing commissioners in that way because the Welsh Language Commissioner is slightly different to the other commissioners and there are even fundamental differences between the different language commissioners internationally. But a body corporate would be very different to that, in the sense that you would have various authorised individuals within the organisation who could take decisions in a more authoritative way, and then the burden is also shared in terms of decision making on the various issues before that organisation. It would mean that the burden is shared in terms of decision making, there is less risk in taking decisions and it works better in that regard. Now, it may be a slower process because one has to create internal procedures in order to allow for simple things such as arranging meetings for those individuals to come together. It takes time to take joint decisions—whereas in a corporation sole, an individual can take a decision and that's it, because it is essentially their decision.
I'd agree that there's no good reason why the two functions couldn't be located in the same institution, but I think it is important to keep in mind that the two functions—that is, promotion on the one hand and compliance, or overseeing compliance, on the other hand—are quite distinct functions. To a certain extent, the Welsh Assembly Government has recognised that itself in its general requirements section of Part 2. They recognise that the Government should be able to give the body directions, except in relation to how it ensures bodies comply with standards or how it protects people's freedom to use Welsh. So, there's a recognition there that, functionally, there's a difference between the promotion function and the compliance function. So, I think that the two functions need to be kept separate.
As Professor Mac Giolla Chriost has noted, there is an element of overlap in the sense that the experience that an ombudsman or somebody who is looking at compliance will have a sense of patterns of behaviour and what constitutes good practices as opposed to bad practices, and therefore can promote practices that are effective in implementing the regulatory framework. So, I think it's possible to locate the two functions but it has to be borne in mind that they are quite distinct functions and you might have to think about how the organisation is organised with quite clear lines of accountability and working set up within the organisation.
I don't know, Rònàn, if any thought has been given to this in terms of the Irish experience, especially if you move to a more standards-based approach.
I suppose it's delicate politically in Ireland in the sense that there is a north-south cross-border body, Foras na Gaeilge, that deals with the promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. So, my role then as language commissioner—even though the Official Languages Act, one of its stated aims is to promote the use of Irish in the public service—my role essentially is to investigate complaints, to offer advice to the public and advice to public bodies and to monitor the implementation of the Act. Through all those measures, you are, in my view, promoting the use of Irish anyway. So, I think, from my point of view, that's how we do our promotion work and the amount of advice we have offered public bodies has increased significantly over the past three or four years. That's probably the way that we envisage it continuing as well with the north, our body there, at the moment, to do the promotion work.
It's interesting, there have been different views within the IALC, the International Association of Language Commissioners, about this issue, about the promotion role and about the investigatory role and where should different things lie. I suppose, in Canada, the Commissioner of Official Languages—that office was established in 1968—that has an investigatory role and a promotion role and it's one commissioner that undertakes that.
Can I go on to the other area then, if we have time? That's how this impacts on the public services, but perhaps even more importantly, and I think it is clouding some of the decisions that are being made in Wales at the moment, the larger private sector bodies, particularly those that are involved in any sort of utility or monopoly-type service, and how this sort of structure will affect—how comprehensive, then, a total Welsh language policy can be, in our instance, obviously, or a language policy elsewhere. I mean, I suppose 'looser' can be more comprehensive, perhaps, can it, and cover large parts of the private sector as well—or is that a false dichotomy? Have I still not made myself clear? Sorry.
When is a right a right—? Should it extend to the private sector as well as the public sector?
Wel, weithiau, mae diffinio beth yw'r sector preifat yn gallu bod ychydig yn broblematig, ac, yn neilltuol, ym Mhrydain, o bosibl—a Chymru'n rhan o'r drefn, felly—yn yr ystyr mae rhai, mae'n amlwg, gwasanaethau a oedd ar un adeg yn wasanaethau cyhoeddus wedi cael eu preifateiddio ac mae yna resymau da iawn pam y dylai rheini fod yn rhan o drefn sydd yn gosod dyletswydd arnyn nhw i ddarparu gwasanaethau yn y Gymraeg ac yn y blaen.
Mae yna agweddau neu rannau eraill o'r sector preifat sydd yn wahanol i hynny ond sydd eto i gyd yn wasanaethau sydd yn angenrheidiol mewn gwahanol ffyrdd, fel banciau neu wahanol wasanaethau ariannol neu hyd yn oed archfarchnadoedd neu bethau felly. Mae yna resymau, rydw i'n meddwl, i ystyried ym mha ffyrdd y gall sectorau fel yna ddod yn rhan o drefn statudol, ond byddai angen edrych i mewn i hynny'n ofalus iawn oherwydd mae gosod dyletswyddau ar y sector preifat yn gost iddyn nhw. Mae e hefyd yn ffordd o hyrwyddo iaith, mae e hefyd yn ffordd o sicrhau nad yw dinasyddion yn profi annhegwch mewn gwahanol ffyrdd. Ond, eto i gyd, mae angen gofal cyn meddwl am fentro i'r meysydd hynny. Mae yna rannau eraill o'r sector preifat sydd, o bosibl, jest yn amhosibl meddwl am ymestyn dyletswyddau cyfreithiol iddyn nhw, yn enwedig o ystyried cryfder demograffig y Gymraeg yn y gwahanol rannau o Gymru i gyd. Mae'n un peth inni feddwl am sut mae deddfwriaeth ieithyddol yn cynnwys y sector breifat mewn llefydd fel Quebec neu Gatalonia, ond, wrth gwrs, mae'n rhaid cofio bod yr iaith Gatalan, er enghraifft, neu Ffrangeg, yn achos Quebec, yn ieithoedd mwyafrifol, o bell ffordd, yn y llefydd hynny. Nid dyna'r sefyllfa gyda'r Gymraeg yng Nghymru.
Well, sometimes, defining what the private sector is can be a little problematic, and in particular in Britain, possibly, and Wales being part of that, in the sense that some services, at one time, were public services and have been privatised, and there are good reasons why those should be part of a regime that places a duty on them to provide services through the medium of Welsh and so forth.
There are aspects, or parts, of the private sector that are different to that, but, yet again, are services that are necessary in different ways, such as banking or different financial services, or even supermarkets and suchlike. There are reasons, I think, to consider in what ways sectors such as those could become part of a statutory system, but there would be a need to look into that very carefully because placing a duty on the private sector is a cost to them. It also is a way of promoting a language. It's also a means of ensuring that citizens aren't discriminated against in different ways or treated unfairly, but, yet again, there is a need for care before entering into those areas. There are other parts of the private sector that, possibly, it's just impossible to think of in terms of extending legal duties to them, in particular, given the strength—the demographic strength of the Welsh language in different areas of Wales, it's one thing for us to think in terms of how legislation can include the private sector in places such as Quebec or Catalonia, but we must remember, of course, that the Catalan language, or French in the case of Quebec, are very much majority languages in those areas. That's not the situation with the Welsh language in Wales.
Unrhyw un arall? Mae'n rhaid inni gael cwestiynau ac atebion byrrach, sori. A oes unrhyw un arall â barn ar y sector preifat? Robert?
Anyone else? We need to keep questions and responses shorter, please. Does anyone have anything else, or another view on the private sector? Robert?
Just to say briefly, I mentioned this earlier, that regulation in the private sector is comparatively uncommon internationally. Professor Mac Giolla Chriost has mentioned Quebec and Catalonia as two places, which I also mentioned earlier, and I think he puts his finger on it: ultimately, it's a political question. Does the Government want to impose obligations on the private and on the voluntary sector? In Quebec, for a long time, there's been consensus—political consensus—that this was desirable, but the context, of course, is, as Professor Mac Giolla Chriost said, that the majority of the population, a large majority, is French speaking and a significant number of those French speakers are, effectively, unilingual francophones. In Catalonia, most people are bilingual in Catalan and Castilian Spanish, but, again, a significant majority speak Catalan and there's, sort of, political consensus that the regulation of the private sector is possible. Where those conditions don't exist, it's, from my perspective, wholly a political question, but the political realities make them more difficult to regulate, and Wales is, in spite of this, taking steps in that direction.
Ocê, diolch. Symud ymlaen, felly. Caroline Jones.
Okay, thank you. We will move on to Caroline Jones.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Could I ask, generally, what your views are on the Welsh Government's proposal to bring forward a Welsh language Bill, and what do you think are the risks or benefits of this and the consequences of introducing legislation now, at this moment in time?
Yn gryno iawn, rydw i'n meddwl bod yna wahanol agweddau ar y Mesur sydd yn werth eu tacluso, ac, yn hynny o beth, mae cyflwyno deddfwriaeth yn amserol. A ydy hynny'n ddigon cryno?
Very briefly, I think there are different aspects of the Measure that could be tidied up, and, in that regard, the introduction of legislation would be timely. Is that succinct enough for you?
Mae'n gryno iawn, diolch yn fawr iawn. Rónán.
It's very succinct, thank you very much. Rónán.
From an Irish point of view and an international point of view, essentially, rather than specifically the Welsh Measure—because I'm not an expert on it—it gets back to my original answer, that any changes that are made should be based on a system that has been operated for a sustained period of time and based on strong evidence. Without that, I don't think dramatic, substantial changes should be made, unless there is strong evidence to back it up over time.
I would take that same view. Care went into the preparation of the Measure; many of the same considerations that would be involved at this point are ones that people are generally familiar with, so it's just a question of when is it an appropriate time. I think it's always a good idea to review the effectiveness of legislation, but, in conducting that review, I think the two principles that the Irish language commissioner just expressed are very good ones.
My next question could I ask Rónán, if I may, please? Could you tell me, briefly, what the background was in the decision when the proposal to merge the commission and the ombudsman was not supported?
So, this was—. Briefly, in 2011, the Government of the day announced a decision to review the Official Languages Act 2003. Following that review, they announced a decision, separate to the review, without consulting initially, a plan, as part of a wider merging of Government and public independent agencies, to merge the office of the official languages commissioner with the office of the ombudsman. It was greeted with uproar—that's the only way I can describe it—in Ireland. We value the office of having one single independent language commissioner very, very highly and take that very seriously in Ireland. It culminated in a march in the street of 10,000 people—up to 10,000 people marching against it. Essentially, I think, when the Government published the initial heads of the Bill in 2014, in those heads they said they were withdrawing the proposal to amalgamate the two offices, based, essentially, on the dissatisfaction expressed by the public, and also there were no savings identified as part of the move either. But the idea of—. Language is such a delicate issue, and people had spent generations fighting language cases in the courts. They've fought tooth and nail to get an independent language commissioner's office, and the thought that a Government of the day would attempt to take that off them by any measure, by amalgamating it and devolving functions back, or whatever measure, was not acceptable to them at all.
So, with such a passionate public response, was this why you said it would be a retrograde step to do away with, to abolish, the commissioner's role?
Absolutely, yes. I mentioned earlier about different views within the international community about promotion and regulation and whether they go hand in hand. Despite that, what was quite clear from all members of the International Association of Language Commissioners, all 11 commissioners and ombudsmen—the strong view from all of them was that one single independent language commissioner is what's needed, that it offers a focal point for people and it has been shown to be cost effective and a success generally, worldwide.
A ydy'r tystion eraill yn cytuno â'r hyn a oedd wedi digwydd, neu a oes gyda chi barn wahanol?
Do the other witnesses agree with what happened, or do you have a different view?
Mae cymharu â gwledydd eraill wastad yn ddiddorol. Mae angen bod yn ofalus hefyd, bob tro, achos mae cyd-destun gwleidyddol, ieithyddol—ac yn y blaen, ac yn y blaen—gwahanol lefydd yn wahanol iawn, iawn. O ran yr hyn y mae'r Llywodraeth yn ei gynnig yng Nghymru, mae yna wendidau gyda'r Mesur, ac rydw i'n meddwl bod gwahanol wendidau sydd erbyn hyn yn ddigon amlwg, ac, yn hynny o beth, mae'n werth symud at drwsio'r gwendidau hynny. Nid yw aros rhagor o amser yn mynd i wneud y gwendidau yna fod yn well, ond, yn hytrach, mae'n bosibl y bydd y gwendidau yn mynd yn fwyfwy poenus i ni i gyd. Felly, yn hynny o beth, os nad yw'r peth yn gweitiho mewn gwahanol ffyrdd, yna mae angen trwsio hynny.
Mae yna resymau da iawn hefyd ynglŷn â chreu comisiwn yn y ffordd y mae'r Llywodraeth am wneud hynny—hynny yw, cost-effeitholrwydd. Mi fyddai yna ddadl digon rhesymol dros gadw Comisiynydd y Gymraeg ac yna greu corff arall newydd er mwyn hybu'r Gymraeg, ond wrth gwrs mi fyddai hynny yn fwy costus na jest creu un corff a allai wneud y ddau beth ar yr un pryd, nid yn annhebyg i fwrdd yr iaith Gymraeg cynt, ond nid ydym ni yn sôn, nid wyf yn meddwl, am ail-greu bwrdd yr iaith Gymraeg. Dylai fod yna wahaniaethau sylfaenol iawn rhwng y comisiwn arfaethedig yma a bwrdd yr iaith Gymraeg, ac yn neilltuol o ran sicrhau atebolrwydd democrataidd i'r corff newydd ac yn y blaen.
So, yn hynny o beth, mae yna resymau da iawn dros wneud beth mae'r Llywodraeth yn cynnig ei wneud, ac mae yna resymau da iawn dros wneud hynny nawr.
Making comparisons with other nations is always interesting, but you also need to be careful too, because the political, linguistic—and so on—context is different in the various different countries, of course. In terms of what the Government is proposing in Wales, then there are weaknesses within the Measure, and I do think that the various weaknesses within the Measure have now become sufficiently apparent, and therefore it is worth moving to put those right. Waiting longer isn't going to improve the situation in terms of those weaknesses within the Measure, but it's likely that those weaknesses will become far more apparent and painful for us all. So, in that regard, if it isn't working in various different ways then you need to put that right.
There are also very good reasons for the creation of a commission in the way in which the Government is suggesting, and that is an issue of cost-efficiency. Now, you could argue for the retention of the Welsh Language Commissioner and the creation of a new body to promote the Welsh language, but that would be more expensive than creating one body that can do both things simultaneously, not unlike the former Welsh language board, but I don't think that we are talking about re-establishing the Welsh language board. There should be some very fundamental differences between the proposed commission and the Welsh language board as was in terms of securing democratic accountability for the new body and so on and so forth.
So, in that regard, there are very good reasons for doing what the Government is proposing, and there are very good reasons for doing so now.
Ocê. Jest cwestiwn olaf, felly, gan Mick Antoniw.
Okay. Just a final question, then, from Mick Antoniw.
Just very quickly on that, there's a little bit of confusion in terms of roles. You've got Government involved, you've got the commission involved, and you're possibly talking about the role of a commissioner as well. The one area that seems to be agreed is that everyone seems to agree that the commissioner has to be independent, but independent of what? Clearly, a commissioner has to be accountable. Is it the collective view that the accountability should be to the parliamentary body rather than to Government?
'Yes', I think is the answer to that question in general. The commissioner in Ireland is appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Government and voted by the Parliament. Everyone has to be accountable. There's no question of not having governance structures in place and not being accountable. In our instance, we have our audit committee. We're before Government committees at least three or four times a year, we have the Comptroller and Auditor General auditing accounts. That's not the issue, the governance and the—. That isn't the issue. The issue is that there's one language commissioner that is viewed by a public who are very often having to fight for their language rights against the state—that they have a view that at least there's one person there, there's one office there, that is independent of Government, that is not told by Government what strategies they must do, that is not told by Government, 'You must do this and you must do that', that, at the very least, when they're trying their best to speak a language that is under pressure, the very least they can have is one language commissioner that is independent and that doesn't report to Government, that doesn't have the eye of big brother watching over them, and that reports to Parliament and that is appointed by the head of state.
There are four or five different functions in relation to regulation more generally. First of all there's setting the regulatory framework, there's overseeing compliance, there's promotion of various sorts, and then another area that has emerged and is becoming quite important, I think, in the Welsh context is overseeing the effectiveness of policy more generally, and policy making and so forth. So, there are at least four different functions, but I tend to agree with the Irish language commissioner. The question of compliance is of absolute importance. Once the regulatory framework is set, it has to be capable of being enforced and overseen, otherwise a frustration emerges amongst speakers, frustration emerges amongst the regulated bodies, because they're unclear as to what their duties are and what the consequences are. That's an element of accountability as well. And therefore I think it's very important that, in terms of accountability for this oversight and compliance function, there be accountability to the elected Assembly as a whole. They, ultimately, are the custodians of the public interest, as it were.