Council Sparks Complaint over Language Policy; NEWS IN BRIEF

Article excerpt

MERTHYR Tydfil council faces an official inquiry by the Public Services Ombudsman after launching an English-only website.

In a letter to the watchdog, members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society) have accused the local authority of consistent and severe breaches of its legally-binding language scheme.

According to the campaigners, council officers freely admitted in a recent meeting that the scheme is being breached regularly, with forms, telephone messages and official communications often ignoring commitments to bilingualism.

It has also emerged that the council is failing to report all written complaints about breaches of its scheme to councillors or the Welsh Language Board, claiming they don't count as corporate complaints.

Jamie Bevan, a member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg who lives in Merthyr, wrote the complaint to the Ombudsman. He said: "We have heard promises for years that things are going to improve in the council in terms of the Welsh language. But even the council admits it's meeting hardly any of its language scheme. …