Vacancy -- Appointment of Welsh Language Commissioner
The post will attract a salary of circa £95,000. The salary is subject to tax and national insurance and is pensionable.
Function of body
The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 (“the Measure”) confirmed the official status of the Welsh language in Wales, created a new regulatory system of Welsh language standards, and created the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner (“the Commissioner”). The appointment of the Commissioner is made by the First Minister.
The term of office of the Commissioner is 7 years and is non-renewable. The term of office of the current Commissioner expires on 31 March 2019. The Welsh Government wishes to appoint a new Commissioner in the Autumn in order to ensure sufficient time for a successful transition.
The Commissioner will have an office of approximately 45 members of staff to ensure that its functions are delivered.
Context of the appointment
In 2017, the Welsh Government published an ambitious, long term strategy for the Welsh language, Cymraeg 2050. The strategy sets out its ambition to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050, and the kinds of interventions and actions the Welsh Government and other bodies need to take to achieve this ambition. As a result, it is clear that the right balance must be struck between achieving a growth in the number of Welsh speakers and regulation. The ambition is far-reaching and discipline will need to be exercised to ensure that resources and public funding are spent to best effect.
The Welsh Government’s strategy, Cymraeg 2050, can be found here:
The Welsh Government has announced an intention to bring forward legislation relating to the Welsh language. In 2017, it consulted on a White Paper, Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh Language Bill. The White Paper contained the Government’s proposals to replace the office of the Commissioner with a Welsh Language Commission (“the Commission”). It is intended that the Commission will have a broader remit and greater resources than is the case for the current office of Commissioner, and that the majority of the Welsh Government’s resources relating to promoting and facilitating the use of the language will transfer to the Commission. The aim is to move towards a Commission whose main focus will be to grow the number of Welsh speakers and the use of the Welsh language in all aspects of our public and private lives.
The White Paper, Striking the right balance, can be found here:
The analysis of consultation responses can be found here:
If a new Welsh Language Bill is approved and enacted by the National Assembly for Wales, it is not envisage that the new Commission would be established before 2021/2022. Therefore, it is expected that the Commissioner appointed under this procedure will have a crucial role to play in helping to shape the plans for establishing the new body and in managing the transition between the existing and future arrangements, whilst maintaining the day-to-day business. The current Welsh Language Measure gives the Commissioner powers to promote and facilitate the use of the language and an early shift is expected to support the ambitions of Cymraeg 2050, working in partnership with the Welsh Government.
The Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning made a Statement to Assembly Members in the National Assembly for Wales on 5 June 2018. The statement confirmed that the Government will not be introducing more standards for other sectors for the time being and clarified the Government’s vision for a new Welsh Language Commission. The full statement can be found here:
Key areas of responsibility:
(i) To promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language
(ii) To work towards ensuring that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language and that persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so
(iii) To encourage best practice and to offer assistance to bodies in relation to mainstreaming the Welsh language in policy development, with the aim of increasing the use of Welsh and increasing opportunities for persons to use the language. This will involve working
closely with the public, private and third sectors
(iv) To be responsible for regulating the Welsh Language standards system. 120 bodies are or will shortly be required to comply with standards. This work includes:
- monitoring the performance of bodies in accordance with the duties imposed on them and keep under review compliance notices, varying and revoking them as appropriate
- issue codes of practice for the purpose of providing practical guidance to bodies with respect to the requirements of standards
- deal with applications for the Commissioner to determine whether the requirement to comply with the relevant standards is unreasonable or disproportionate
- maintain a clear procedure for the investigation of complaints about non-compliance with standards
- publish decision notices following investigations into complaints of non-compliance with relevant standards, enforcing agreed action plans or civil penalties
- deal with complainants, service providers, the Welsh Language Tribunal and any other parties involved in any appeals procedure
- carry out standards investigations when necessary to determine what Welsh language standards, if any, should be imposed on persons or categories of persons and to report to Welsh Ministers on the outcome of those investigations
- create and maintain a register of enforcement action detailing all investigations, outcomes and any appeals to the Welsh Language Tribunal
(v) Following an application by an individual, to investigate cases where there is an alleged attempt to interfere with the freedom of Welsh speakers to use the language with one another
(vi) To keep under review the adequacy and effectiveness of the law relating to the Welsh language and to advise Welsh Ministers on any changes that may be required
(vii) To work collaboratively with the Public Services Ombudsman Wales and other ombudsmen and commissioners as appropriate
(viii) To contribute to the process of appointing an Advisory Panel and to consult with the Panel in exercising his or her duties
(ix) To produce a report every five years focusing on the position of the Welsh language over that period. A copy of the report must be laid before the National Assembly for Wales
(x) To produce an annual report including, amongst other matters, a summary of the action taken in the exercise of the Commissioner’s functions and his/her proposals for a work programme for the following year. A copy of the annual report must be laid before the National Assembly for Wales
(xi) To conduct and commission research into the Welsh language
(xii) To play an active role in the international network of language commissioners, and to share best practice and implement best practice from other countries where appropriate
(xiii) To make recommendations or representations, or give advice, to any person including the Welsh Ministers in connection with any of his or her functions.
(xiv) To lead and manage the Office of the Welsh Language Commissioner (which is expected to comprises around 45 staff) and appoint a Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner
(xv) To act as Accounting Officer and be responsible for ensuring the efficient financial management of the Commissioner’s Office and preparing accounts of expenditure and estimates of income and expenses as required. The Commissioner will be responsible for an annual budget of around £3million
(xvi) To create and maintain a register of interests of each relevant office holder.
Welsh language skills
The person we are looking for will be able to demonstrate the following key skills and knowledge:
- Proven leadership qualities.
- Experience of organisational design and development, and managing complex change within an organisation.
- Knowledge of Welsh language policy issues; an understanding of the issues facing Welsh speakers and learners; and a commitment to promoting and facilitating the use of Welsh.
- Excellent interpersonal skills in Welsh and English and the ability to work effectively through the medium of Welsh in all kinds of situations including working with a wide range of people such as Ministers, senior representatives of both private and public bodies, members of the public and the media.
- Credibility at a level which will command the confidence and respect of the Welsh Government, Assembly Members, local government, public, private and third sector organisations and the public.
- Proven ability to work effectively in partnership with stakeholders and external bodies to resolve difficult issues satisfactorily.
- Strong financial and people management and governance experience.
- A clear understanding and commitment to equality issues and to Nolan’s ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’.
- Welsh language skills are essential.
- Tenure of office
The appointment will be for a seven year, non-renewable term which will commence on 1 April 2019 (however, note the context of the appointment above which notes the possible impact of new legislation).
It would be expected that the successful candidate commences in January 2019 to allow for a successful transition. However, the successful candidate will not posses the Commissioner’s powers or functions until 1 April 2019.
- Time Commitment
37 hours per week
If the successful candidate falls within any of the categories below, he/she will be required to relinquish their position before being appointed as Welsh Language Commissioner:
- a Member of Parliament;
- a Member of the National Assembly for Wales;
- a member of a county council, a county borough council or a community council in Wales;
- a member of the Welsh Language Tribunal;
- a member of the Advisory Panel to the Commissioner;
- a person who is employed by, or advises, a person who is within Schedule 5 or Schedule 7 to the Measure. For further details, please refer to the Measure which can be accessed online: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/mwa/2011/1/contents/enacted
- a member of the Commissioner’s staff.
Applicants are required to declare whether they are aware of anything in their private or professional life that would be an embarrassment to themselves; to the Office of the Welsh Language Commissioner or to the Welsh Government if it became known in the event of appointment.
- Conflict of Interests
You will be asked to declare any private interests which may, or may be perceived to, conflict with the role and responsibilities as Welsh Language Commissioner, including any business interests and positions of authority outside of the role of Commissioner.
Any conflicts of interest will be explored at interview. If appointed, you will also be required to declare these interests on a register which is available to the public.
- Standards in public life
You will be expected to demonstrate high standards of corporate and personal conduct. All successful candidates will be asked to subscribe to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, you can access this document at:
For further information regarding the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner please contact Alan Jones on:
Tel: 03000 256333
If you need any further assistance in applying for this role, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about Public Appointments in Wales, please visit www.gov.wales/publicappointments
How to apply
To apply for this role, click on the ‘Apply’ button below. The first time you apply for a post, you will need to complete a registration form for the Welsh Government’s online application system. You will only need to register once, and you will be able to keep yourself updated on the progress of your application, and any other applications you make, via your registered account.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to access the application form. To apply you will need to submit two supporting documents. The first, a document outlining how your knowledge, skills and experiences meet the criteria for the role as outlined in the information for candidates. This document should be no more than 2 sides of A4. Your application may be rejected if you exceed this limit. The second document is a full, up to date CV. The two documents should be uploaded to the ‘Reasons for applying’ section of the online application form.
In your application, you will also be asked to provide details of any activities which have helped you to develop skills that would be useful in a public appointment role, and list the organisations for which you undertook these activities. We also need to know about any political activity that you’ve undertaken over the last 5 years.
It is recommended that you register for an account and access the application form as soon as possible so that you see how the application form is structured, before starting to prepare your evidence. You don’t have to complete the application form all in one go. You can save your responses, and log in and out as required, until you’re ready to submit – just follow the guidance in the application form.
If you’d like to apply for this opportunity in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.
If you need any further assistance in applying for this role, please contact the Welsh Government’s Public Appointments Unit on 03000 616095 or PublicAppointments@gov.wales.
This vacancy is closed to applications.