Official Languages and Recruitment

Published 01/08/2020   |   Last Updated 15/02/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

The Official Languages Scheme was formally adopted on 12 July 2017.

As well as outlining the service standards that we already deliver, the Scheme has five themes: recruitment; language skills; language planning; Senedd proceedings; and developing the bilingual ethos of the organisation.

As part of theme one, the Scheme sets out steps we will take to amend our method of recruitment and selection in order to increase the level of basic Welsh skills across the organisation.

From now on, all new posts, and posts that become vacant on a temporary or permanent basis will be advertised with courtesy level Welsh as a minimum skills level unless a higher level of skills (levels 1 – 5) is identified. Candidates will be assessed as part of the interview process, and those who do not achieve the required standard will need to commit to gaining the skills as part of the probation period. This is effective from 16 July 2018. This will replace the Welsh Essential and Welsh Desirable descriptors.

These arrangements apply to staff employed by the Senedd Commission including those who take up temporary appointments such as apprenticeships, internships or secondments with us. It does not apply to Members of the Senedd and their staff, or to our contractors or appointments such as committee expert advisors or independent advisors.

Courtesy Level Welsh

If this is the level set for the post you are applying for, the description is as follows:

  • To pronounce Welsh names, answer the telephone, greet people or make introductions bilingually;
  • To understand and use proactively familiar, everyday, expressions; and
  • To understand very short texts where people are giving basic information about themselves or others in correspondence, on forms or to interpret content using the technology available.

    Each candidate will be assessed as part of the assessment and interview stage.

There are two parts to the assessment:

Part 1: Pronunciation.

This part relates to oral communication. The emphasis is on pronouncing words and names correctly and using and responding to common phrases (e.g. bore da, prynhawn da; pwy wyt ti?; XX ydw i; sut wyt ti? da iawn diolch; wedi blino etc)

Part 2: Courtesy

This part relates to written communication. The emphasis will be on using information and guidance that is available bilingually to understand or draft Welsh text (e.g. out of office messages or interpreting expenses forms), and also how to deal with written text that you are unable to understand in a courteous and effective manner using the services and technology available to Commission staff.

We have developed a number of resources to help you understand the assessment process. You are not required to prepare for the assessment, but the resources will help you to do so if you wish.


The Welsh Alphabet

Greetings and Responses

Linguistic Courtesy

Senedd Terminology

If you are the successful candidate, but you have not achieved the required courtesy level Welsh skills level during the assessment, you will need to commit to receiving training from the Language Skills Team during your probation period in order to gain those skills.

Language skills levels 1 – 5

In addition to courtesy level Welsh, we will also use a language skills matrix that defines Welsh language skills levels (1-5) in four areas: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The levels will be used to replace the previous Welsh Essential and Welsh Desirable descriptors. The aim is to make it easier for applicants to understand exactly what we expect of them in terms of their Welsh language skills.   

The language skills matrix is a grid containing descriptions of Welsh language skills levels graded from 1 to 5 in four areas, namely Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The descriptions will from part of the job description for any post requiring skills levels higher than courtesy level Welsh.

Language skills will be assessed either during the interview, or as part of any other assessments at the interview stage.

Further information

You can read more about recruitment and Welsh language skills in our Frequently Asked Questions document.