Assembly Commission introduces new Bill to affirm its commitment to bilingual services

Published 30/01/2012   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Assembly Commission introduces new Bill to affirm its commitment to bilingual services

30 January 2012

The National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Bill has been introduced today (Monday 30 January) by the Assembly Commission.

The first Assembly Bill to be introduced by the Commission will place a statutory duty on the National Assembly and the Assembly Commission in relation to the provision of bilingual services. Those services are outlined in the Commission’s draft Official Languages Scheme also published today.

Both the Bill and the draft Official Languages Scheme take account of comments received as part of a three-month pre-legislative public consultation.

“The Official Languages Bill and draft scheme cements the Assembly Commission’s commitment to bilingualism,” said Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, Commissioner with responsibility for the Welsh language.

“The Official Languages scheme demonstrates an innovative and pragmatic approach to the use of new technologies in this area.

“The proposed model for producing a fully bilingual record of plenary proceedings for example, will use machine translation in conjunction with highly-skilled translators. This model will enable us to contribute quality-assured text into the system thereby enhancing its memory, which by default improves a service that can also be used by other organisations.

The enhanced provision of bilingual services to be delivered for the Fourth Assembly is outlined in the draft Official Languages Scheme. It:

  • states clearly that Welsh and English are the official languages of the Assembly and should be treated equally;

  • outlines the practical arrangements to enable the Assembly to operate bilingually;

  • guarantees the right of anyone who takes part in Assembly proceedings (witnesses and officials as well as Members) to do so in either of the Assembly’s official languages;

  • outlines how the Assembly will provide bilingual services to the public;

  • outlines how the Assembly’s corporate arrangements enable and support its ambitions to deliver bilingual services; and

  • explains the Assembly’s procedure for dealing with complaints of non-compliance with the scheme, whether made by Members or by the public.