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Council plans to increase use of Welsh in social services

Created on 29/11/2019 @ 12:19
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Newtown's Powys county councillors are today having the chance to look at how Adult Social Services will be trying to increase its use of Welsh when dealing with Welsh speaking residents.

Powys County Council’s (PCC) health and care scrutiny committee is scrutinising the ‘Active Offer’ in Powys at a meeting today.

Adult Social Services head of commissioning, Dylan Owen, said: “There are a number of legal requirement for social services to provide services according to linguistic needs in Wales.

“Communication is at the core of the needs assessments and social care provision. Client centred work is not possible without effective communication with the individual.”

Mr Owen, explains that 18.9 per cent of the population in Powys identify themselves as Welsh speakers and this percentage varies from east to west.
Presteign and Knighton on the border with England have only nine per cent Welsh speakers.

While Machynlleth, which borders the county of Gwynedd which has the highest number of Welsh speakers in Wales, has 54 per cent saying they speak Welsh.

Mr Owen continued: “An active offer simply means providing a service in Welsh without someone having to ask for it.

“It means creating a change in cultures that takes the responsibility away from the individual and places it on service providers.”
This means that staff at public bodies need to stop “making the assumption” that all Welsh speakers speak English.

Mr Owen explains in his report that there are three essential points that need to be address for the  Active Offer to be effectively implemented by social services.

These are:
Discover and record service users’ first language and other languages spoken.
Discover and record staff’s linguistic skills in Welsh.
Allocate Welsh speaking staff to work with Welsh speaking service users.

In order to make the “Active Offer”  work, changes to recruiting staff are being developed which will see a language assessment made.

This will check whether a job needs a language skill requirement.
Adult social services will also look at the best practice in this area of work.

According to the report the number of Welsh speaking social care clients per Welsh speaking workers is:
May 36 – 9
June 33 -9
July 39 – 11
August – 38 – 11
September 36 – 10
October 37 – 10
November 35 – 9


By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service




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