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Mrs X complained about poor communications that the Council had with local residents. Mrs X said that it posted some notices in Welsh only and she was aggrieved that this excluded her from becoming involved with the Council as she does not speak Welsh. She said that, when the Council posted agendas in Welsh only, non-Welsh speakers were being disadvantaged because they did not know what would be discussed at those meetings.
Mrs X considered that the Council’s meetings being held solely through the medium of Welsh also excluded her, because she would not understand what was being discussed. She felt that the way that the Council conducted its business detrimentally affected her ability to properly take part in local democracy.
Mrs X considered that the Council should ensure that all of its notices and meetings should be bilingual so that everyone could be involved and made to feel that their views and concerns were equally valid.
Whilst I fully accept and support the principle that the Council has a right to conduct its business through the medium of Welsh, I found that by posting agendas in Welsh only the Council had failed to make adequate written bilingual provision for Mrs X as a person who understands English, but not Welsh. That amounted to maladministration which caused Mrs X to suffer an injustice. I therefore upheld Mrs X’s complaint. I recommended that:
(a) The Council apologise to Mrs X in writing for failing to make adequate written bilingual provision for her.
(b) The Council undertake to publish all agendas bilingually and to make other documents available bilingually (including meeting minutes if they were not already available bilingually) where reasonably practicable to do so.
The Council did not accept the findings of the report and refused to implement the recommendations made.
I had also recommended in an earlier draft of this report that the Council should make a payment of £100 to Mrs X in recognition of the time and trouble she had expended pursuing her complaint. Mrs X, having seen the draft, said that she was disinclined to accept the money. I therefore did not ask the Council to make such a payment to Mrs X, although I considered it would be merited.
A full copy of the report is available below.