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Welsh language scheme

Our Welsh language scheme covers the services that we provide to the public in Wales.

Introduction

Under the Welsh Language Act 1993 every public body providing services to the public in Wales had to prepare a scheme setting out how it will provide those services in Welsh. With the enactment of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 eventually schemes will be replaced by standards.

This is our scheme.

It describes how we will give effect, so far as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable, to the principle established by the Welsh Language Act (and reinforced by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011) that, in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice in Wales the Welsh language will be treated no less favourably than the English language. The scheme covers the services that we provide to the public in Wales.

In this scheme, the term public means individuals, legal persons and corporate bodies. It includes the public as a whole, or a section of the public, as well as individual members of the public. The term includes voluntary organisations and charities. Directors and others representing limited companies are also within the meaning of the term ‘public’. It does not, however, include persons who are acting in a capacity which is representative of the Crown, Government or the State. Consequently, persons who fulfil official functions of a public nature, even though they are legal persons, do not come within the meaning of the word public when they are fulfilling those official functions.

Our primary communications used to be targeted at pension industry specialists who are responsible for work-based pension scheme administration, and therefore fell outside the wider definition of public in this scheme. However since the enactment of the Pensions Act 2008 and the introduction of auto enrolment our contact with the public will increase.

Further information about the scope and purpose of Welsh language schemes can be found on the Welsh Language Commissioner’s website.

This scheme was originally prepared under Section 21 of the Act - and in accordance with guidelines issued by the Welsh Language Board under Section 9 of the Act. The duty formally came into effect on 13 October 2008. The Welsh Language Board was superseded by the Welsh Language Commissioner in 2012. This scheme received the approval of the Welsh Language Commissioner on 3 September 2013.

Background to the organisation

The Pensions Regulator is the UK regulator of work-based pension schemes. The Pensions Act 2004 and Pensions Act 2008 gives the Pensions Regulator a set of specific objectives.

In order to meet these objectives, we concentrate our resources on schemes where we identify the greatest risk to the security of members' benefits. We will also promote high standards of scheme administration, and work to ensure that those involved in running pension schemes have the necessary skills and knowledge.

Our main audiences are those involved in the running of work-based pension schemes. These include pension scheme trustees and their professional advisers and scheme administrators. The primary focus of our work does not include the general public across the UK, including Wales. However under the Pensions Act 2008 our new audience includes employers in the UK. For more information about our work see about us.

The Pensions Regulator’s offices are located in Brighton, East Sussex. See contact us for our full contact details.

Service planning and delivery

Policies, legislation, services and initiatives

Our policies, initiatives and services will be consistent with this scheme. They will support the use of Welsh and, whenever possible, will help the public in Wales to use Welsh as part of their day to day lives.

Whenever relevant, our consultation documents will discuss the relationship between the Welsh language and the policies, initiatives and services under development.

When we contribute to the development or delivery of policies, initiatives, services or new legislation led by other organisations, we will do so in a way which is consistent with this scheme.

Delivering services

We will ensure that relevant services are available in Welsh.

Standards of quality

Services provided in Welsh and English will be of equal quality and will be provided within the same timescale where practical.

Dealing with the Welsh speaking public

Correspondence

Our normal practice will be as follows:

When someone writes to us in Welsh we will issue a reply in Welsh (if a reply is required). Our target time for replying will be 10 working days for general correspondence and 15 working days for technical enquiries.

When we initiate correspondence with an individual, group or organisation, we will do so in Welsh when we know that they would prefer to correspond in Welsh. When initiating correspondence with an individual, group or organisation with a Welsh postcode, and we do not know the preference, we will initiate correspondence bilingually.

If the Welsh and English versions of any correspondence have to be published separately, our normal practice will be to ensure that both versions are available at the same time.

Enclosures sent with bilingual letters will be bilingual, when available.

Enclosures sent with Welsh letters will be Welsh or bilingual, when available.

All hard copy correspondence, whether in English and/or Welsh, will be signed.

Telephone communications

Because of our location it would not be practicable for us to conduct telephone conversations in Welsh. However, if we set up telephone help-lines, or similar facilities, to give information, services or support to the public in Wales we will provide a Welsh language service. This will be advertised alongside the English language service. Both services will share the same telephone number.

Our public face

Publications

We will publish material made available to the public in Wales bilingually, subject to the scoring system provided by the Commissioner, with the Welsh and English versions together in one document.

If the Welsh and English versions have to be published separately (for instance, where a single document would be too lengthy or bulky), both versions will be of equal size and quality - and our normal practice will be to ensure that both versions are available at the same time and are equally accessible. Each version will note clearly that the material is available in the other language.

If not available free of charge, the price of a bilingual document will not be greater than that of a single language publication - and the price of separate, Welsh and English versions will be the same.

The above will also apply to material made available electronically on our website, on CD Rom or otherwise.

Websites

Our website will include pages in both Welsh and English. We will provide Welsh versions of the interactive pages on our website, subject to the scoring system.

When designing new websites, or redeveloping our existing websites, we will take into account the Welsh Language Commissioner’s ‘Technology, websites and software: Welsh language considerations’ guide.

Whenever we post English language publications on our websites, the Welsh versions will be posted at the same time, if available.

Forms and associated explanatory material

We will ensure that all forms for use by the public in Wales will be fully bilingual, subject to the scoring system, with the Welsh and English versions together in one document, where practical. This will include interactive forms published on our websites. Associated explanatory material will be fully bilingual subject to the scoring system for publications.

If the Welsh and English versions have to be published separately (for instance, where a single document would be too lengthy or bulky), both versions will be of equal size and quality - and we will ensure that both versions are available at the same time and are equally accessible. Each version will note clearly that the material is available in the other language.

When we enter information on Welsh versions of forms that are sent to the public, we will do so in Welsh.

When we enter information on bilingual forms that are sent to the public we will do so bilingually unless we know that the recipients would prefer to receive the information in Welsh or English only.

When other organisations distribute forms on our behalf, we will ensure that they do so in accordance with the above.

Official notices, public notices and staff recruitment notices

Official notices, public notices and staff recruitment notices placed in English language newspapers (or similar media) distributed mainly or wholly in Wales, will be bilingual, or appear as separate Welsh and English versions. Notices will be in Welsh in Welsh language publications.

The Welsh and English versions will be equal in terms of format, size, quality and prominence – whether produced as a single bilingual version, or as separate Welsh and English notices.

In the English language media, posts where the ability to speak Welsh is essential may be advertised in Welsh, with a brief description in English.

Recruitment notices placed in English language journals (and other publications) with a UK-wide distribution may be in English, unless the post is one where the ability to speak Welsh is essential, in which case the notice may be fully bilingual, or in Welsh with a brief explanation in English.

Any official notices, public notices or staff recruitment notices placed elsewhere in Wales will be bilingual.

Press releases and contact with the media

Press releases to the Welsh language press and broadcasting media in Wales will be issued in Welsh where deadlines permit.

Where we have issued a press release in Welsh to Welsh language media we will also publish it in Welsh on our website.

Implementing the scheme

Staffing

We have no offices in Wales. Even so, we will seek information about the Welsh language skills of job applicants and existing staff. This is discussed under Recruitment, below.

Recruitment

For any posts having extensive and regular contact with the public in Wales we will consider whether fluency in Welsh should be a desirable or essential skill – and this will be stated in job competencies and advertisements.

Information and communications technology

The need to provide information and services in Welsh, in accordance with this scheme, will be catered for as we develop, design and purchase information and communications technology products and services.

We will modify our existing approach to ensure that we can provide information and services in Welsh - and operate in accordance with this scheme.

As we develop or procure ICT systems we will take into account the Welsh Language Commissioner’s ‘Technology, websites and software: Welsh language considerations’ guide.

Internal arrangements

The measures in this scheme carry the full authority, support and approval of our organisation.

Operating in accordance with the scheme will be a compliance issue.

Managers have the responsibility of implementing those aspects of the scheme relevant to their work.

We have appointed a senior member of staff to coordinate the work required to deliver, monitor and review this scheme.

We have, and continuously update, a detailed annual report, setting out how we ensure that we operate in accordance with this scheme. The action plan includes targets, deadlines and a report on progress against each target. The overall aim of the report is to ensure that we deliver the commitments set out in this scheme as soon as possible. The report is submitted to the Commissioner as directed and their report is published on their website.

The scheme is publicised to our staff via our intranet and staff induction programme, and to the public in Wales. It is published on our website. Our staff are briefed and trained to increase awareness of this scheme, explaining how it will affect their day to day work.

We will ensure that we use only qualified translators or interpreters for translation of electronic and printed material – and for simultaneous translation. We will expect those translators to be members of the Association of Welsh Translators or a similar organisation.

Any form of contact with the public in Wales, which is not specifically dealt with by this scheme, will be undertaken in a manner which is consistent with the general principles enshrined in this scheme.

Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations

When we release information under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations, we will translate it into the applicant’s preferred language where reasonably practical. If the Regulator decides that it is not able to provide the information in that format then it will write to the applicant and give its reasons.

Monitoring

We monitor our progress in delivering this scheme against the targets set out in its accompanying action plan. We report to our senior management on that progress.

Our existing monitoring and reporting procedures include reference to progress in delivering this scheme, as appropriate.

We report to the Welsh Language Commissioner on our progress in delivering this scheme, annually.

Our goal is to ensure that we continue to act in accordance with the aims and objectives of this scheme.

Reviewing and amending the scheme

From time to time, we may need to review this scheme, or propose amendments to this scheme, because of changes to our functions, or to the circumstances in which we undertake those functions, or for any other reason.

No changes will be made to this scheme without the Welsh Language Commissioner’s approval.

Complaints and suggestions for improvement

Complaints related to this scheme, or suggestions for improvement, should be directed to the senior member of staff with responsibility for the scheme, using these contact details.

We will cooperate with the Commissioner in order to resolve complaints - and during any investigations held under Section 17 of the Welsh Language Act.

Appendix 1 – Annual monitoring report 2018

Action required  Target date  Person responsible Progress to date

Actions carried forward from the previous scheme

1. Policies, legislation and initiatives

a) Consider, periodically, the relationship between the organisation and the language, in order to assess the organisation’s ability to promote and facilitate the use of Welsh in general.
Ongoing  Director of communications Considered annually as part of operational planning process.
Completed for 2017/18
2. Publications, forms and circulars
a) Review all relevant sections of the website are available in Welsh (publications, forms, leaflets etc). Ongoing  Web content manager
Regular review agreed to be at least annually.
Completed for 2017/18 
3. Telephone communications
a) Number of reported requests for Welsh language conversations through Language Line. Ongoing  AE communications director Language Line received 10 requests for Welsh language conversations.
Completed for 2017/18
4. Complaints
a) Number of complaints received about lack of Welsh
language service provision in previous year and steps taken to resolve complaints.
Ongoing  Lead adviser complaints and information disclosure
 
We haven’t received any complaints during this reporting period.
Completed for 2017/18
5. Publication and internal cascade
a) Publish scheme to website.
Within 2 weeks of approval
Web content manager
Complete 
b) Hold ‘Introduction to the 2012 Welsh language scheme and what it means for your areas’ workshop for team leaders.  Within 1 month of approval Scheme review manager and Lawyer
Complete
6. Path to employer audience operationalisation 
a) Communicate scheme to relevant teams. 2013  Scheme review manager  Complete
b) Deadline for impact assessment response – including delivery timetable. 2013  Head of marketing operations (automatic enrolment) Complete 
c) Add delivery timetable to action plan and review at each milestone.  2013  Scheme owner  Complete
d) Number of individuals or organisations who have requested correspondence in Welsh.
Ongoing Scheme owner
We haven’t received any additional Welsh translation requests during this reporting period.
Completed for 2017/18