A DISCUSSION on setting up an internal panel to promote the Welsh Language at Powys County Council (PCC) will take place next week.

At a meeting of the Democratic Services committee on Monday, October 19, setting up the panel is one of a number of tweaks to the council’s constitution which will be in front of councillors.

The panel’s purpose would be to make sure that the Welsh language is central to PCC’s plans and strategies, as well as promoting it’s use as part of a long term campaign to increase the number of speakers.

There would also be an aspect of oversight by checking that council services work according to the legal requirements of the Welsh Language Standards.

In July the 2019/20 annual Welsh Standards report was approved at a meeting of the full council, but had contained some criticism from Welsh language commissioner, Aled Roberts.

Assurances were given that work  to improve the council’s use of the language is being done.

The report to the committee says: “Although there are several partnership forums that the council is part of which discuss the Welsh language, there isn’t an internal forum to discuss these aspects specifically within PCC.

“It is proposed that a new panel is established, under the Democratic Services committee’s structure, and report to that committee, to look at the council’s services and plans within a Welsh language context.”

If approved, the panel would meet every quarter and would be held in Welsh, with simultaneous translation provided for non-Welsh speaking councillors and officers.

The panel would be made up of the Chairman of the Democratic Services committee, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan (Glantwymyn – Plaid Cymru)  portfolio holder for Welsh, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander (Banw – Independent), and they will be joined by a councillor from each political group.

If the committee vote in favour of creating the panel, that recommendation would then go before a future full council meeting for an ultimate decision.

Like all other government and public bodies in Wales, PCC is required to comply with the Welsh Language Standards, introduced under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

This gave the language an equal legal status with English.

It is supposed to make it easier for people to use Welsh in their day to day lives.