William Eichler 24 November 2015

Welsh council dubbed ‘intransigent’ by ombudsman

Welsh council dubbed ‘intransigent’ by ombudsman image

An ombudsman has characterised a Welsh community council as ‘intransigent’ for refusing to cooperate with his investigation into language provision.

The investigation was opened when a Mrs X made an official complaint regarding Cynwyd Community Council‘s exclusive use of Welsh in communicating with the public.

The council was conducting all meetings in Welsh, as well as posting some of its notices in Welsh only, which prevented non-Welsh speakers from becoming involved in council business.

The Ombudsman concluded that this could be considered to be excluding and disadvantaging those who do not understand the Welsh language, and made a number of recommendations, such as the publication of bilingual agendas.

Cynwyd Council has, however, refused to accept the ombudsman’s findings or implement his recommendations.

Nick Bennett, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said he was disappointed with the council’s refusal to carry out his recommendations.

‘While I fully support the principle of any Welsh council conducting its business through the medium of Welsh, it should also ensure those who consider English as their first language are not excluded.

'It is worrying that the Council has taken such an intransigent position throughout my investigation, and their refusal to act reasonably has let down their local community, both Welsh and English speaking.’

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