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Healthcare Inspectorate Wales Welsh Language Statement


Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) is the independent inspectorate and regulator of healthcare in Wales. We check that people in Wales receive good quality healthcare.

HIW is committed to supporting a thriving Welsh Language.

Policy Context

This statement fits within the following policy framework:

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011

This Measure gave the Welsh Language official status in Wales, which means that Welsh should treated no less favourably than the English language. The measure also established the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner and created a procedure for introducing the Welsh Language Standards.

As part of Welsh Government HIW must complying with The Welsh Language Standards (No. 1) Regulations 2015.

Cymraeg 2050

The Cymraeg 2050 Strategy sets out the Welsh Government’s long term approach to achieving the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050. The Welsh Government has stated that in Wales we need to get to a position where the Welsh language is a perfectly natural element of all aspects of everyday life.

HIW is part of the Welsh Government and is committed to working towards achieving this target.

Future Generations and Well-Being Act

This Act aims to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. The Act ensures that public bodies think more about the long term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach. One of the seven well-being goals listed in the Act is “A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language”.

As a public body, HIW is committed to the Well-being Goals.

Prosperity for all

‘Prosperity for all’ is the Welsh Government’s national strategy that aims to take forward the commitments made in the Programme for Government, ‘Taking Wales Forward’. One of the objectives of the national strategy is to ‘build resilient communities, culture and language’. To achieve this objective, Welsh Government has committed to working with communities across Wales to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language in a positive and inclusive manner.

As a part of Welsh Government, HIW is committed to delivering the objectives in Prosperity for All.

More than just words framework

The aim of the ‘More than just words’ framework is to strengthen Welsh language services in health, social services and social care. One of the key principles of the framework is the ‘Active Offer’. The ‘Active Offer’ means providing a service in Welsh without someone having to ask for it.

HIW checks that Welsh language services are provided by healthcare services as part of our current inspection programme. As part of the framework, HIW inspects and reports on whether Welsh speakers are able to use the Welsh language as a natural part of their care, and whether Welsh speakers are able to use the Welsh language to express themselves when receiving care in accordance with the Health and Care Standards. Further information can be found about how we inspect NHS and independent services on our website.

Since June 2019, there are new duties on health boards in Wales to offer Welsh language services to patients. These duties are The Welsh Language Standards (No. 7) Regulations 2018. The Welsh Language Commissioner regulates health board’s compliance with The Welsh Language Standards (No. 7) Regulations 2018.

HIW Strategy

Our strategy enables us to play a full part in helping to deliver the objectives of Prosperity for All and Cymraeg 2050.

Our Strategic Plan sets out our vision for the next three years: our strategic priorities and what we will do to realise our ambition.

One of our four strategic priorities is ‘to be more visible’. We are committed to ensuring our work reaches as many people as possible and that we are inclusive of all needs, including the Welsh language.

Another strategic priority of HIW is ‘to develop our people and organisation to do the best job possible’. We are committed to ensuring our staff have access to Welsh language training and resources. 

Our commitment to the Welsh Language

As a bilingual organisation, we are committed to ensuring that the public, our stakeholders and registered services are able to access our services in both Welsh and English. Complying with the Welsh Language Standards means that we are committed to continue building on our bilingual provision.

For the public and stakeholders:

  • We ensure that when the public contact us they are offered to communicate in Welsh if they wish to do so. We ensure there is always a Welsh speaker on hand to take telephone calls in Welsh
  • We notify members of the public that we welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh, that we will respond to correspondence in Welsh and that corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay
  • All invites to meetings are sent bilingually, and we ensure that simultaneous translators are considered for public meetings and that organisers of public meetings remind people at the start of meetings that they can contribute in Welsh
  • All our documents produced for the public are produced in Welsh and published to our bilingual website
  • Our corporate social media sites are bilingual
  • All public notices and adverts are produced bilingually.

For our staff:

  • We value our Welsh speaking staff and we promote a working environment which encourages the use of the Welsh language.
  • We encourage staff who want to learn Welsh to attend Welsh language courses and ensure they have sufficient time and resources to commit to learning Welsh.

How we monitor our compliance and commitment to the Welsh Language

  • We meet regularly with the Welsh Government Welsh Language Standards team to ensure we are adhering to the standards
  • We report to the Welsh Government and our Welsh language activity is captured in their annual report on compliance with the Welsh Language Standards
  • We ensure we adhere to Welsh Government Welsh Language policies
  • We report on our inspection findings in respect of Welsh language provision and will analyse themes and trends for our Annual Report.