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More than just words

More than just words is Welsh Government’s strategic framework for promoting the Welsh language in health and social care published in 2016.

More than just words is a Strategic Framework for Promoting Welsh Language and culture in Health, Social Services and Social Care in Wales.

An independent evaluation of the More than just words framework (External link) was published in 2021 and an updated More than just words action plan (External link) was produced.

Receiving services in Welsh is an essential part of good quality, rights-based and person-centred care. Adoption and delivery of More than just words by social care and childcare services should help improve the quality of care and outcomes for people living in a bilingual country. The aim of More than just words is to provide a greater level of recognition among service providers that the use of Welsh language is not just a matter of choice but also a matter of need for many people. Service providers, therefore, have a responsibility to meet these needs.

Promoting Welsh language and culture: Making an ‘Active Offer’

A core aim of the framework is to ensure people who need services in Welsh have an ‘Active Offer’. This is when a service is provided in Welsh without someone having to ask for it. It means providers naturally anticipate the needs of Welsh speakers and also promote Welsh culture as well as the language. They do not wait for a person to ask for a service in Welsh but incorporate and promote the belief that if you are a Welsh speaker, being able to use your own language must be seen as a core component of your care and not an optional extra.

Making an ‘Active Offer’ is about creating the right environment where children/people feel empowered and confident their needs will be met. It is the responsibility of everyone who provides care services for people and their families across Wales to promote Welsh language and culture, putting the person at the core of services.

Everyone who works in social care and childcare can make a difference by asking themselves “What can I do to help improve Welsh language provision and promote Welsh culture?”

Small changes can make a big difference.

This doesn’t mean everyone has to be fluent in Welsh. Being able to say a just a few words in Welsh ‘dipyn bach yn y Gymraeg’ can go a long way – they can include words of comfort or offering a “paned”. It doesn’t matter how many words of Welsh you have – what matters is that you use it. Even if you don’t speak Welsh, a little bit of understanding about the needs of Welsh speakers can go a long way.

The Role of CIW in promoting Welsh language and culture

At the point of registration

All care providers should include information on the level of Welsh language service provision in their Statement of Purpose.

During the fit person interview with Responsible Individuals/Persons, we will want to know as leaders how they intend to promote Welsh language and culture in the service.

When reviewing the performance of local authorities

In all inspection and assurance checks we will review the ‘Active Offer’. This means we will consider the evidence gathered during inspections to inform a judgment within the report or letter about the extent to which local authorities are promoting the Welsh language ‘Active Offer’. We will also consider the ‘Active Offer’ as part of our ongoing performance and review activity (e.g. in meetings with senior managers and leaders

On inspection of a regulated service

Our inspection frameworks include the need to report on whether a service is promoting Welsh language and culture.  

We will consider a variety of evidence sources. For example, observation, discussion with children/people, families and staff and review of personal plans.

All care providers should include information on the level of Welsh language service provision in their Statement of Purpose.

In addition to the examples below please also refer to More than just words – Delivering the Active Offer Information Pack (External link) which has examples of ‘What does implementing the Active Offer look like’.

Promotion of Welsh language and culture can be achieved in different ways and does not need to be costly. Here are some examples:

It is important to acknowledge providers efforts and consider local circumstances. We need to be proportionate and reasonable.

Examples for themes

  • Children engage freely with their friends and practitioners in English and Welsh
  • Although the service is an English language setting people whose first language is Welsh are encouraged and supported to speak Welsh
  • People experience enhanced well-being because their Welsh language needs are understood and catered for
  • People can take part in activities that promote Welsh culture and Welsh language resources, such as books, are available and easy to access.
Care and Development/Support
  • People/children are cared for by staff who can meet their Welsh language needs.
  • Information about the service, assessments, and care documentation, are available in Welsh and English.
Leadership and Management
  • People/children receive services where people who run the setting/senior managers actively promote and support Welsh language and culture.
  • Welsh language and culture needs are reviewed regularly and as part of the annual quality of care review.
  • Recruitment, learning and development, staffing structures and rotas take into consideration Welsh language skills of staff.
  • There is strong leadership in ensuring people receive a service in Welsh and English.
  • People live in an environment which considers their Welsh language needs. Signs around the premises are provided in Welsh and English.
  • People/children have access to equipment and materials appropriate for their Welsh language needs.

We will record our findings in our inspection reports and say if the service is providing, working towards or is not demonstrating a significant effort to promote Welsh language and culture.

The practice guidance below sets out our approach to considering how well Welsh language and culture is being promoted in social care and childcare services.