Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 17:16 UK

Council 'ignored' Welsh language

Meri Huws, chair Welsh Language Board
Meri Huws said she was disappointed by the council's attitude

A council has been criticised for failing to specify the ability to speak Welsh was "at least" desirable in a job advert for its new chief executive.

The Welsh Language Board claimed that Plaid Cymru-run Conwy council had breached its own language policy.

The council said it did not accept the board's "analysis of the situation" but declined to say more.

Byron Davies, originally from south Wales, has been offered the job. It is not known if Mr Davies speaks Welsh.

The chair of the Welsh Language Board, Meri Huws, said members were "disappointed" in the council's attitude towards the Welsh language.

"Most of the council's job descriptions specify that Welsh is at least desirable," she said.

It is difficult to believe that an ability to communicate in Welsh is not, at least, desirable
Meri Huws, chair, Welsh Language Board

"The number of jobs where Welsh is not at least desirable, are the exception," she said.

Conwy council placed a recruitment advert for a new chief executive in early September.

The board immediately launched an inquiry under Section 17 of the Welsh Language Act because it was unhappy with the failure to include bilingual material within the recruitment pack.

There was also a failure to specify linguistic needs within the job advert, the board said.


As part of its inquiry, the board asked the council to assess the language requirements of the post.

Meri Huws added: "There are five principal duties detailed in the job description.

"One of them is to communicate with outside partners, and with the public.

"It is difficult to believe that an ability to communicate in Welsh is not, at least, desirable," she said.

Ms Huws said Conwy had the fifth highest share of Welsh speakers in Wales.

"There are many communities in the county where Welsh is the daily language," she added.

The council said: "The council does not accept the board's analysis of the situation.

"But it would be wholly inappropriate and unprofessional to make any further comment on the matter at this time."

The council announced on Wednesday that the job had been offered to Byron Davies, originally from south Wales, who is currently Chief Executive of Caradon District Council, Cornwall.

It is now subject to his formal acceptance of the offer.

It is not known if Mr Davies speaks Welsh.

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