Review of Temporary Restrictions to the Central Translation Service Update (Minute 1177(f) 2005/06)

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1 REPORT TO: Cabinet DATE: 12 th October 2006 LEAD OFFICER: CONTACT OFFICER: SUBJECT: Colin Pierce, Head of Administrative and Democratic Services Gillian Lowies, Translation Services Manager, Tel: Review of Temporary Restrictions to the Central Translation Service Update (Minute 1177(f) 2005/06) 1.0 PURPOSE OF THE REPORT: 1.1 At the request of Cabinet, to update Members regarding the current situation within the Central Translation Service 2.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: 2.1 The report reviews the temporary restrictions placed on the committee based translation service, and updates Members on the current staffing situation within the Central Translation Service. It also seeks Members views on the committee-based working arrangements in operation since last April, outlines the current budgetary situation and seeks members views on recommended priorities for the Central Translation Service within those budget limits. 2.2 Although essentially operational matters, these issues are brought to the Members attention in view of their implications for the Council as a whole. 3.0 RECOMMENDATIONS: 3.1 That, subject to consideration of Members views:- a) Cabinet agrees to the translation priorities outlined in appendix A b) Cabinet agrees to the proposed interim committee-based working arrangements outlined in appendix B, but that should the workload permit, the committee based service be increased to correspond to the resources available. c) The situation be reviewed again in the next (2007/08) financial year following the next round of business cases. d) That the Head of Administrative and Democratic Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs and Performance, be authorised to 1

2 approve any urgent measures that may be necessary in respect of service provision, pending a further review report. e) The Welsh Language Board continue to be kept informed of developments, so that relevant issues relating to this Council s Welsh Language Scheme may be further considered in consultation with the Board in time for the next review of the Scheme in BACKGROUND INFORMATION 4.1 On 17 th January 2006, a report was presented to Cabinet, informing Members of the difficult situation in the Council s Central Translation Service at Bodlondeb, due to vacant posts and budgetary considerations during the 2005/2006 financial year and of the need to review the level of service provided. Cabinet agreed that temporary restrictions be placed on the committee based translation service provided to the Council (Minute 847 refers). 4.2 On 11 th April 2006, a further report was submitted to Cabinet informing members of positive developments in relation to recruitment but proposing that the restrictions be extended for a further specified period, following which another report be presented to Cabinet. 4.3 Both vacancies for posts of Translator referred to in the report to Cabinet on 17 th January have now been filled with both employees in post. The post covering maternity period referred to in the report to Cabinet on 11 th April has also been filled. 4.4 This now means that the Translation Unit has no vacancies at present. The two new full-time members of staff are currently serving their probationary sixmonth periods. Taking into account also the new starter for the maternity post at the end of August, this means that three of the four full-time translators on the team will be new starters and will need to complete initial training provided by the Translation Services Manager. 4.5 The restrictions to the committee-based service over the last six months has provided the Central Translation Service with a good balance of work, and has ensured that expenditure remains within the budget allocated to the service. 4.6 However, as reported previously to Cabinet on 17 th January, there remains a need to review the level of service in the light of the significant increased demand for it, which has not been met by additional resources. 4.7 Previously, the need to review priorities for the service was highlighted by full Council on 24 th February 2005 (Minute 744(f)) which states: (f) That in order to make the best use of available resources, the Welsh Language Scheme s Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs and Communication, be authorised to review existing arrangements for translating documents with a view to exploring the possibility of introducing a system that would enable work to be prioritised according to anticipated circulation and distribution and other relevant factors and is consistent with the principles of the Scheme. 2

3 4.8 Due to the increased demand for translation services and the budget allocated for this service, it is recommended that the committee-based translation service be restricted in accordance with Appendix B for the time being. 4.9 It remains that should the workload permit, the committee based service will be increased to correspond to the resources available. 5. OTHER ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE PROVISION OF TRANSLATION ACROSS THE AUTHORITY 5.1 Pursuant to the requirement of Minute 1177 (d), Appendix C details the translation arrangements for the Education Service. Upon request, assistance has been forthcoming with simultaneous translation at the Learning and Creativity Scrutiny Committee. 6. CONSULTATION 6.1 The workload priorities contained in Appendix A and proposed restrictions contained in Appendix B have been prepared in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs and Performance and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources. 7. CORPORATE SUPPORT/COMMENTS 7.1 Financial Implications restrictions are necessary to avoid overspending and should allow service to operate within the resources allocated to it. 7.2 Legal Implications Welsh Language Act The Council has prepared a statutory Welsh Language Scheme in which it has adopted the principle that in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice in Wales, it will treat the English and Welsh languages on a basis of equality. Although the proposed restrictions will entail a degree of non-compliance with part of the Council s Welsh Language Scheme, by prioritising the increased workload involving public interface, the Authority may be said to be adhering to the spirit of the Scheme and the Act. 7.3 Personnel Conwy County Borough Council s translation service currently operates at its maximum performance abilities within the staffing capacity available. It should be noted that a neighbouring authority of similar size to this authority has a translation team of eight full-time translators. Historically, the need to manage the workload is essential for reasons relating to staff retention considerations. 8. DRIVERS AND IMPLICATIONS 8.1 Corporate Plan Priority : Independence and Well-Being Priority: Customer Focus 8.2 Community Strategy A Healthy Place Equalities Standard 9. REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS 9.1 To provide a translation service on a realistic level consistent with the current level of demand and resources allocated to the service. 3

4 10. S.E.T. COMMENTS 10.1 S.E.T. support the proposals. BACKGROUND PAPERS LOCATION WEBSITE INFO. Report to Cabinet 17 th January 2006 Report to Cabinet 11 th April 2006 Translation Unit s records Council Intranet / Internet 4

5 APPENDIX A Prioritising document translation The following order of priority will be implemented when allocating to available translation resources: Category 1 Documents targeted at the public. Category 2 Committee-based documents Category 3 Internally-circulated staff documents

6 APPENDIX B PROPOSED INTERIM RESTRICTIONS TO COMMITTEE BASED TRANSLATION SERVICE Meetings Agenda Report Summary Full Reports Minutes Simultaneous Full Council Cabinet Planning Licensing - Principal Scrutiny - Community Safety Scrutiny - Community Well-Being Scrutiny - Environment Scrutiny - Learning and Creativity Scrutiny - * Regeneration Scrutiny - Audit - Standards - - LDP Task & Finish Group - All other Task & Finish Groups = bilingual provision * = assistance provided by the Education Service (Central Translation Service to act as contingency)

7 APPENDIX C abcde EDUCATION SERVICE Translation Provision

8 The Translation Unit provides a comprehensive service for the County s Education Services and schools. The County s Bilingual Policy, as implemented by Educational Services, requires every document to be translated into Welsh. The Translation Unit has a very heavy workload. Because of this we occasionally have to use external providers to ensure that work is completed within time limits. The two translators are Welsh language graduates, who are experienced translators specialising in education. There is one full time translator (offering additional simultaneous translation), whilst the other translator works during term time only. The service is very widely and frequently used and often has to produce work at short notice.. They also can advise other members of staff regarding vocabulary, text editing and abridging as well as simplifying language, making it less technical and easier to understand. In addition, they also proof read a range of documents and pamphlets published by the Education Service. We are occasionally required to produce work for the Curriculum Support Service. This is a shared service for Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire. Sometimes other outside bodies contact us for advice. We also provide support for those on Welsh Improvement courses and those who wish to gain other Welsh language qualifications. In addition to the two translators, there are other members of staff in the department that can be called upon to help from time to time, to deal with work related to their specialist field. Provision to The Education Services We provide a service to the following service units: Improving Schools: o Primary Education Officers [including]: o Literacy o Welsh o Mathematics o Early Years o Healthy Schools o ICT o PEDSS and Early Professional Development o Athrawon Bro o Secondary Education Officers [Including]: o Dragon Sport o Newly Qualified Teachers and Early Professional Development o Schools Admissions Forum o Budget Forum Catering

9 Expressive Arts Special Educational Needs: o SEN School Improvement o Educational Psychologists o Social Inclusion Teachers o Education Social Work o Statements o Social Inclusion o Learning Support o Senses o Speech and Language o Portage o Cedar Court Adolescent Centre Outdoor Education MIS Business, Policy and Performance Student Finance Youth Service Finance Site Management Personnel and School Support EAL - English as an Additional Language Religious Education: o SACRE - Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education o WASACRE Wales Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education They translate a wide range of documents: letters; memos; ; reports; policies; Scrutiny Committee papers; Cabinet papers; menus recipes grant applications job adverts; job descriptions; committee minutes; SEN reports; plaques for buildings; order of ceremonies; concert programmes publicity materials press releases public warnings/ notices

10 joint courses with other counties. prepare materials to respond to the Assembly s requirements deal with confidential information. Simultaneous Translation Meetings e.g. secondary headteachers primary headteachers, deputies, Healthy Schools Steering Group, Anti Bullying Group, Trade Union / Education Officers meetings Conferences Official opening of buildings Courses Governors courses Forums Training Launches Interviews Provision to Schools Provide a translation service for 63 of the County s Primary Schools, e.g.: policies minutes of governors meetings sub-committee minutes letters to parents self-assessment reports guidebooks application forms references Simultaneous Translation This service is offered to 63 Primary Schools and 4 Secondary Schools, and includes: Governor Meetings Interviews Record of Achievement Annual Parents Meetings

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