|Bethan Sayed AM||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Caroline Jones AM|
|Dai Lloyd AM|
|David Melding AM|
|Jenny Rathbone AM|
|Mick Antoniw AM|
|Rhianon Passmore AM|
|Vikki Howells AM||yn dirprwyo ar ran Jane Hutt|
|substitute for Jane Hutt|
|Bethan Webb||Dirprwy Gyfarwyddwr yr Iaith Gymraeg, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Deputy Director, Welsh Language, Welsh Government|
|Eleanor Marks||Cyfarfwyrddwr Cymru, Ofcom|
|Eluned Morgan AM||Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Dysgu Gydol Oes|
|Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning|
|Lindsey Fussell||Group Director, Consumer External Relations, Ofcom|
|Cyfarwyddwr Grŵp, Cysylltiadau Allanol Defnyddwyr Ofcom|
|Adam Vaughan||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Martha Da Gama Howells||Ail Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Craffu ar Gyllideb Ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer 2019-20 - Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Dysgu Gydol Oes||2. Scrutiny of the Welsh Government Draft Budget 2019-20 - Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning|
|3. Craffu Blynyddol ar Ofcom Cymru||3. Annual Scrutiny of Ofcom Wales|
|4. Papurau i'w nodi||4. Paper(s) to note|
|5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod||5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:32.
The meeting began at 09:32.
Diolch a chroeso i Bwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu. Eitem 1 ar yr agenda: cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau. Nid yw Vikki Howells wedi dod eto ond bydd hi'n dirprwyo ar gyfer Jane Hutt. Mae Mick Antoniw yn mynd i fod yn hwyr hefyd. Nid ydw i'n credu bod yna fwy o ymddiheuriadau. Mae Dai Lloyd yn gorfod mynd mas am gyfnod i wneud araith, yn anffodus, ond fe ddaw e'n ôl, rwy'n siŵr. Diolch am hynny. A oes yna unrhyw fuddiannau i'w datgan gan Aelodau? Na.
Thank you and welcome to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. Item 1 on the agenda: introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. Vikki Howells hasn't arrived yet but she will be substituting for Jane Hutt. Mick Antoniw is going to be late as well. I don't think there are any more apologies. Dai Lloyd has to leave for some time to make a speech, unfortunately, but I'm sure he'll return. Thank you for that. Are there any declarations of interest by Members? No.
Symudwn ymlaen, felly, at eitem 2: craffu ar gyllideb ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer 2019-20—Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Dysgu Gydol Oes. Croeso i Eluned Morgan, Aelod Cynulliad a Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Dysgu Gydol Oes, a hefyd i Bethan Webb, sef dirprwy gyfarwyddwr yr iaith Gymraeg. Rydym ni fel arfer, fel rydych chi'n gwybod, yn gofyn cwestiynau ar sail themâu gwahanol, felly byddwn ni'n mynd yn syth mewn i gwestiynau, os yw hynny'n iawn, ac wedyn, os oes unrhyw beth ychwanegol gyda chi i'w ddweud, mae'n siŵr bydd amser i ni glywed hynny—o fewn rheswm, wrth gwrs. [Chwerthin.]
Felly, byddaf i'n cychwyn gyda'r cwestiynau. Yn amlwg, mae yna benderfyniad i gadw'r gyllideb yn fflat ar gyfer y Gymraeg, a'r consérn sydd gennym ni, efallai, yw bod—gan fod yna amcan o gyrraedd 1 filiwn o siaradwyr erbyn 2050, sut fydd cyllideb fflat yn mynd i hwyluso hynny, gan fod angen, yn sicr, inni roi mwy o adnoddau i mewn i'r Gymraeg os ydym ni i weld realiti yr 1 filiwn o siaradwyr? Felly, sut mae cyfiawnhau y gyllideb yn hynny o beth?
Moving on, therefore, to item 2: scrutiny of the Welsh Government draft budget 2019-20—the Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning. Welcome to Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, and also Bethan Webb, deputy director, Welsh language. As usual, as you know, we ask questions on the basis of different themes, so we'll go straight into questions, if that's okay, and then, if there's anything else you want to add, I'm sure there'll be time for us to hear that—within reason, of course. [Laughter.]
So, I'll start with the questions. Clearly, there has been a decision to maintain a cash-flat Welsh language budget, and the concern that we have, perhaps, is that—because there is this aim of reaching 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050, how is a flat budget going to facilitate that, because there is a need, I'm sure, to provide more resources in the Welsh language if we want to see the 1 million Welsh speakers being realised? How can you justify the budget in that sense?
Wel, rydw i'n meddwl ein bod ni'n falch ein bod ni wedi ein galluogi i sicrhau ei bod hi'n fflat, achos mae yna gyni ac mae lot o ardaloedd eraill wedi gweld cwymp yn yr hyn y maen nhw'n cael fel rhan o'u cyllideb nhw. Felly, rŷm ni wedi sicrhau bod yr arian yn parhau fel mae e wedi bod yn y gorffennol. Rydw i yn meddwl, o ran y weledigaeth i gyrraedd 1 filiwn o siaradwyr, beth sy'n bwysig nawr yw ein bod ni'n rhoi'r seilwaith yn ei le, a dyna beth rŷm ni wedi bod yn ei baratoi. Mae'r rhaglen ar gyfer 2050 yn ei lle. Rydym ni'n hyderus bod y math o bethau sydd angen inni eu rhoi mewn lle ar gyfer y seilwaith yna yn bosibl gyda'r gyllideb sydd gyda ni.
Well, I'm happy that we have been able to ensure that the budget is flat, because there is austerity and many other areas have seen a decline in the budget as part of what they receive as part of their budgets. So, we have ensured that the money continues as it has done in the past. I do think, in terms of the vision to reach 1 million speakers, what's important now is that we put the infrastructure in place, and that's what we've been preparing. The programme for 2050 is in place and we're confident that the type of things that we need to put in place for that infrastructure is possible with the budget that we already have.
Mae'n swnio fel eich bod chi'n meddwl ei fod e'n rhywbeth positif ei fod e'n fflat, achos bod yna doriadau wedi digwydd mewn llefydd eraill. Ond sut ydy e'n rhywbeth positif pan ydych chi wedi dweud, fel Gweinidog ac fel Llywodraeth, fod yna gôl weddol radical i gyrraedd 1 filiwn o siaradwyr? A ydych chi'n hollol hyderus, felly, â'r gyllideb fel y mae'n sefyll, na fydd angen i chi fynd at y Prif Weinidog a dweud, 'Wel, mae angen inni gael mwy o arian os ydym ni am wireddu'r uchelgais hwnnw'?
It sounds as if you think it's something positive that it's flat, because cuts have occurred in other areas. But how can it be something that's positive when you've said, as a Minister and as a Government, that there is quite a radical aim of reaching 1 million Welsh speakers? Are you completely confident, therefore, with the budget as it stands, that there will be no need for you to go to the First Minister and say, 'We need more money if we need to realise the ambition'?
Wel, nid wyf yn meddwl, pan ydych chi'n trafod diwylliant, mai arian yw'r ateb bob amser. Mae eisiau i chi ennill meddyliau a chalonnau pobl. Ac felly, mae pethau fel ehangu faint o arian, faint o bethau sydd ar gael ar gyfer, er enghraifft, cynyddu nifer y bobl sy'n mynd i ysgolion Cymraeg—nid yw hynny o reidrwydd yn rhan—. Mae hynny'n gallu bod yn rhan o budget lines eraill—addysg Gymraeg, er enghraifft. Felly, mae'r cynnydd rŷm ni'n mynd i'w weld mewn addysg Gymraeg—rŷm ni wedi gwneud lot o waith ar hynny eleni. Mae arian ychwanegol wedi dod, er enghraifft, o'r twenty-first century schools. Rŷm ni wedi cael £30 miliwn ychwanegol ar gyfer hynny. Felly, mae hynny hefyd yn ategu at yr arian yma.
Well, when you're discussing culture, I don't think money is always the answer. You need to win over people's hearts and minds. And so, things such as expanding how much money or how many things are available, for example, for increasing the number of pupils who go to Welsh-medium schools—that isn't necessarily part of—. It can be part of other budget lines, such as Welsh in education. So, of course, the increase we will see in Welsh-medium education—we've done much work on that this year. There's additional money that has come, for example, from the twenty-first century schools. We've received an extra £30 million for that. So, that also adds to this money.
Ond ar ddiwedd y dydd, nid yw diwylliant yn mynd i newid yr hyn sydd ei angen o ran rhoi adnoddau i mewn, yn weddol ddifrifol, i sicrhau bod mwy o bobl yn medru'r iaith. Nid yw jest newid diwylliant yn mynd i wneud hynny ar ben ei hun, yw e?
But at the end of the day, culture isn't going to change what's required in terms of putting resources, quite serious resources, into ensuring that there are more people who are able to speak Welsh. A change of culture isn't going to do that on its own, is it?
Wel, mae'r enghraifft yna o addysg yn enghraifft sydd ddim yn rhan, o reidrwydd, sy'n mynd i fod yn rhan annatod o hyn, felly nid yw'r £30 miliwn ychwanegol yna yn rhan o'r £38 miliwn sydd yn cael ei weld yma. Roedd yna £30 miliwn yn ychwanegol sydd yn mynd i ehangu faint rŷm ni'n gallu cynyddu addysg Gymraeg yng Nghymru. Ac felly, mae'n rhaid i chi weld hyn yng nghyd-destun yr arian ychwanegol efallai a fydd yn dod i'r Gymraeg drwy'r adran addysg hefyd.
Well, that example of education is one that's not a part, necessarily, that's going to be an integral part of this, so that £30 million of additional funding isn't part of the £38 million that's being seen here. There was an additional £30 million that's going to expand Welsh-medium education in Wales. So, you have to see this in the context of that additional money that will come to the Welsh language through the education sector also.
Nid wyf eisiau mynd i mewn i hynny, achos bydd cwestiynau yn hwyrach—mae yna fwy o gwestiynau ar y maes addysg. Jest yn olaf gen i: rydych chi wedi trosglwyddo cyllid o £2 filiwn o'r llinell wariant yn y gyllideb ar gyfer y Gymraeg mewn addysg i'r llinell wariant yn y gyllideb ar gyfer y Gymraeg. Sut mae hynny'n adlewyrchu eich blaenoriaethau chi? Pam rydych chi wedi gwneud y penderfyniad hwnnw?
I don't want to go into that, because there will be questions on that later—there are more questions on education later. Just finally from me: you have transferred £2 million from the Welsh in education budget expenditure line to the Welsh language BEL. How will that reflect your priorities? Why have you taken that decision?
Wel, rydw i'n siŵr y byddwch chi'n ymwybodol bod yr arian wedi dod, yn wreiddiol, o'r cytundeb rhwng Plaid Cymru a'r Blaid Lafur—bod yna £5 miliwn ychwanegol wedi dod. Yn wreiddiol, beth ddigwyddodd oedd y rhoddwyd yr arian yna i gyd i mewn i un llinell ar gyfer addysg. Pan oeddem ni wedi edrych i mewn i sut y dylid gwario'r arian yna, roedd hi'n gwneud mwy o synnwyr i sicrhau ei fod e mewn llinell a oedd yn cyfateb i'r gwaith a fyddai'n cael ei wneud gyda'r arian yna, a dyna pam mae'r trosglwyddiad yna wedi digwydd. Digwyddodd e y llynedd, a beth sy'n bwysig, felly, yw, o ran beth sy'n cael ei drafod, beth sy'n cael ei gynhyrchu fel canlyniad, nid yw e'n mynd i wneud dim gwahaniaeth. Jest budget shift yw e. Felly, administrative change yw e'n fwy na dim.
Well, I think you'll be aware that the money had come, originally, from the agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour—that an additional £5 million has come. Originally, what happened was that that money was put in one budget line for education. When we looked into the ways of spending that money, it made more sense to put it in an expenditure line that corresponded with that work that would be done with that money, and that's why that transfer has happened. It happened last year, and what's important, therefore, is that, in terms of what's being discussed and what's being produced as a result, it's not going to make any difference. It's just a budget shift. So, it's an administrative change more than anything.
Ocê, iawn. Mae gan Jenny Rathbone fwy o gwestiynau ar hyn.
Okay. There are more questions from Jenny Rathbone on this.
I think I've got it clear that it's just an administrative change. It's not going to make any difference at all to work you're doing. Excellent to get that out of the way.
You highlight the fact that there's going to be £5 million extra for Cymraeg Gwaith promotion, and £3 million of that has been allocated to training up early years professionals, so that we can ensure that many more young children are able to learn Welsh from the very beginning. So, could you just give us some idea of the progress to date on that? Because it seems to me that this is a one-off opportunity to really make a huge difference in the number of people speaking Welsh, and yet, the numbers of early years places we're planning to create seem really very modest—10 in this year and 40 overall. That doesn't seem to me to be transformational.
I think, if you look at the programme that we have, we've got very clear lines of where we need to get to at what point. We have an ambition in terms of nursery education, for example, that we want to see—
—a significant increase. We're on target to deliver on the numbers of Welsh-medium nurseries.
No, no. We've got—150 we want by 2050. We're on target to deliver the numbers that we want by 2020. So, we're not just waiting until 2050; we've got these steps along the way, and—
I think it's 40, and we are delivering, I think, 17. So, we will be halfway towards that target of 40, effectively. So, we're not far off.
Well, it complies with the target that we've set ourselves, and we are clear that what's happening already is that we are seeing that increase. What we have to do along with that increase is make sure that we've got the people who are trained up to deliver. So, some of the—
Absolutely. We don't just want Welsh-medium education; we want quality education.
Absolutely, and so there is a whole training scheme that goes alongside that, and there's been significant investment through Mudiad Meithrin for that. The other interesting bit is that we're not just looking at Mudiad Meithrin, but we're looking at—alongside every Mudiad Meithrin there's what they call a 'Cylch Ti a Fi', which is the pre-nursery, which encourages people to then do that continuum. What we're seeing is that the numbers that are transferring from Welsh language nurseries into Welsh language schools are around about 84 per cent, so that's not bad—it's not bad compared to where we want that to be. But that—you know, really trying to grab the initiative as early as you can with young children through the Ti a Fi.
And, of course, alongside that, the other thing we're doing is that we're working very closely with the Minister with responsibility for care. You've seen the childcare settings. He's actually—. To that £13 million we talked about earlier that is to expand Welsh-medium schools, he's added about £15 million to that pot to make sure that we can provide for care settings through the medium of Welsh. So, we're trying to make sure there's an understanding that you've got to start as young as possible with this.
Well, completely, but I want to challenge you that the Welsh Government isn't being ambitious enough. We've got huge demand for nursery education, and, if we can provide quality nursery education through the medium of Welsh, in my view I don't think you'd have any difficulty filling it. So, my sense is that we're not properly seizing this opportunity. Is it because we don't have enough resources, or we're simply unable to train up enough Welsh-speaking early years practitioners?
I don't think resource is the issue here—we've given an extra £1 million to Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin. It's how quickly they can scale up. I think they're scaling up as quickly as they possibly can without diluting the quality. And that's what we need to focus on. So, what we don't want is to open Welsh nursery schools that have the title 'Welsh nursery school', but, actually, there's not much Welsh going on in the classroom. So, we have to make sure that, whilst that's happening, we're also training the teachers, and there's significant investment going into that as well.
So, is anybody else, apart from me, saying that we're not being ambitious enough, or is everybody else in agreement?
I don't think that has been something that's been levelled against us, because, actually, if you look at that ambition—how quickly we're already delivering—I think it's actually quite impressive.
Okay, thank you. The other £2 million that's in the Cymraeg Gwaith—that's for promoting the Welsh language to the wider community. Can you just tell us what that extra money is going to do?
So, what we've got is—. We've spent quite a lot of money on promoting Welsh amongst adults, and trying to encourage adults, and trying to encourage people. You'll be aware that most of that money is spent on the Canolfan Dysgu Cymraeg Genedlaethol, so the national learning, Welsh learning—
Rydych chi'n gallu siarad Cymraeg wrth ateb, os ydych chi eisiau.
You can speak Welsh in an answer, if you like.
Okay, yes—sorry. So, I think—. So, that's where the priority has been. One of the things that they're looking to do and they are already delivering on is Cymraeg Gwaith, so going into workplaces, giving lessons in the workplace, and there has been a massive increase in the number of people who've been involved in that. They've tailor-made specific programmes for different sectors. I don't know, Bethan, if you'd like to add just some figures, perhaps, to how well they're doing on that, because you must remember that this is quite a new institution—they've only been going for a couple of years—and the targets that they're hitting and what they've been able to do in a couple of years is quite impressive, I think.
Yes. So, they developed—. In 2017-18 is when they started; they developed online courses, immersion courses and cyrsiau preswyl in centres across Wales, and they work especially with the health sector. As you've already alluded, they've worked with Mudiad Meithrin to pilot things specifically for those individuals, and they're still learning and they're still adapting, and they're taking the learning, as the Minister says, to the workplaces, if the cyrsiau preswyl are not what that sector needs. So, they exceeded their targets in 2017-18: 3,815 people did the online course, 572 did the intense course, and 303 went on the cyrsiau preswyl. So, there was a total of 4,690 that engaged. So, they exceeded the target of 1,430 that we'd set them, because it was a new programme. So, they're building on that success now for 2018-19, and we've had a mid-year review with them, and things are definitely going in the right direction. And, as I say, they're innovating all the time.
And, presumably, this promotion is aligned with the work of the Welsh Language Commissioner, who's been talking to companies about the ways in which they can promote Welsh in their work. So, you're working alongside.
We're working alongside. So, for example, the Welsh Language Commissioner leads with banks, so they would then invite the Canolfan Dysgu Cymraeg Genedlathol to any session that they would hold with banks, so that they would be there, then, to present what support they can give staff that want to work through the medium of Welsh or want to learn Welsh within that profession.
And what evaluation will be done to evaluate how well it's being embedded in the daily work of people who are getting these courses?
Well, we ask our partners to evaluate on a regular basis. They have evaluated the cyrsiau preswyl in Nant Gwrtheyrn already. The evaluation was very positive, but what came out of that evaluation was that you can't just go for the two weeks in Nant Gwrtheyrn; you need to have more support back in the workplace. So, they've embedded that with the health sector. We will ask them, as part of our contract, to evaluate on a regular basis, but we are still, in truth, only one and a half years into a brand-new programme.
Rwy'n meddwl ei bod hi'n werth ychwanegu beth sy'n ddiddorol hefyd yw, ble mae yna bosibilrwydd, beth maen nhw'n ei wneud yw addasu cyrsiau fel eu bod nhw'n ymateb i'r galw mewn sectorau arbennig. Felly, gofal plant, er enghraifft—mae 4,000 o bobl eisoes wedi cael help drwy'r fath o eirfa y byddech chi ei hangen ar gyfer gofal plant, ac, wrth gwrs, nawr bod y safonau iechyd yn dod i mewn, bydd yna gyfle i bobl yn y maes yna i ddysgu. A'r un peth gyda hospitality. Felly, maen nhw'n canolbwyntio ar sectorau gwahanol ac yn datblygu geirfa yn arbennig ar gyfer pobl sy'n gweithredu yn y meysydd gwahanol yna.
I think it's worth adding also, that, where possible, what they are doing is adapting the courses so that they respond to the demand in particular settings. So, in terms of childcare, for example, 4,000 people have already had help through the vocabulary you need for childcare, and now, of course, that the standards are being imposed on the health sector, there will be an opportunity for people in that field to learn. And the same with hospitality. So, they are concentrating on different sectors and developing vocabulary for those people who are working in those different areas.
Diolch. A allwch chi jest ddweud wrthym ni beth yw'r 'pwynt cyswllt gwybodaeth' Cymraeg cenedlaethol, y gyllideb, a sut mae hynny wedyn yn mynd i gael effaith ar y sector yma yn benodol?
Thank you. Can you just tell us what the national Cymraeg 'information contact point' is, its budget, and how that is going to have an impact on this sector specifically?
Rydw i'n meddwl bod hwn yn rhywbeth sydd yn rili bwysig. Y cwestiwn yw: os nad ydych chi'n siarad Cymraeg ond rydych chi eisiau rhoi rhyw fath o wasanaeth, ble ydych chi'n mynd am help? Beth rydym ni'n mynd i wneud yw rhoi llinell gyswllt i sicrhau, os oes rhywun eisiau help ymarferol, y byddan nhw'n gallu ffonio, y byddan nhw'n gallu cael cyfieithu—. Byddwn ni'n rhoi cyfieithu yn rhad ac am ddim am bethau bach a byddan nhw'n gallu—
I think this is something that's very important. The question is: if you don't speak Welsh but you want to give some sort of service, where do you go for help? What we're going to do is put in a contact point so that if anyone needs practical assistance they can phone this information point, they can have translation. We will provide translation for free for small things and they can—
Beth yw'r gyllideb honno'n benodol, wedyn?
What's the budget for that?
Mae £250,000 ar gyfer setio i fyny. Mae rhedeg y llinell gyswllt yn mynd i fod tua £200,000 ar ben hynny. Bydd tua thri aelod o staff. Bydd hon yn cael ei lleoli yn Llandudno Junction. Felly—
So, £250,000 is allocated for setting it up. Running that contact point is going to be around £200,000 on top of that. There's going to be around three members of staff, and it will be located in Llandudno Junction. So—
So, mae ar gyfer cwmnïau neu ar gyfer mudiadau gwirfoddol sydd ddim â'r capasiti ar hyn o bryd.
So, it's for companies or voluntary organisations that don't currently have the capacity.
So, beth os oes yna mwy o ofyn na beth rydych chi wedi'i gyllido ar ei gyfer?
So, what if there's more demand than what you've budgeted for?
Wel, cawn ni weld sut mae'n gweithio yn gyntaf, ond rydw i'n falch iawn bod hwn yn dechrau. Mae grwpiau gennym ni eisoes o gwmpas Cymru o ran Cymraeg byd Busnes. Felly, mae tua 12 o bobl o gwmpas Cymru yn rhoi help i fusnesau lleol, ond bydd hwn wedyn yn help, efallai, y byddan nhw'n gallu ei gael tu fas i'r help ychwanegol yna maen nhw'n ei gael o Gymraeg byd Busnes. Ond rydw i'n meddwl bod cael un rhif ffôn mae pobl yn gallu mynd ato ar gyfer help am unrhyw beth yn ymwneud â'r iaith Gymraeg—bydd hwnnw'n help aruthrol, rydw i'n meddwl.
Well, we'll see how it works first of all, but I'm very pleased that it is being rolled out. We already have groups around Wales in terms of Welsh in Business. So, there are around 12 people around Wales giving help to local companies, but then this will be assistance that they can have beyond that additional help that they are currently getting from Welsh in Business. So, having one phone line that people can go to for help for anything to do with the Welsh language will be a huge help, I think.
Ocê. Diolch yn fawr iawn am hynny. Caroline Jones.
Okay. Thank you very much for that. Caroline Jones.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. In the 2018-19 budget, £600,000 has been transferred from the foundation phase BEL and communities and children BEL to the Mudiad Meithrin to support training and development of early years staff. The funding offers opportunities for staff to gain a level 3 diploma in children's care, learning and development through the medium of Welsh, and this year's students, of which there are 122, will complete their studies in the summer of 2019. So, may I ask you if you think that this expenditure represents value for money, please?
Well, I think it does, and I think we come back to the point that Jenny was asking earlier about, 'Where's the capacity in the system? It's all very well saying we're going to have all these new meithrin schools, but who's going to run them?' So, actually, training is essential, and getting the right staff in place, and that's why this funding is available. We are very concerned about standards, and what we have done is to assess the standards of the training that's been provided, and we've had an independent evaluation that says that this is an excellent standard. I think that's something that we should be proud of.
So, as you say, we've had 122 people who we're expecting to finish the course in 2019. So, I think we are confident that this is exactly where we should be. The key thing is that we just have to keep on increasing the capacity and the numbers of people who are able to teach through the medium of Welsh. It is an issue for us, but we are getting traction in this area. It's a bit more difficult in high schools. That's more difficult. But, at this level, we are able to attract people. So, it's going quite well, I think.
So, when the 122 have completed the course, will you be asking for feedback on the course then and evaluating it?
Yes. Yes, absolutely, and the evaluation is ongoing, and all of these are quite new, and, in particular, when you start something new—
Yes. It's important that we have the correct data to evaluate everything and reach our target.
Absolutely. I think evaluation is essential, and value for money is really important as well, and so that's something that I keep a very close eye on. I'm always doing—I've always got my little calculator out, working out how much ahead everything is. So, I'm looking not just for quality but for making sure we get value for money.
Thank you. So, the Welsh in education budget expenditure line supports a number of actions with 'Cymraeg 2050', which includes the delivery of practitioner training through the sabbatical scheme. So, with regard to the level of funding allocated to this scheme, what is the expected impact that the outcome of this scheme will have?
So, as I was explaining, one of the areas where we need to increase our availability of Welsh teachers is in schools. So, increasing the number of Welsh speakers who are teachers is something that we're very anxious to tackle, and the sabbatical scheme is a part of our attempt to increase the numbers. We've only done a year, I think, of the—. We've only done one. So, we're in the second year now. We want to give it some time to see what the impact will be, but one of the things we do is we ensure that, in the spring and summer term, we send people who are on this course back into classrooms so that they can practise what they've been taught. I've been to visit these things; it's incredible. People who've got very, very low standards of Welsh at the start of the course are coming out absolutely fluent—it's really quite striking—in a very short space of time. But what we need to do now is to see what that looks like. We will be evaluating that. But, yes, at the moment, it's going quite well—we're getting people through the system. 'Can we scale it up?' is—because, you know, we have to work out what is the best impact. But what we're keen to do is to make sure—. The feedback we've had from the short courses before is that people went on these courses and then they went back to their, very often, non-Welsh-speaking schools, and they didn't have a chance to practise their Welsh, so we wanted to keep that going. So, we're making sure with the sabbatical schemes that there are opportunities to do that, and part of the scheme is to send people into Welsh-medium schools, so that they are really 'trochi-ed' in—
Faint sydd yn mynd i hwnnw, though? Nid wyf cweit yn siŵr beth roeddech chi wedi'i ddweud ynglŷn â'r ganran o arian sydd yn mynd i'r cynllun sabathol.
How much goes to that, though? I'm not quite sure what you said about what percentage goes to the sabbatical scheme.
So, mae 66 o bobl wedi mynd ar y cwrs 'Cymraeg mewn blwyddyn'. Roedd hynny y flwyddyn ddiwethaf. O ran y breakdown, rydw i wedi gofyn am y breakdown am faint—. Achos mae'r calculations yma yn bwysig i fi. Mae'n eithaf caled, achos mae e i gyd o fewn yr un budget line. Felly, mae yna gyrsiau byr ar gyfer dysgu hefyd—so, mae yna bobl sydd yn mynd ar gyrsiau am gwpl o wythnosau neu am dri mis. Mae hyn yn rhywbeth gwahanol, lle maen nhw'n mynd, fwy na lai, am flwyddyn. So, rydw i wedi gofyn am breakdown o hynny cyn i fi ddod mewn yma heddiw. Rydw i'n meddwl—
So, 66 people have attended the 'Welsh in a year' course. That was last year. In terms of the breakdown, I have asked for the breakdown of how much—. Because these calculations are important to me. It's quite difficult, because it's all within the same budget line. So, there are short courses for teaching too—so, there are people who go on courses for a couple of weeks or for three months. But this is something different, where they go, more or less, for a year. So, I have asked for a breakdown of that before I came into today. I think—
A ydy e ar gael neu a oes angen inni gael nodyn, neu—?
Is it available or do we need to have a note, or—?
Rydw i wedi gofyn am—. Wnes i ddim cael yr ateb cyn i fi ddod mewn, felly—
I have asked for—. I wasn't given the answer before coming in today, so—
Ocê. Fe wnawn ni aros am nodyn, felly.
Okay. We'll await a note, then.
—fe wnaf i gario ymlaen i dyrchu, achos mae hynny—. Mae'n gwestiwn y gwnes i ei ofyn, felly rydw i eisiau'r ateb hefyd.
—I will carry on to find out, because that's—. It's a question I've asked, so I want the answer too.
Diolch. With the proposed decrease of £2 million in the 2019-20 draft budget due to transference of funds—I understand that—from the Welsh in education BEL—. The Welsh Government has expanded the remit of Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. So, in view of this decrease in the budget as it currently stands, is there still sufficient in the budget to achieve the aims?
Well, I think I just need to be clear that there hasn't been a decrease in the budget. This is—
—a transfer. But we're waiting for the action plan of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. So, you'll be aware that, in relation to the Welsh language, already the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol has been quite active in terms of higher education and universities. We then commissioned a report that Delyth Evans wrote on to what extent we should be doing this in further education. So, that now—they've come up with some proposals on what should happen on the basis of that report. We're waiting for the action plan to be delivered. When we get that action plan we will have to assess whether more resources will be needed. But at the moment, we can't assess that until we know what the action plan is recommending.
A allaf i jest ofyn am hynny? Rydych chi wedi rhoi £150,000 i mewn i ddatblygu addysg bellach i'r coleg cenedlaethol, ond rydych chi'n dweud eich bod chi'n aros am y cynllun gweithredu. Felly, ar ba sail oeddech chi wedi penderfynu rhoi'r arian ychwanegol os nad ydych chi eto wedi cael y cynllun gweithredu?
Can I just ask on that? You have given £150,000 into developing further education to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, but you say that you're waiting for the action plan. So, on what basis did you decide to provide that additional funding if you haven't yet had the action plan?
Wel, rŷm ni'n gwybod bod angen gwaith, a beth sydd ei angen yw gwybod hyd a lled y gwaith, felly i ba raddau mae angen hyfforddi pobl y tu mewn i'r colegau i roi addysg trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Ond o ran gweithredu penodol, efallai fe fydd yn rhaid inni edrych ar beth yn ychwanegol, ar ben y £150,000, fydd ei angen.
Well, we know that more work needs to be done, and what's needed is for us to know the length and breadth of that work, so to what extent we need to train people within the colleges to provide Welsh-medium courses. But in terms of operating specifically, perhaps we will need to look at what additionally, on top of that £150,000, will be needed.
Ond a oes yna capacity o fewn eich cyllideb chi fel y mae'n sefyll fel eich bod chi'n—er enghraifft, os yw'r cynllun gweithredu yn dweud, 'Wel, nid yw hyn jest ddim yn mynd i fod yn ddigonol yn y tymor hir'—cael y capacity i roi'r arian ychwanegol i'r coleg?
But is there capacity within your budget as it stands that—for example, if the action plan says that this is just not going to be sufficient in the long term—you have the capacity to give additional funding to the coleg?
Wel, ni fydd hyn yn dechrau nawr tan fis Medi nesaf. Felly, rydw i'n meddwl bod digon o amser gyda ni wedyn i baratoi—
Well, this won't happen now until next September. So, I think we've plenty of time now to prepare—
Reit, ocê. Byddai nodyn, pan ydych chi'n cael y cynllun gweithredu ganddyn nhw, yn help er mwyn inni weld beth yw eu hagenda nhw a beth yw cynnwys yr hyn maen nhw eisiau ei wneud gyda'r arian hwnnw. Jenny Rathbone.
Right, okay. A note, when you have this action plan from them, will assist us to see what their agenda is and what is included in what they want to do with that money. Jenny Rathbone.
Just one follow up to the 122 early years graduates that are coming on stream next year: what involvement does the Government have in matching these new graduates with business opportunities in delivering early years education?
So, they'll have completed the course: how much involvement, if any, do you have in ensuring that they then quickly get placed?
Well, they are being trained by mudiad ysgolion meithrin, so they are part of the system. So, the people who are training them are the same people who will be providing them with jobs.
There's not going to be a problem for these people finding jobs at the end of it.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Minister, can I just briefly return to the mystery money, because I'm finding it a little opaque? The £2 million that's been transferred from Welsh in education to Welsh language—what's that £2 million supporting at the moment in the Welsh in education BEL?
So, wait a minute, let's be clear: we've got the Welsh in education, which had £5 million extra. We've now taken £2 million out of that and put it into a different BEL, which is to promote the Welsh language. Now, that was part of the agreement, okay? So, what's happening is that that £2 million is going towards the promotion of the Welsh language, which is part of the 2050 vision. I'll just give you some examples of what that's being spent on: the helpline, Dydd Miwsig Cymru, Welsh language technology, understanding bilingualism, there's the Welsh language dictionary, there's a welcome pack for people who arrive on Anglesey who might be working on the Wylfa power station. So, there are all kinds of—
So, that's what it's doing at the moment, or is that what it's intended to do? I'm not completely clear.
Okay. Well, I think, when you're presenting budgets, you need to be as clear as that, otherwise it's very difficult to follow. Basically, that activity you think is more promotional and, therefore, better suited in the Welsh language BEL—
So, why on earth have you got into this explanation about, 'Well, the Plaid Cymru agreement—', as if that's some sort of accountancy principle, I don't know? I'll just leave it at that.
I think what happened is that it went into that budget line initially until there was an understanding of where that money would be spent, and that's why it's been changed.
Can I just look at the Welsh Language Commissioner BEL? You've not quite funded the Welsh Language Commissioner's estimate of the budget they needed. I work it out as a shortfall of about £32,000 from what was in the draft budget provided by the Welsh Language Commissioner. So, why did you decide not to fully fund what the request was, then?
Well, actually, since then we've gone back to the Welsh Language Commissioner and she has re-presented her new budget, and we only received that on 31 October, so we're still going through her new proposals, which have been revised since that initial proposal. So, we are looking at those new proposals, and I think they're probably not likely to go up, because, actually, what's happening in relation to the Welsh Language Commissioner, in terms of what is happening with activities—. We've said, as a Government, that we won't be bringing any new proposals forward in relation to standards, for example, so—
Well, the current situation is that she's going to get, or the office is going to get, £32,000 less than they requested. You've now said that you asked for a revised budget, which you've had, which is going to be less than the current estimate—
Well, I think this is the justified inference of what you've said, and you then backed it up by saying where there'd be much less activity in that office. So, how much from the estimate you presented us for 2019-20—how much less is the Welsh Language Commissioner's budget likely to be than the one you presented to us this morning?
I think the chances are it's going to be a cash-flat budget, like the rest of the Welsh language—the budget lines for everything else. Again, if you look at some of the other areas of Government policy, then, actually, cash-flat in an age of austerity is showing a degree of commitment.
This is completely mystifying. They're not getting cash-flat this year; they're getting -£32,000. That's what you've presented. You've also said that the budget has been revised—
No. Wait a minute. No, no, no, that's not true. I haven't cut £32,000; she's asked for £32,000 additional. We haven't cut it. That's very different.
Okay. If I look at the last year, then, of the Welsh Language Commissioner—. So, they got—I apologise if this is my error—there was £3,083,000 last year, and there's going to be £3,051,000 this year. I mean that does seem to be a cut of £32,000 on the actual budget they had.
But isn't that because there'll be an overlap again. There's an overlap for—
So, that additional funding—. So, there will be a new commissioner in place, and that funding will fund the overlap that we are hoping and expecting will happen when we appoint the new Welsh Language Commissioner.
So, that's where the decrease comes from in the next year, then, because you won't have that overlap.
What I've got here is that the commissioner's final outturn for 2017-18 was £3.051 million. So, the budget allocation for next year, 2019-20, will be £3.051 million. Have I got that right? Oh right, so that is flat. It's already flat. And you've said it's now been revised, and because there will be less activity that they're going to get because you're changing policy it will be less than that.
No, no, no, absolutely not., Nobody is cutting anyone's budget here. What we will be asking of the commissioner is, as a result of the fact that in terms of the lack of new standards that will be introduced from the Welsh Government, because we've said we want to focus on the new Bill, there will be less work in that particular area. So, what we would expect to happen is that there will be a transfer of activity from regulation to hybu a hyrwyddo—what's that in English?
Right. So, the estimate you've presented will be the minimum they get.
Okay. Despite that, the reserves will go down to about £69,000, I think. Is that a level you're comfortable with for that office to operate? I mean, at the minute, it may be too high—it's about £600,000, I think. So, what's your policy on that?
So, what we have got to be sensitive to is that if there are any tribunal cases, for example, where cases come forward and they don't have the capacity within that cushion that they've allowed themselves, then I think, as a Government, we would have to look at that if and when that case arises. So, I think we do need to allow some flexibility there, should that kind of situation arise.
So, you've been in negotiation with the office and said, 'Look, these reserves are too high and we will basically insure against an extraordinary risk in terms of—'?
I can understand the logic of that. And then the £32,000 to tide over—is that to run two commissioners for a handover period?
Is that common practice amongst other commissioners? It makes sense to me to do it, but is that a model that's used elsewhere?
Well, I think, in an ideal world, that's what people would like to see. Sometimes, it's not possible because people are appointed at different times and they have commitments they can't get out of. I think, in an ideal world, that's what we would like to see happening. We still haven't appointed the new commissioner, so we don't know whether we will be able to use this money because it depends on the individual. But, in an ideal world, that's what we would like and that is why we've put that money aside to ensure that we can have that as a possibility.
Jest cyn symud ymlaen o’r comisiynydd, roeddech chi’n sôn yn gynharach am y stwff busnes roeddech chi’n ei wneud, a hefyd, yn y sesiwn yma, rydych chi’n dweud eich bod chi’n gwneud gwaith ar y geiriadur. A ydych chi’n hyderus bod dim crossover rhwng yr hyn rydych chi’n ei wneud fel Llywodraeth a’r hyn y mae'r comisiynydd yn ei wneud—nad ydych chi’n trawstorri o ran y gwaith a’i bod yn glir pwy sy’n gwneud beth, a bod hynny, wedyn, yn cael ei arwain gan naill ai’r Llywodraeth neu gan y comisiynydd?
Just before moving on from the commissioner, you mentioned earlier about the stuff on the business side that you were doing, and in this session, you were saying that you were doing work on the dictionary. Are you confident that there is no crossover between what you're doing as a Government and what the commissioner is doing—that you're not cross-cutting in terms of the work and it is clear regarding who is doing what and that, then, is being led, either by the Government or by the commissioner?
Rydw i’n meddwl, mewn byd delfrydol—mae lot o’r gwaith hyrwyddo yma sy’n digwydd nawr yn digwydd gan y Llywodraeth ac nid wyf i’n siŵr i ba raddau mae hynny’n briodol. I raddau, byddwn i’n licio gweld hynny’n cael ei wneud gan gorff lled braich sydd â’r expertise sydd ei angen ar gyfer y maes yna. Dyna un o’r rhesymau pam rŷm ni eisiau edrych ar ailstrwythuro, ailedrych ar beth mae swyddfa’r comisiynydd yn ei wneud. Dyna pam rŷm ni’n edrych i mewn i ddod â Deddf newydd i mewn a fydd yn rhoi’r cyfrifoldeb yma am hyrwyddo yn fwy, efallai, i mewn i’r maes.
I think in an ideal world—much of the promotion work that's happening now is happening through the Government, and I don't know how appropriate that is. To some extent, I'd like to see that being done by an arm's-length body with the right expertise that's needed for that sector. That's one of the reasons why we want to look at restructuring and looking again at what the office of the commissioner is doing. That's why we're looking at introducing a new Act that will give that responsibility for promotion to a greater extent, perhaps, to that sector.
Ie. Nid ydym ni eisiau mynd i mewn i hynny o ran yr hyn sydd yn digwydd nawr, ond, iawn.
Yes. We don't want to go into that about what's happening now, but, fine.
Ocê. Ond dyna ran o’r broblem. Rŷm ni’n awyddus i weld y comisiynydd yn cymryd mwy o rôl o ran hybu a hyrwyddo. Wrth gwrs, mae hi’n annibynnol, hi sy’n gorfod penderfynu ar ei blaenoriaethau. Ond, os nad yw hyn yn digwydd, er mwyn cyrraedd y nod rŷm ni’n edrych ati, mae’n rhaid inni wedyn weithredu fel Llywodraeth os nad yw hwn yn cael ei wneud yn fanna, i ni ei wneud e’n fewnol. Ond, wrth gwrs, mae yna drafodaethau cyson rhwng ein hadran ni ac adran y comisiynydd.
Okay. But, that's part of the problem. We are keen to see the commissioner taking more of a role in terms of facilitation and promotion. Of course, she's independent, she has to decide her priorities. But, if that doesn't happen, in order to reach our objective, we have to then work as a Government if it's not being done there, we have to do it internally. But, of course, discussions are going on regularly between our department and the commissioner's office
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd, ac ymddiheuriadau unwaith eto am orfod mynd allan ac annerch y miloedd allan fanna ynglŷn â chlefydau’r afu. Ond, nôl i faterion cyllideb y Gymraeg a rhai meysydd penodol. Mae yna £46 miliwn o grant cyfalaf cyfrwng Cymraeg a grant cyfalaf y blynyddoedd cynnar yma, a’r gobaith ydy, yn ôl y ffigurau fan hyn, creu 2,818 o leoedd ysgol ar gyfer plant ychwanegol ac ar gyfer dysgwyr cyfrwng Cymraeg, ac ati. Yn nhermau craffu ar y gyllideb a’r niferoedd yna, ac, wrth gwrs, o gofio’r cyd-destun o filiwn o siaradwyr erbyn hanner ffordd trwy’r ganrif yma, sut ddaethoch chi i’r casgliad yna bod yr arian yna’n ddigonol ar hyn o bryd? A ydy o’n ddigonol a sut ddaethoch chi at y ffigurau yna?
Thank you very much, Chair, and apologies, once more, for having to leave the meeting and give a speech to the thousands out there on liver disease. But back to budget issues and the Welsh language, and some specific areas. There is a £46 million Welsh-medium capital grant and early years capital grant here, and the hope, according to figures here, is to create 2,818 additional school places for Welsh-medium learners, and so forth. In terms of scrutinising the budget and those numbers, and given the context of a million Welsh speakers by 2050, how did you come to that conclusion that that money is sufficient at the moment? Is it sufficient and how did you get to that figure?
Rydw i'n meddwl bod hwn wedi bod yn help aruthrol—cael yr arian cyfalaf ychwanegol yma. Achos fel rŷch chi'n ymwybodol, ar y dechrau, roedd yna dipyn bach o resistance gan rai awdurdodau lleol o ran cynyddu niferoedd ysgolion Cymraeg. Mae hynny wedi newid yn syfrdanol dros y misoedd diwethaf achos y gwaith dal dwylo y mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi’i wneud gyda llywodraethau lleol. Rŷm ni wedi gweld trawsnewid yn yr agwedd gan lywodraethau lleol. Maen nhw wedi really dechrau deall ein bod ni o ddifrif ynglŷn â’r filiwn o siaradwyr yma, ac er mwyn cyrraedd y nod yna, mae’n rhaid inni roi’r strwythurau mewn lle, ac mae addysg yn hollol ganolog i hynny.
Roedd yr arian ychwanegol yma, y cyfalaf yma o £30 miliwn ychwanegol, wedi bod yn help aruthrol inni symud rhai o’r llywodraethau lleol a oedd efallai’n gyndyn ar y dechrau i agor ysgolion. Mae wedi bod yn help aruthrol. A’r peth arall yw, achos ein bod yn rhoi 100 y cant o’r ariannu, sydd yn wahanol i twenty-first century schools lle'r oedden nhw'n cael 50 y cant gan y Llywodraeth, roedd hynny’n sbardun mawr i helpu. Beth rŷm ni’n ei weld nawr yw bron i 3,000 o blant ychwanegol yn mynd trwy’r system. Felly, wrth gwrs, byddai wastad yn help i gael mwy o arian, ond roedd hwn yn help aruthrol inni symud a chael pobl i mewn i feddylfryd gwahanol.
I think this has been a huge help—to have this additional capital. Because, as you'll be aware, at the outset, there was a little resistance from some local authorities in terms of increasing the number of Welsh-medium schools. That's changed substantially over recent months because of the hand-holding work that the Welsh Government has done with local government. We've seen a transformation in the attitude from local government, and they've really started to understand that we are serious about these million speakers, and in order to reach that target, we have to put structures in place, and education is completely central to that.
This additional capital of £30 million has been a huge benefit for us to move some of these local governments that were quite reluctant in the beginning to open Welsh-medium schools. It's been a substantial help. And another thing, because we were putting in 100 per cent of that funding, which is different from twenty-first century schools where they got 50 per cent from the Government, that has been a great catalyst in helping. We are now seeing almost 3,000 additional pupils going through the system. So, of course, it would always be a help if we had additional funding, but this has been a significant help for us to move forward and get people to have that shift in mindset.
Grêt. Wrth gwrs, rydym yn sôn yn nhermau cyfalaf yn y fan hyn—gwariant cyfalaf—ac un o'r heriau mawr i gynyddu nifer y siaradwyr Cymraeg ydy'r angen i gynyddu nifer yr athrawon sy'n gallu addysgu plant ac oedolion yn y Gymraeg hefyd. A ydy hynny yn rhan o'r niferoedd hyn rydych yn sôn amdanynt yn y fan hyn? Sut mae'r cyfalaf yn y fanna yn mynd i helpu inni gynyddu nifer yr athrawon sydd eu hangen?
Great. Of course, we're talking in terms of capital expenditure here, and one of the great challenges to increase the number of Welsh speakers is the need to increase the number of teachers who can teach children and adults through the medium of Welsh. Is that part of these numbers that you're talking about? Is that part of how that capital is going to help us increase the number of teachers that are required?
Wrth gwrs, mae hwn yn fwy o faes i Kirsty Williams, ond os ydym ni'n mynd i adeiladu ysgolion, mae'n rhaid inni gael pobl i ddysgu yn ein hysgolion ni. O ran addysg gynradd, rydw i'n meddwl ein bod ni'n dal ein tir ni; rydw i'n meddwl bod digon o athrawon ar hyn o bryd. Mae hi'n broblem gynyddol ar gyfer ysgolion uwchradd; mae hon yn broblem hefyd o ran y maes di-Gymraeg hefyd. Felly, fe fyddwch chi'n ymwybodol ein bod ni wedi rhoi £5 miliwn ychwanegol i helpu sbarduno pobl i fynd ar gyrsiau Cymraeg. Nid yw hi'n mynd i fod yn hawdd. Mae yna broblem fyd-eang o ran cael pobl i hyfforddi i fod yn athrawon. Rydw i'n meddwl beth mae'n rhaid inni ei ystyried hefyd yw ei fod yn cymryd tua thair blynedd i adeiladu ysgol, felly mae yna damaid bach o amser gennym ni i baratoi ar gyfer hyn. Ond rydw i'n meddwl bod rhaid inni geisio bod yn fwy creadigol ynglŷn â sut rŷm ni'n mynd i gael mwy o bobl i gymryd diddordeb mewn dysgu mewn ysgolion cyfrwng Cymraeg.
This is more of an area for Kirsty Williams to discuss, but, of course, if we are going to build schools, we need people to teach in our schools. But in terms of primary education, I think we're holding our ground; there are plenty of teachers currently. It is an increasing problem for the secondary school sector, and it's also a problem in terms of the non-Welsh-medium schools. So, you will be aware that we've already given £5 million additional funding to encourage people to go on Welsh language courses. It's not going to be easy. There is a global problem in getting people to do teacher training. We also have to consider that it takes some three years to build a school, so we do have a little time to prepare for that. But I think we have to try and be more creative in the ways in which we're going to get more people to take an interest in teaching Welsh in Welsh-medium schools.
A allaf i jest ofyn, sori, ar hynny—? So, mae'r gyllideb ar gyfer yr athrawon newydd i gyd-fynd â'r cyfalaf yn dod o gyllideb Kirsty Williams.
Can I just ask on that—? So, the budget for the new teachers to correspond with the capital comes from Kirsty Williams's budget.
Grêt. Y cwestiwn olaf mewn maes penodol ydy: wrth gwrs, mae'r arian sydd wedi ei glustnodi gogyfer Glan-llyn a Llangrannog i'w groesawu'n fawr—y £2.75 miliwn—ac, wrth gwrs, hefyd y £5 miliwn o'r llinell wariant ar gyfer seilwaith addysg ar gyfer Pantycelyn. Mae popeth i'w groesawu'n fawr. A oes gyda ni fanylion ar sut mae'r arian yna yn mynd i gael—? Yn nhermau sut mae'r pwyllgor yma yn craffu ar wariant ydy hyn rŵan. Mae gyda chi syniadau penodol ynglyn â sut mae'r gwariant yna yn mynd i ddigwydd.
Great. The final question in a specific area: of course, the money that's been allocated for Glan-llyn and Llangrannog is to be welcomed greatly—£2.75 million—and also the £5 million from the education infrastructure BEL for Pantycelyn. Everything is to be greatly welcomed. Do you have details on how that funding—? This is in terms of how this committee scrutinises this now. You have specific ideas on how that expenditure is going to happen.
Nid wyf yn meddwl ein bod ni wedi dod lawr i gyllido pendant ar hyn, felly mae e'n benderfyniad o ran egwyddor ar hyn o bryd. Mae'r Urdd, o ran Llangrannog a Glan-llyn, yn mynd i roi 50 y cant tuag at yr arian yma, felly nid ni sydd yn talu amdano fe'n llwyr ac mae'r un peth yn wir am Pantycelyn, felly byddwn ni'n rhoi £5 miliwn a bydd y brifysgol yn rhoi eu cyfraniad nhw. Ond o ran y manylion, nid ydym ni wedi cloi lawr y manylion, ond beth fyddwn ni'n disgwyl ei weld yw ehangu capasiti y ddau wersyll. Fe fyddwch chi'n ymwybodol os ydych chi wedi bod yno bod angen moderneiddio rhai o'r meysydd. Ond rydw i yn meddwl bod hwn yn hollbwysig o ran agwedd pobl tuag at yr iaith Gymraeg, yn arbennig pobl efallai sy'n dod o gartrefi di-Gymraeg ac o ysgolion di-Gymraeg. Mae cael hwyl drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn allweddol i fi, ac mae'r profiad mae pobl yn ei gael yn Llangrannog a Glan-llyn yn gallu trawsnewid eu hagwedd nhw tuag at yr iaith Gymraeg.
Beth sy'n bwysig i fi yw os ydym ni o ddifrif am 2050, mae'n rhaid inni gofio bod rhaid inni gael 40 y cant o'r plant sydd mewn ysgolion heddiw yng Nghymru i anfon eu plant nhw i ysgolion Cymraeg, ac mae hynny'n cynnwys pobl sydd mewn ysgolion di-Gymraeg. Ac felly, mae newid eu hagwedd nhw tuag at yr iaith Gymraeg yn hollbwysig. Mae'n rhaid inni fuddsoddi mewn pobl sy'n ddi-Gymraeg ar hyn o bryd fel eu bod nhw'n anfon eu plant i ysgolion Cymraeg yn y dyfodol.
I don't think we've drilled down to specific funding on this, so it's a decision in principle currently. The Urdd, in terms of Llangrannog and Glan-llyn, are going to input 50 per cent of that funding, so we're not paying entirely for it; the same is true of Pantycelyn, where we will contribute £5 million and then the university will make their contribution. But in terms of the details, we haven't drilled down on those, but what we do expect to see is expansion of the capacity of both camps. You'll be aware if you've been there that both places need to be updated. But this is very significant in terms of people's attitudes towards the Welsh language, especially for those from non-Welsh-speaking homes and schools. Having fun through the medium of Welsh is essential, for me, and that experience that people have in Glan-llyn and Llangrannog can transform their attitudes towards the Welsh language.
What's important to me is that if we are serious about 2050, we need to remember that we need 40 per cent of those people who are in today's schools in Wales to send their own children to Welsh-medium schools, and that includes people who are in non-Welsh-medium schools. So, changing their attitudes towards the Welsh language is vitally important. We have to invest in people who can't speak Welsh at the minute so that they do, in the future, send their children to Welsh-medium schools.
Grêt. Mae hynny i'w groesawu. Wel, mae rhai ohonom ni'n ddigon hen i fod wedi gorfod aros yn Llangrannog mewn cabannau pren ac mewn pebyll, ac un hosepipe am ddŵr drwy'r wythnos, ond mae pethau wedi newid yn syfrdanol ers y dyddiau hynny ond, wrth gwrs, nid da lle gellir gwell, fel rydych chi'n gwybod.
Great. That's to be welcomed. Some of us are old enough to remember staying in wooden cabins and in tents in Llangrannog, and having one hosepipe for water throughout the week, but things have changed stunningly since then, and, of course, there is room for improvement.
Sori, jest i barhau gyda hynny, ond nid oeddwn i wedi clywed yn iawn efallai, beth sydd wedi cael ei gytuno mewn egwyddor? A ydy'r arian ddim wedi cael ei—? Y £2.75 miliwn—a ydy hwnnw yn mynd at—
Sorry, just to continue on that, perhaps I hadn't heard correctly, what's been agreed in principle? Has the money not—? This £2.75 million—is that going towards—
Mae hwnnw wedi cael ei gytuno, ond y manylion—
Yes, that has been agreed, but the details—
So, beth ydych chi'n ddweud sydd mewn egwyddor? Manylion mewn egwyddor ynglyn â sut mae'r arian hynny yn mynd i gael ei—.
So, what are you saying is in principle? Details in principle on how that money is going to be—.
Felly, byddwch chi'n gallu rhoi mwy o wybodaeth inni
So, you could provide us with more information.
So, unwaith mae'r manylion yna gennym ni, a beth sy'n digwydd—. Mae eisiau inni gloi peth o'r stwff yma lawr. Mae darparu cyrsiau iaith, er enghraifft, mae eisiau conditionality ar y stwff yma, ac rydw i'n meddwl eu bod nhw'n hapus i'w roi e, ond mae eisiau inni gael cytundeb.
Yes, once those details are with us, and what's happening—. We need to tie some of this stuff down. Providing language courses, for example, conditionality is needed there, and I think they're happy to provide it, but we need to have an agreement.
Ie, achos a ydy hyn yn mynd i fod yn one-off yn hytrach na rhywbeth parhaol?
Yes, because is this going to be a one-off rather than something that's permanent?
Bydd, yn sicr. Nid yw hwn yn rhywbeth parhaol, na.
Yes, certainly. No, it's not something that's permanent.
Thank you, Chair. When the impact of the austerity agenda means that we have a cash-flat budget, but yet, very ambitious policies to grow our number of Welsh language learners, that can often lead to some of our most innovative practices, particularly around preventative spending, and that's what I wanted to ask you about first. I wonder if you can explain to us a little bit more about the impact of Mudiad Meithrin, and how you see that affecting the spend we have on older learners. And I'm also interested in this Welsh language technology, and whether you could explain a bit more around that and how that will fit into the preventative spend agenda.
Okay. Well, I think it's clear that evidence suggests that the earlier you get a child learning a language, the more fluent they are likely to become. So, let's start them off as early as we can. And if you need to make up for that later, it's much more difficult for them. I remember my father had 300 hours of Welsh language lessons and he was absolutely hopeless, love him, because he started so late. And so, if you immerse these children as early as you can, then they absorb it. So, there's a preventative spend there. So, I think that makes sense for us, particularly if we want to reach this target. And the fact that 88 per cent of the children who go to meithrin then transfer into Welsh language schools demonstrates that this is probably money that's well worth the investment.
In terms of technology, we are very keen to make sure that we don't fall behind in the Welsh language in relation to technology. You'll be aware that we've brought out a Welsh language technology plan in the past month to make sure that we have machine translation. I think there are a lot of opportunities for money saving there. So, for example, at the moment, we have 22 local authorities all translating in their independent ways. If we can try and find methods of using machine translation, there's a system now—what they call cof cyfieithu, a kind of translation memory that just remembers the previous translation; you can get it on your mobile phone, whatever. So, the broader we can expand that, the better the translation will be in future. And I don't think any translators need to worry about being out of a job; there will be plenty of jobs in Wales for translators, but the machine translation opportunities, if we were to work together, I think there are potentially lots of cost savings there for public services in particular.
That's very interesting. Thank you. With regard to legislation, can you clarify for us by what you mean by
'No legislation will be introduced that will impact upon the 2019-20 financial year'?
So, you'll be aware that we're working on a Welsh language Bill at the moment, but that won't be presented during the next financial year. So, that's the main reason. There won't be any new standards introduced. We've made that clear, because we want to simplify the process, and that will be part of this new Welsh language Bill. So, that's why we've said, 'Let's pause for a while before we introduce new standards.'
And the other thing is that, in the past, we've had statutory instruments in relation to the strategic education plans. So, that's gone through. We may have a little bit of work to do on SIs. That's the only area, perhaps, in relation to Welsh education strategic plans, where I think we may see a little bit of legislation in terms of the costs. So, that's why the costs are quite low.
Vikki, cyn i ti symud ymlaen at Brexit, rydym ni'n mynd i gael cwestiynau gan Dai Lloyd a David Melding. Ydy hynny'n iawn? Dai Lloyd.
Vikki, before you move on to Brexit, we're going to have questions from Dai Lloyd and David Melding. Is that okay? Dai Lloyd.
Diolch yn fawr. Yn benodol ar ddatblygu Bil y Gymraeg newydd, wrth gwrs, mae hynny yn edrych o ambell safbwynt fel bod y system safonau bresennol wedi cael ei barlysu neu ei barcio i'r ochr yn rhywle. Rydym ni wedi derbyn gwybodaeth, achos mae pobl yn defnyddio adnoddau cyfrwng Cymraeg efo nifer o gwmnïau rŵan, ac mae gwybodaeth wedi dod i law oddi wrth SSE Swalec sydd yn dweud, o achos y bwriad i ddatblygu Bil y Gymraeg rhywbryd yn y dyfodol, mewn dwy neu dair blynedd, nid ydyn nhw'n mynd i fuddsoddi mewn unrhyw adnoddau ychwanegol rŵan achos maen nhw'n disgwyl i weld beth fydd yn troi mas. Fe wnaf ddyfynnu'n uniongyrchol o'r cwmni:
Nid ydym yn bwriadu buddsoddi yn sylweddol mewn nwyddau dwyieithog newydd nes ein bod yn gwybod beth fydd ein rhwymedigaethau iaith Gymraeg yn dilyn cyhoeddiad y Bil newydd.
Ni fydd cyhoeddiad y Bil newydd yn digwydd am ddwy neu dair blynedd, felly mae hynny'n rhoi hawl i gwmnïau fel hyn—fyddwn i ddim yn meddwl mai nhw ydy'r unig gwmni—i wneud dim byd, neu o leiaf bod y system bresennol yn cael ei pharlysu, sydd wrth gwrs ddim yn mynd i fod o fudd wedyn os ydym ni'n dal i drio cyrraedd 1 filiwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg.
Thank you very much. Specifically on developing a new Welsh language Bill, that, of course, will look from some perspectives as if the current standards regime is paralysed or has been parked to one side. We've received information, because people use Welsh-medium resources with a number of companies now, and information has come to hand from SSE Swalec that says that because of the intention to develop the Welsh language Bill sometime in the future, in two or three years, they're not going to invest in any additional resources now because they are waiting to see how things will turn out. I'll quote directly from the company:
We don't intend to invest significantly in new bilingual resources until we know what our obligations regarding the Welsh language will be following the publication of the new Bill.
The publication of the new Bill won't happen for two to three years, so that gives companies such as this one—I don't suppose that this is the only company—the right not to do anything, or the current system will at least be paralysed, which of course isn't going to be of benefit if we're still trying to reach 1 million Welsh speakers.
Rydych chi'n ymwybodol, os na fydd Bil newydd, bydd dim hawl gyda ni i ofyn i'r cwmnïau preifat yma i wneud dim byd beth bynnag. Felly, mae'n bwysig ein bod ni'n canolbwyntio ar ddatblygu Bil newydd, rwy'n meddwl, i sicrhau ein bod ni'n gallu rhoi arweiniad i gwmnïau felly. Rwy'n meddwl hefyd ei fod yn bwysig ein bod ni'n symleiddio'r broses. Nid wyf yn meddwl ei fod yn gwneud synnwyr inni gyflwyno mwy o safonau ar hyn o bryd tra ein bod ni yn y broses o geisio symleiddio sut rydym ni'n mynd i wneud safonau yn y dyfodol. Felly, nid wyf yn meddwl bod lot o synnwyr i ni gario ymlaen gyda chreu safonau os ydym ni'n mynd i newid pethau yn y dyfodol.
You'll be aware that, if a new Bill isn't introduced, we'll have no right to ask these private companies to do anything anyway. So, it's important that we focus on developing a new Bill, to ensure that we can give leadership to these companies. I also believe that it's important that we simplify the process. I don't think it makes any sense for us to introduce more standards at present while we're in the process of trying to simplify how we approach the standards in future. So, I don't think that there's much sense in us carrying on with creating standards if we're going to change things in future.
Rwy'n credu mai'r ddadl yw, mewn ffaith, fod dim byd yn mynd i ddigwydd rŵan am ryw ddwy neu dair blynedd nes bydd y Bil Cymraeg newydd yn dod. Hynny yw, mae eisiau rhyw fath o hwb i gwmnïau fod y safonau Cymraeg presennol yn dal yn ddilys ac yn weithredol a bod angen mynd i'r afael â nhw a gweithredu yn gadarn efo nhw, ac nid defnyddio'r ffaith y bydd yna Fil Cymraeg yn dod yn y dyfodol fel rhyw fath o esgus i anghofio popeth am unrhyw safonau Cymraeg.
I think the argument is, in fact, that nothing is going to happen now for about two or three years until the new Welsh language Bill is published. That is, there is a need for some sort of boost to companies that the current standards are still valid and operational and that they are required to act steadfastly on them, and not use the fact that a Bill is going to come in the future as some sort of excuse to forget everything about the Welsh language standards.
Sy'n wir, ac wrth gwrs mae hynny'n gwneud lot o synnwyr. Rŷch chi'n gwybod bod safonau iaith newydd yn dod mewn ar gyfer iechyd, ac mae'n rhaid inni sicrhau bod y rhai sydd eisoes mewn lle ar gyfer llywodraeth leol ac ati yn dal i gael eu rheoleiddio. Rhaid ichi gofio, ar hyn o bryd, nid oes hawl gyda ni i ofyn i'r cwmnïau yma i wneud dim byd. Felly, mae'n gwneud synnwyr, rwy'n meddwl, i sicrhau ein bod ni yn canolbwyntio ar greu Deddf newydd a fydd yn rhoi yr hawl i ni roi safonau newydd. Mae'n rhaid inni fod yn sensitif yn y ffordd rŷm ni'n ei wneud e, ond fe wnaf gael gair gyda'r rheini.
Which is true of course, and it makes sense. You'll know that new standards are being introduced for the health sector, and we must ensure that those that are implemented at the moment for local government and so on are still going to be regulated. You have to remember that, at present, we don't have the right to ask these companies to do a thing. So, it makes sense, I believe, to ensure that we do focus on creating a new Bill that will give us the right to implement new standards. We have to be sensitive in the way that we go about this, but I will have a word with those.
Minister, you've said the new Bill won't be introduced before April 2020. Will it be introduced in the final year of the Assembly? Can you give us that assurance?
Well, that's the plan. We're working through it at the moment. That's the intention. I actually think everything's up in the air because of Brexit. We have no idea what's going to happen, what the fall out of that will be and how that will impact on the core legislative programme. But, the intention at the moment is that we are working hard on the Bill.
Okay. That's a fairly soft answer, if I can be respectful; it doesn't sound that urgent. Because if we're between two regimes, you need to simplify, you need to do all sorts of things, you'll have regulation and bringing in private companies, especially utilities, don't we need a firmer commitment? Not everything can get scuppered by Brexit. Surely not even the most bizarre of its convolutions would stop us introducing flagship legislation on the Welsh language.
Jest o ran staffio, yn glou, ar hyn o bryd rwy'n credu bod adnoddau staffio ar gyfer y maes yma'n dod o'r gwasanaeth sifil yn gyffredinol. Pe byddai yna gomisiwn newydd yn cael ei greu, yn amlwg byddai'r gweision sifil hynny ddim yn gweithio i'r Llywodraeth. A fyddai angen wedyn arian ychwanegol ar gyfer creu mwy o swyddi ar gyfer y comisiwn, neu a fyddech chi'n gweld bod swyddfa'r comisiynydd fel y mae yn ddigonol er mwyn gwneud y swyddogaeth honno?
Just in terms of staffing, quickly, I think at the moment staffing resources for this area come from the civil service in general. If there was a new commission created, then clearly those civil servants would not be working for the Government. Would there be a need therefore for additional funding to create more posts for the commission, or would you see that the commissioner's office as is is sufficient to do that work?
O ran deddfu, yn amlwg mae'n rhaid inni gadw hynny tu fewn i'r Llywodraeth. Ni allwch chi roi hynny mas i'r comisiynydd. Beth fuaswn i'n licio'i weld byddai mwy o waith yn mynd i'r comisiwn o ran hybu a hyrwyddo.
In terms of legislating, of course, we have to keep that within the Government. You can't put it out to the commissioner. What I'd like to see is more work being undertaken by the commissioner to promote.
Na, o ran y staffio. Ar hyn o bryd mae mwy o gapasiti staffio dros y gwasanaeth sifil. Yn amlwg, os byddech chi'n creu comisiwn gwahanol, efallai byddai angen mwy o adnoddau ar gyfer y comisiynydd yn hynny o beth a bydd hynny ddim ar gael yn uniongyrchol o'r gwasanaeth sifil gan fod hynny ar wahan. Felly, a ydych chi wedi meddwl ynglŷn â'r angen i adeiladu capasiti newydd, efallai, o fewn swyddfa'r comisiynydd i baratoi at y realiti hwnnw neu a ydych chi heb feddwl am hynny eto?
No, in terms of staffing. Because there's more capacity across the civil service. Clearly, if you created a different commission, perhaps there would be need for more resources for a commissioner in that sense and that wouldn't be available directly from the civil service because that would be separate. So, have you thought about the need to build new capacity, perhaps, within the commissioner's office to prepare for that reality or haven't you thought about that yet?
Wel, rwy'n meddwl bod cynllun eithaf clir gyda ni ein bod ni eisiau gweld rhai o'r sgiliau hybu a hyrwyddo, sydd ar hyn o bryd y tu fewn i'r Llywodraeth—sydd wedi cael eu hadeiladu tu fewn i'r Llywodraeth dros y cwpwl o flynyddoedd diwethaf—bod yn rhaid inni ddatblygu'r sgiliau yna y tu fewn i swyddfa'r comisiynydd. Felly, tan ein bod ni'n cael gwell syniad o sut yn union y bydd hynny'n cael ei weithredu a ble yn union fydd y cyfrifoldebau yna—ond yn sicr, dyna ran o'r pwrpas o greu comisiwn fydd yn gryf, fydd yn anelu at y 2050 yma. Mae'n gwneud synnwyr, rwy'n meddwl, fod hynny'n cael ei wneud y tu fas i'r Llywodraeth. Wrth gwrs bydd yn rhaid inni adeiladu'r capasiti yna y tu fewn i'r comisiwn, bydd.
I think we have quite a clear plan that we want to see some of the promotion skills that are currently held within the Government—that have been developed within the Government over the past few years—that we have to develop those skills within the commissioner's office. So, until we have a better idea of how exactly that will be implemented and where exactly those responsibilities will lie—but certainly, that's part of the purpose of creating a commission that will be robust, that will aim for that ambition in 2050. It makes sense, I think, that that is done outside of Government. Of course, we'll have to develop that capacity within the commission's office.
Thank you, Chair. I'd just like to turn to the issue of equalities, if I might. I know that 'Cymraeg 2050', although it's a very all-encompassing document, there's nothing specifically in there about how the Welsh Government would engage with minority and ethnic groups or people with disabilities either. I wonder whether you feel that that is already addressed because it's such an inclusive agenda, or do we need to look at something separate there?
We are, I think, very aware of the situation that what we don't want is to create some kind of elitist situation where what you have is white, middle-class families are the only people who speak Welsh. That's changed. That's been transformed, I think. What we're getting now is people from all backgrounds. I think we still have work to do in some communities. Where we do open schools in areas where there's a high instance of representation of ethnic minorities, we actually try and ensure that we reach out into those communities and we reach out to the leadership of those communities.
We are in the process of developing a new school in an area where there is quite a high intensity of ethnic minorities, and the idea is to make sure that, for example, we put an ysgol feithrin in there early enough so that they see that as a pathway. So, we are absolutely on that issue. Of course, you'll be aware that the concentrations of ethnic minorities are in particular cities. So, yes, we are very clear that what we don't want is a situation where it is a white, middle-class—.
I know in the school where my children went it was quite interesting: there was a 10 per cent representation from ethnic minorities at one point, which was higher than the Welsh—than what was happening in the community. So, actually, in terms of it being a comprehensive education, it's actually becoming more reflective of society, which is a good thing. I think that's something we would encourage.
On disability, I think there's always been a campaign and an effort within Welsh language communities for children with disability issues to be mainstreamed through the medium of Welsh and there have been great examples of where that's happened all over Wales. People in the past have had to fight for it, but I think that is now happening.
Great. And one final question from me, please, and that's about Brexit. Obviously, we can't look at the Welsh language in isolation. That sort of approach never works and we know that our heartlands for Welsh speaking are our rural communities, and there are obviously lots of concerns there about the impact of Brexit upon the rural economy and how that might affect our numbers of Welsh speakers there. So, I wondered if you could tell us any thoughts you've had about how the budget would ensure that the Welsh language and the 'Cymraeg 2050' strategy are at the heart of any discussions on Brexit and the future of rural communities.
We are intensely aware of the numbers of Welsh-speaking farmers that will be impacted or potentially impacted by Brexit. And we are aware that if there are real challenges in that sector, that will have consequences for the Welsh language. So, we're keeping an eye on that, because what we're talking about is our heartland Welsh-speaking areas that will be impacted. It's very difficult because so much of this is out of our control, but we are intensely aware of the situation. We are making sure that we feed that into the consultations that are going on. But so much of that is out of our control.
Mae'n jest rhaid i fi godi un peth ynglŷn â beth wnaethoch chi ei ddweud mewn ymateb i Dai Lloyd yn gynharach. Mi wnaethoch chi ddweud nad oes hawl gan y comisiynydd i wneud unrhyw beth yng nghyd-destun SSE, ond rydw i ar ddeall bod y comisiynydd wedi cyflwyno adroddiad safonau ar gyfer SSE, ac nid oes angen deddfwriaeth ar gyfer dod â safonau gerbron. A fyddech chi eisiau gwneud sylw ar hynny?
I just have to raise one issue regarding something you said in response to Dai Lloyd earlier. You said that the commissioner had no right to do anything in terms of SSE, but I understand that the commissioner has introduced a standards report for SSE, and there is no need for legislation in terms of bringing standards forward. Would you like to comment on that?
So, mae'r utilities yn cael eu cyfro, i raddau, yn y ddeddfwriaeth. Beth sydd ddim yn cael eu cyfro yw rhai o'r sectorau preifat eraill—felly, archfarchnadoedd a phethau felly. So, dyna ble bydd sgôp y Mesur newydd yn gallu helpu.
Utilities are being covered, to some extent, in the legislation. But what's not covered are some of the other private sectors—so, supermarkets and such like. So, that's where the scope of the new Bill will be able to help.
Ocê, ond ar y pwynt penodol yma, mae yna gapasiti o dan y safonau presennol i wneud. So, pwynt Dai Lloyd oedd y ffaith bod SSE yn barod i weithredu ond bod dim safonau wedi dod gerbron gan y Llywodraeth. Felly, a ydych chi'n cydnabod, pe byddai hynny wedi digwydd, bydden nhw'n gallu gweithredu'r safonau hynny?
Okay, but on this specific point, there is capacity under the current standards to do so. Dai Lloyd's point was the fact that SSE was willing to act but no standards had come forward from the Government. So, do you acknowledge that if that had happened, they would be able to act on those standards?
O ran utilities, byddai hynny'n wahanol i archfarchnadoedd. Ydy, mae hynny'n wir.
In terms of the utilities, that would be different from supermarkets. Yes, that's true.
Ocê. Iawn. Diolch yn fawr iawn am ddod gerbron y bore yma, a byddwn ni'n cysylltu, mae'n siŵr, gyda chwpl o ddiweddariadau a nodiadau sy'n ychwanegol i chi eu rhoi i ni, ac unrhyw beth ychwanegol y bydd y pwyllgor yn ei gael o ran cwestiynau. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Okay. Thank you very much for attending this morning, and we will be in touch, I'm sure, with a couple of updates and notes that are in addition to those you're going to provide, and anything additionally that the committee will have in terms of questions. Thank you very much.
Byddwn ni'n cymryd seibiant o ddwy funud.
We'll take a short break of two minutes.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:37 a 10:45.
The meeting adjourned between 10:37 and 10:45.
Diolch a chroeso i'r pwyllgor. Eitem 3 ar yr agenda, craffu blynyddol ar Ofcom Cymru. Croeso i Eleanor Marks, sef—nid wyf yn credu bod gennym ni'r teitl yn fan hyn—prif weithredwr Ofcom Cymru, a Lindsey Fussell, cyfarwyddwr grŵp, cysylltiadau allanol defnyddwyr, Ofcom Cymru. Sori, roedd fy mriff i'n wahanol yr wythnos yma, so ces i—.
Thank you and welcome to the committee. Item 3 on the agenda is the annual scrutiny of Ofcom Wales. Welcome, Eleanor Marks, who is the chief executive of Ofcom Wales. I don't think I have the official title. Yes, there we go, chief executive, and also Lindsey Fussell, who is group director, consumer external relations, for Ofcom Wales. Sorry, my brief was different this week.
Cyfarwyddwr Cymru, dim prif weithredwr.
Director Wales, not chief executive.
Oh, thank you.
Pan fyddwch chi yma yn flynyddol, byddwn ni wedi ffrwyno beth rydym ni angen ei ddweud. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am ddod i mewn atom heddiw. A ydych chi eisiau gwneud cyflwyniad byr, gan eich bod chi'n newydd yn y swydd, neu a ydych chi'n hapus i fynd i gwestiynau? Mae e lan i chi beth—.
When you're here every year, we'll have reined in what we're saying. Thank you very much for coming in today. Would you like to make a brief introduction, because you're new in post, or are you happy to go straight to questions? It's up to you what—.
Dim ond i ddweud mai pleser yw bod yn y swydd. Mae'r rhan fwyaf ohonoch chi'n gwybod rydw i wedi symud draw o'r Cynulliad. Mae llwyth o'r materion roeddwn i'n delio â nhw yn fanna yn dod lan yn Ofcom, ac mae'n gyfle da iawn i fi i wneud gwahaniaeth ar yr ochr yna—yr un peth roeddwn i'n gallu gwneud gwahaniaeth yn gweithio i'r Llywodraeth ar y pryd. Felly, symud i'r cwestiynau, rwy'n credu.
Just to say that it's a pleasure to be in post. Most of you know that I've moved across from the Welsh Government. A number of the issues I dealt with there have arisen in Ofcom, and it's a good opportunity for me to make a difference on that side—the same as I could make a difference in the Welsh Government at the time. So, move to questions, I think.
Grêt, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi. Wel, ie, dyna beth roeddwn i eisiau cychwyn gyda fe: beth yw eich blaenoriaethau chi yn y swydd benodol yma? Wrth gwrs, rydym ni'n cydnabod bod yna gysylltiad cryf ag Ofcom ar lefel Brydeinig. Beth ydych chi eisiau ei wneud sydd yn mynd i, efallai, ddilyn trywydd unigryw i chi yma yng Nghymru, sydd yn mynd i fod yn wahanol i beth sydd wedi digwydd o'r blaen, er enghraifft?
Great, thank you very much, then. That's what I wanted to begin with, actually: what are your priorities in your post now? We acknowledge that there's a strong relationship on a British level. What are you going to do that's maybe going to follow a unique path here in Wales that is going to be different from what's happened before?
Wel, un o'r blaenoriaethau sydd gen i yw adeiladu ar y berthynas sydd gydag Ofcom â'r Llywodraeth, â'r Cynulliad, â'r rhanddeiliaid allanol, tu fas, gyda ni, ac i weithio gyda nhw dros Gymru, yn enwedig ar bethau fel mobile, yr ardaloedd gwledig, broadband yn yr ardaloedd gwledig, ac i ddatblygu'r berthynas i fod yn gallu bod Ofcom yng Nghymru a Chymru yn Ofcom, ac mae hynny'n rhywbeth rili bwysig i mi, bod y ffocws y ddwy ffordd—y polisïau sy'n dod mas o Ofcom rŷm ni'n gallu efallai eu newid neu ehangu neu ddweud beth sy'n bwysig i Gymru, a'r ffordd arall o gwmpas hefyd. Felly, rydw i'n ffeindio fy nhraed, ac yn meddwl, 'Beth allaf i ei wneud yn strategol i ddatblygu'r berthynas rhwng pob parti yna?'
Well, one of the priorities I have is to build on the relationship that Ofcom has with the Government, with the Assembly, with the external stakeholders, and to work with them across Wales, in particular on issues such as mobile, the rural areas, broadband in rural areas, and to develop the relationship to be one of Ofcom in Wales and Wales in Ofcom, and that is something that's very important to me, that the focus is a two-way relationship in terms of the policies that come out of Ofcom that we can perhaps change or expand or say what's important to Wales, and the other way as well. So, I'm finding my feet and thinking, 'What can I do on a strategic level to develop the relationship between every party?'
Ocê. Roeddech chi'n sôn ynglŷn â'r berthynas â'r Cynulliad a'r Llywodraeth. A allech chi esbonio beth rydych chi'n ei weld sy'n mynd i fod yn wahanol nawr gyda'r memorandwm cyd-ddealltwriaeth, sydd yn mynd i efallai newid sgôp yr hyn mae Ofcom yn ei wneud o ran adrodd i'r pwyllgor yma, neu'r berthynas â'r Cynulliad yn gyffredinol?
Okay. You were talking about your relationship with the Assembly and the Government. Can you explain what you see is going to be different now with the memorandum of understanding that's maybe going to change the scope of what Ofcom does in terms of reporting to this committee, or its relationship with the Assembly in general?
Ocê. Os yw'n iawn gyda'r pwyllgor, fe wnaf i droi i'r Saesneg i ateb.
If it's all right with the committee, I'll turn to English to respond.
The memorandum of understanding is very new. It builds on the relationship that all parties have there, and I think in a year's time we'll be able to better see what difference that has made. But I think what it—. The first thing it's going to make a difference on is that space to consult all parties on Ofcom's policies. Our annual plan is being launched in December, and that's a draft, and we'll be expecting people to get that, look at it, and we look forward to consulting with people on what goes into that, and hearing back from the committee in that space. But it's also really important in framing the relationship between the parties, and we may come to it later, and about that appointment of a new board member representing Wales on the Ofcom board. But I think it's—. What's been done is a very practical sense of pulling together the relationship that was out there and making sure that all parties know what it is, that we're clear about it. And that consultative part of it is a really important space for us. I think it helps to develop the influence on policies, the knowledge of what is happening, and to make a difference to what we would see as consumers in Wales and the people of Wales in that space.
Roeddech chi'n sôn ynglŷn â'r apwyntiad o aelod bwrdd newydd Cymru. Yn amlwg, yn yr Alban, roedd yr apwyntiad hwnnw wedi cychwyn ym mis Chwefror. Mae cryn wahaniaeth amser nawr rhwng penodiad yr Alban a Chymru. Rydw i ar ddeall eich bod chi wedi hysbysebu, ond pam mae e wedi cymryd mor hir? Beth yw'r stoppage block fan hyn?
You were talking about the appointment of a new board member for Wales. In Scotland, that appointment started in February. There's quite a difference in the time span for Wales's appointment. I understand that you have advertised, but why has it taken this long? What has been the stoppage block here?
Shall I come in there? Apologies; I can't answer you in Welsh. I should explain that I head up the consumer and external relations group at UK level in Ofcom, which includes all our nation's offices. So, as you say, we are in the middle of appointing our Wales board member. That's, of course, an appointment for the Welsh Government, but we're running the process on their behalf. The advertisement is placed, we have a recruitment consultant on board, and I think the advert closes towards the end of November, and we expect interviews to take place in December.
In terms of why this has been a slower process than the process for appointing the Scotland board member, there was a requirement for a particular piece, I think, of secondary legislation to pass through the Welsh Assembly before the process could begin. So, that's why it's taken us a little while longer to be able to start the process, but we are very much looking forward to having the Wales board member on board early next year.
It might be difficult for you to answer, but I'm just wondering what role that person can play, because, I think, if I did have a criticism, it's perhaps that we need to understand how Wales can be heard clearer in Ofcom deliberations on a UK level. So, what do you envisage that person being able to do and influence, acknowledging the fact that it's just one person, and how much can one person realistically influence what you do on a UK level?
Well, I think it's a really important appointment for us, and I can reflect a little bit on at least the early experience with the Scotland board member, Bob Downes. What we would say is, in terms of what we're looking for from somebody to fill this post, absolutely, we're looking for somebody who can provide the board with insights and expertise about what's going on here in Wales in terms of broadcasting and telecommunications. But I think it's also really important to say that this person will be a full board member of the Ofcom board, so expected to input across the full range of issues on post, telecoms and media broadcasting, regardless of how they impact different bits of the UK. So, it's absolutely not that our nations board members are in some way different from other board members who set the strategy for the overall organisation; they are full members of the board and input in that way.
Thank you, Chair. In regard now to Ofcom's, I believe, first responsibility in terms of being an external regulator for the BBC, how do you envisage the ability to—and I hope this is never the case—invoke sanctions? So, in terms of those regulatory conditions, could you just very briefly scope for the committee what those key regulatory conditions would be?
Okay. Well, I'll kick off and then Eleanor may want to come in on anything that relates specifically to Wales. We've obviously set a number of conditions in the BBC's operating licence, and we have just published our first annual report into the BBC's performance. It's probably important to say that a number of the conditions are annual conditions, and, in that respect, they won't be reported on until next year because they haven't had a full year yet to run. Clearly, we then have the ability to monitor the BBC's performance against those conditions, consider how it's performing, consider whether any of the targets need to be strengthened, or whether other action is required. We also, of course, have our more traditional role, if I may call it, which applies across the public sector broadcasters, around dealing with complaints, and complaints about accuracy, impartiality of content, and, again, we obviously have the ability to apply sanctions in that area as well.
So, in regard to the supportive role within Ofcom of looking at how we extend reach or portrayal or breadth of content, et cetera, do you see that there is any tension between the two? Or is it just a fact of life today?
I don't think—. We have, as you would expect, constant and consistent relationships at senior levels, and, indeed, at all levels with the BBC, as, of course, we do with other broadcasters. In terms of representation and portrayal, you, hopefully, will have seen our first representation and portrayal report that was published in October. That very much, we hope, sets the baseline for information about how viewers across the UK see different groups represented and portrayed on the BBC, and the reason for publishing this is to support and challenge the BBC to improve. That seems, to me, to be the right space for us to be. Clearly, if we then don't see sufficient progress being made, we can step in with harder targets, but I think the focus of all of our regulation is to shine a light on BBC performance and encourage them to improve that performance and to develop, with, of course, the backstop of further regulation and sanction, if that doesn't pass the test.
Our findings have shown that the BBC is very popular in Wales, and it has the highest percentage of viewers watching it, and that, generally, people were quite happy with the representation and portrayal, but not in all cases, and it's also seen as quite Cardiff- and Swansea-centric at this point. And one of the recommendations that came out of the report in October is that it needed to do more work on that representation.
So, in that regard, if I can just cut in, obviously, we have an understanding of that in this committee in terms of that desire to do more as one of the challenges. So, in regard to how you go about mitigating that and progressing that particular area around representation and portrayal, how do you explain and extrapolate as to how you can encourage and support that journey?
Well, I think it's an encouraging start from the BBC, and, at the moment, Ofcom is in the position of having asked the BBC to look at it and do more. The recommendations have been accepted, and we will be looking at it again when we do the next annual report to see what that is. I don't think there's anything more in-depth at this point and at that stage, but we will be keeping an eye on it.
Can I just ask on that—? Do you have a clear way of analysing what 'portrayal' meant? Because we've tried to get that information out of the BBC on numerous occasions, but they just tell us a list of the programmes that they deem to be Wales-based, and, therefore, represent portrayal. Do you have a more nuanced analysis of what 'portrayal' means?
Well, the reality is, of course, 'portrayal' means different things to different people, doesn't it? And I think one of the things that came out very strongly from the report is that certain groups, for example, may well say—disabled groups are a good example of this—that they feel that representation's improved, but, actually, often, the way disability's portrayed doesn't represent the full gamut of experience of disabled people in the UK.
What we try and do is—. What we've tried to do in our report is have a bit of a mix of quantitative data where we can. You may have seen some of the findings we did around, for example, gender, and particularly older women, but also relying quite heavily on extensive, qualitative research, which we did with viewers across Wales—we ran a number of stakeholder workshops in different parts of Wales—to get a sense of how they feel that Wales and different parts of Wales and different people in Wales are being portrayed. And I think when you think of the full gamut of UK experiences and people throughout the UK, and the way that they want to recognise themselves in the BBC's output, you will always be quite reliant on some of that qualitative work as well as hard, quantitative targets.
It's just that I was wondering how easy sanctions are going to be to put on to the BBC if you're telling me portrayal is something different to different people. Isn't it going to be really hard to put sanctions, then, on the BBC when your definition of what portraying a disabled person is different to somebody else's? Do you know what I'm saying? That's what I was trying to figure out.
Yes, I do understand, and I agree. I think some of these things are hard to put quantitative targets around, but what I think we will—we will be requiring the BBC to report on how it is doing against what we have said. So, that will hopefully give you some of the data that you have been seeking. We will then re-run our work to see how people think that that is how that feels in reality, and that will enable us to see if the BBC is progressing and think whether we need to be putting more specific measures in place for particular groups. The BBC obviously has its own diversity targets, which it needs to report on as well.
So, in that regard, it's very difficult, then, to measure—and you've sort of touched upon that—and one of the key things is not just how we produce Welsh-specific content in Wales. It is also portrayal from other UK nations of the Welsh idiom and also stereotypical content, and it's well known that we often see Welsh characters who seem particularly dim or in a sort of ridiculous fashion—sometimes, that does happen—and it's not necessarily just from Wales; it's outside of Wales. So, obviously, there's a role around that. So, it would be very interesting in the annual plan to see how you can actually tackle that particular issue. I'm sure the committee will be very interested in that. So, how do you encapsulate, then, the route-map for progress in terms of the issues around not just portrayal but reach of programming, and also in a sense universality of programming from Wales?
I suppose we would link it back to the PSB requirements about the amount of English language programmes made in Wales for audiences in Wales, and that's a really important thing for us to track against the targets, but also the amount of English language production across the network that is used for Wales and represents Wales in that space. It's not just things like Doctor Who and Casualty, which are made in Wales but are not representative of Welsh people in that space. But we would look at that, and we would also look then at programmes like Keeping Faith and things that are representative of people in the place, in Wales, and how that goes across the network. So, they are flags that we would look at—
But in your role, if I may interrupt—. In your new role—and it's important that we have that and that we have now secured that—how are you personally going to be able to drive those types of systemic issues forward in Wales? What's your plan?
There are two things to say about that. My role is part of Ofcom's role. They are two sides of the same coin, and the analysis will be done by the experts on the analysis in London. My relationship will be with the BBC in Wales, and I have had already and will continue to have conversations about the spend in Wales, the kind of production that's made in Wales, what their challenges are, how we do that, and it will be a closed loop between me and Ofcom in Riverside House in London and how we do that.
Okay, thank you. Finally, then, in regard to planning around news production, the 32 hours is going to remain for the BBC. Is there any plan for any review around news and current affairs?
Yes. We have just announced, as part of our performance report, that we will be starting a review of the BBC's news output. We collect anyway annual research about news consumption across the UK and where people are sourcing their news, which is from an increasingly diverse array of sources. We are still at the very early stages of scoping that review and what it will be looking at. So, I'm not able to say too much more because we just haven't developed that thinking, but we will be saying some more about that in the new year.
And finally, if I may, you've obviously majored around the BBC, but in terms of your roles within ITV and S4C what are the major issues that you would be looking to scope within this year?
As you all obviously realise, there's a bit of a hierarchy with the PSBs, depending on what sort of level of regulation we can impose, with the BBC attracting the most regulation. In relation to ITV, as you know, they've now got a new long-term licence. We've set a number of conditions and quotas in that, including in relation to programming relevant in Wales, and of course also to programming made outside London. We will be, of course, continuing to monitor their performance and publishing that in our annual PSB report. Do you want to say something about S4C, Eleanor?
I do indeed. Ofcom in Wales has a good relationship with S4C already, but it has been said that there's a little bit of a lack of clarity around the roles, about what exactly the regulatory function is and who does what, and we are developing some work with S4C, which we will share more widely, probably in a memorandum of understanding, to show exactly who does what and what the nature of that regulatory role is—
Probably in the new year, early in the new year. That's a 'probably' bearing in mind that I've been in this role for two months. But it would be good once everybody sees that because it takes what is happening now, clarifies it and then everybody can see what that space is. Shall we write to you when we've got it and you can then share it with the committee?
I just wanted to pick up on something that Rhodri Williams, who was your predecessor, said. He said that, whilst there's going to be a reduction in the requirement for ITV, nevertheless, you were going to be insisting that news and current affairs would stay in peak hours. I don't think that's our experience. I mean, current affairs tend to go out in the twilight hours. And, so, I just wondered if you'd like to—
It would be interesting to see your views on what those current affairs are outside that, because the requirement is that it is in prime hours, or at least in the shoulder space around prime hours.
No, neither would I. What I don't have the number of is how much is in that prime space at this point. It seems—
Okay. Well, I'd urge you to have a look at it because I think that current affairs is largely relegated to times when most people aren't able to watch.
It is factual and current affairs, isn't it, that needs to be in that space as well as news?
Dai did have some questions on ITV. I'm not sure whether you have anything to add.
We can always expand on things. [Laughter.]
Achos, wrth gwrs, cyd-destun hyn i gyd, fel rydych chi wedi clywed efo'r cwestiynau ynglŷn â'r BBC, ydy'r portread o Gymru gan y rhwydweithiau mawr—gwnawn ddechrau efo ITV Cymru—neu'r diffyg portread y buasai rhai ohonom yn dweud. Yn amlwg, mae pethau'n wahanol yng Nghymru, ond weithiau mae'n anodd iawn i bobl allan fanna i ddeall eu bod nhw'n wahanol, achos weithiau mae yna gyhoeddiad mawr o San Steffan sydd yn dweud rhywbeth am iechyd neu addysg neu rywbeth, ac mae pobl Cymru yn meddwl ei fod yn ddilys yn y fan hon hefyd, pan nad yw e. Ni wnaf byth anghofio, tua 18 mis yn ôl, meddygon yn Ysbyty Treforys eisiau mynd ar streic achos roedd y meddygon iau yn Lloegr ar streic. Nid oedd hynny'n golygu bod meddygon Cymru ar streic, ond dyna o le yr oedd y portread wedi dod—o'r ffynonellau newyddion ac ati sydd gyda ni.
Ac, wrth gwrs, mae'n papurau newyddion ni wedi dirywio i'r fath raddau y mae pobl wedi mynd i ddibynnu ar faterion ar-lein. Felly, ynglŷn ag ITV Cymru, a ydych chi'n berffaith hapus bod y drwydded tymor hir, y 10 mlynedd yma sydd gyda chi rŵan—rydych chi wedi trwyddedu ITV Cymru—yn mynd i fynd i'r afael efo'r busnes yma nad yw pobl Cymru yn sylweddoli beth sydd ymlaen pan ddylen nhw? Byddai rhai pobl yn fodlon dadlau mai hynny'n rhannol ddaeth â chanlyniad Brexit i ni, a'r ffordd gwnaeth Cymru bleidleisio fel y gwnaeth Lloegr bleidleisio, achos diffyg ymwybyddiaeth o beth sy'n mynd ymlaen yn y fan hon.
Because, of course, the context of this, as you've heard from the questions about the BBC, is the portrayal of the Welsh nation by the big networks—we'll begin with ITV—or the lack of portrayal, some would say. Obviously, things are different in Wales, but sometimes it's very hard for people out there to understand that they're different, because sometimes there's a big announcement from Westminster that talks about health or education, and people think that it's valid here in Wales, when it's not. I'll never forget, around 18 months ago, doctors in Morriston Hospital wanting to go on strike because the junior doctors in England were on strike. That didn't mean that doctors in Wales were on strike, but the portrayal came from the national news.
And, of course, our newspapers have deteriorated to such an extent that people have begun to rely on online sources. So, in terms of ITV, are you happy that the long-term licence, the 10 years that you have now—you've licensed ITV Wales—is going to address this business of people in Wales not understanding what is going on when they should? Some people would argue that that's partly what gave us the Brexit result, and the way in which people in Wales voted in the same way as England because of the lack of understanding of what goes on here.
Yes, I'll have a go at starting on that. I think, just an overarching point I would make is that, in setting out our quotas and targets for each of the public service broadcasters, we have to be proportionate. So, we have to take account of the costs that we impose on them for our different targets versus the benefits they get from being a PSB. And that is what I meant by referring to the fact that broadcasters that are largely publicly funded, like the BBC and S4C, can be subject to tighter regulation and more quotas than broadcasters like ITV, who are commercially funded. So, that is a judgment that we have to take all the time in thinking about all the targets that we could set.
In relation to the ITV licence, we didn't change the targets for the production of news, but I am well aware that they are set at a level below what has traditionally been the output of news. So, they were inherited from the trust. That's clearly something that we would need to keep under review, and if we felt that ITV weren't meeting those targets, or if those targets were no longer seen to be sufficient, we would have to reconsider that, but, again, within the balance of our overall judgment on proportionality. We can't just raise targets without thinking of the overall impact on the channel.
And my understanding from colleagues in respect of ITV is that the target of four hours of news and 90 minutes of non-news programming per week is being met, and within that, that 47 minutes of current affairs is being met. Now, I will take your point and look at it further, but my understanding is that the targets that are in place are being met, and in some places are being exceeded. But if the committee has concerns, then, clearly, we will take a look at it.
Diolch am hynny. A jest cwestiwn ar S4C. Wrth gwrs, mae S4C yn hanfodol bwysig i'r genedl yma, ac rydym yn gwybod nad yw Ofcom yn trwyddedu S4C yn yr un un ffordd ag y mae'n trwyddedu ITV, er enghraifft, neu Channel 4. Ac, wrth gwrs, mae lot o heriau nawr—gwahanol blatfformau digidol ac ati—ac mae S4C wedi dod o flaen y pwyllgor yma yn cydnabod yr heriau yma, a bod angen newid; nid jest gwasanaeth teledu yw e. Ond, yn nhermau plwraliaeth allbwn newyddion, er enghraifft, mae yn bwysig achos gall newyddion S4C gael lein dra gwahanol, ac iachus wahanol, i beth mae'r BBC ac ITV yn ei gynhyrchu yn aml yn nhermau newyddion. Achos, rydym ni'n colli plwraliaeth ym mhobman efo, fel roeddwn i'n ei ddweud, diffyg papurau newyddion ac ati. Wrth gwrs, mae yna newidiadau gerbron ac mae yna adroddiad annibynnol ar ddyfodol S4C, ac wrth gwrs bydd y system ynglŷn â sut mae holl gyllid S4C yn newid i fod yn ffi ac ati. Mae yna sawl her. Beth ydych chi'n ei feddwl, yn nhermau eich perthynas chi efo S4C, o ran eu rheoleiddio nhw mewn ffordd fwy traddodiadol fel rydych chi'n ei wneud efo ITV, a sut ydych chi'n mynd i'w cynorthwyo nhw a dweud y gwir? Achos, wrth gwrs, mae'r sianel—er ein bod ni wastad yn teimlo bod S4C wastad o dan ormes achos mae siaradwyr Cymraeg yn gymaint o leiafrif yn y fan hyn ac ati, ac ati, er nad ydw i'n derbyn hynny, gyda llaw—ond mae S4C yn ysbrydoliaeth i ieithoedd lleiafrifol byd-eang jest achos ei bod hi'n bod yn y lle cyntaf. Wedyn, beth ydych chi'n gweld fel eich rôl chi, fel Ofcom, i helpu S4C i aeddfedu a thyfu?
Thank you for that. And just a question on S4C. Of course, S4C is vital to this nation, and we know that Ofcom doesn't license S4C in the same way as it licenses ITV and Channel 4. And there are a number of challenges now—different platforms, digital platforms and so forth—and S4C, when they've come before this committee, acknowledge and recognise these challenges, and that change is needed; it's not just a television service. But in terms of plurality of news output, for example, it is important because S4C news can have quite a different line, and a healthily different line, to what the BBC and ITV produce quite often in terms of news. We're losing plurality everywhere, as I said, because of the decline of newspapers and so on. Of course, there are changes and an independent report on the future of S4C, and of course there'll be the system of how the whole funding of S4C will change to be a fee and so forth. There are a number of challenges. What do you think, in terms of your relationship with S4C, in terms of regulating them more traditionally as you do with ITV, and how are you going to assist them, really? We always feel that S4C is under siege because Welsh speakers are in such a minority and so forth—I don't accept that, by the way—but S4C does inspire other minority languages worldwide just because it exists. So, what do you think your role as Ofcom can be to support S4C to mature and grow?
Rwy'n gweld mai ein rôl ni yw helpu fel rŷm ni'n gallu gwneud regulation gyda phawb arall. Mae'r berthynas gydag S4C yn bwysig iawn yn enwedig dros yr iaith Gymraeg. Mae Ofcom yn gwerthfawrogi—
I see our role as helping so that we can regulate everyone else. The relationship we have with S4C is very important, particularly in terms of the Welsh language. Ofcom appreciates—
Sorry. It really values the relationship of the Welsh language and we've just issued our first report to the Welsh Language Commissioner on that basis. We would want to see S4C in this space and improving.
Equally, thinking about digital, they've launched a new digital service. It'll be interesting to see how that develops and we'll watch very closely to see the numbers that use that. I'm not in a place to say how much further or differently they will do that, but they've made the commercial decision to go with that and I think they are a very important part of the public service broadcast picture in Wales. We should value that and support it.
Can you tell us how we're progressing on updating the regulatory relationship with S4C? Obviously, we've had the UK Government accepting the recommendations of the independent review in March this year. What steps are now being taken to implement those recommendations?
Sorry. It wasn't green so I worried for a second.
Many of the recommendations obviously weren't for Ofcom itself to implement. I know there were some very significant recommendations around funding and around governance and so on, which are either for the Government to agree with S4C or for S4C itself to tackle.
As Eleanor has already mentioned, the most important recommendation for us was to clarify, really, our regulatory relationship with S4C—I think, not because we weren't clear about it but because it was felt that stakeholders weren't clear about the fact that we do impose a range of regulatory obligations on S4C in terms of its programming and we also have the right to investigate complaints about S4C, as we do with other public service broadcasters. Although, I have to say, I think we've had an extremely small number of complaints about S4C over the years compared to other broadcasters outside the public service broadcast space. So—
So, what's stopping you, then, simply having the same standards of regulation over other public service broadcasters—you know, the BBC, ITV? In what way do you think it's currently different?
I'm not sure it is very different. Eleanor may want to come in here. As I was saying earlier, what we need to do with all of our public service broadcasters is take a proportionate approach, thinking about the costs and benefits to them and set our quotas and targets accordingly. In relation to S4C, as others have said, it's an incredibly important channel. It's fantastic to see that its viewership has increased so much, particularly at a time when a lot of other public service broadcasters are really struggling to get more eyes on the screen if I can put it that way. So, we're really keen to support that and our regulation needs to reflect that.
Eleanor, do you want to—?
I think it's really good to see that S4C has almost as many viewers across the UK now as it has in Wales, which is really important. I think the other point that comes up when we talk about what does S4C need is about prominence. I think, you know, Ofcom has consulted on the electronic programme guide and prominence in that space and the proposal is that S4C stays in its current slot on No. 4 in Wales, and I think that's really, really an important thing for us to take forward. We're looking at lots of things over EPG, and we will be bringing something out in the new year about other proposals in that space, but I think that that S4C slot in Wales at No. 4 on the first page is a really important one for us.
Okay. One of the requirements you impose on S4C is that 53 per cent of its programming has got to be subtitled. How widely do think that is known for those who are not fluent in Welsh?
To be absolutely frank, I have no idea, but I can look it up and I will come back to you. I don't know how widely it's known—
Well, I think that is a key issue, isn't it? If you want to increase the number of viewers on S4C, you've got to be able to drive up the numbers who are now—audiences generally seem to be happy to look at subtitles. We're imbibing all sorts of Scandinavian dramas et cetera, so it seems to me that that's quite a significant issue, and—
I know it's important, I just don't have the numbers to hand so I'll happily find out.
Okay, fine. But in terms of your regulatory arrangements, where would you see the responsibility lies—on the code of practice, on S4C itself to make more of a meal of that, or—?
I think the memorandum of understanding that Eleanor was referring to will hopefully be a really good way of publicising the requirements that we do place on S4C, including, as you say, the accessibility requirements. Generally, of course, accessibility is a hugely important topic across the UK, and not just in relation to S4C, and I certainly hope that we could use the memorandum of understanding to publicise that, but also, of course, there's a really important role for S4C there themselves to use that as a positive advantage to sell to viewers and potential viewers.
Sori, Jenny, cyn i ti symud ymlaen at radio, mae Rhianon Passmore eisiau dod i mewn yn glou.
Sorry, Jenny, before you move on to radio, Rhianon Passmore wants to come in on this quickly.
Diolch, Chair. Just on that particular point in terms of you in your regulatory function and around key performance indicators, for instance, like the 53 per cent of subtitles for S4C or the news hours for ITV, how do you reassure yourselves that, when you are told that these targets have been met and somebody's ticked that box and given it to you—how do you then rigorously assess that that is the case? Or is it just taken as read that because they've told you that it's done you're happy with that?
We certainly wouldn't take it as read, no. So, we require them to provide us with a certain degree of information to verify. Clearly, we don't watch 24/7 of television within Ofcom, but we require them to provide that information in a way that we can test and verify and take samples. Clearly, if we do receive also complaints and concerns, including from committees, such as that, that also can give us a flag to actually look and check more comprehensively. But it's, I think, a pretty standard regulatory broadcasting framework in that way in terms of having the statutory powers to collect data from organisations in order to verify that they're doing what they're supposed to.
Moving on to radio, obviously the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is proposing to deregulate analogue commercial providers to enable them to compete effectively with digital and online providers. How does Ofcom view that as changing your relationship in relation to commercial providers?
Absolutely. So, as you say, DCMS has set a pretty clear direction of travel in terms of deregulation of commercial radio, although we don't as yet know when any of the legislation might take place to enact that change. But they did, as I know you've heard evidence before, ask us to consider what could be done in that spirit in advance of legislation. And it was also, in any event, time for us to look at our localness guidelines as they impact commercial radio. So, we have been carrying out a consultation on that this year, which I know the committee have engaged with, and what we've sought to do on the basis of our research is to give commercial radio more flexibility about where content is actually produced, without relaxing the really important requirements around, for example, local news in terms of what is the relevance of the content. Because people told us that they care less about whether the studio is a few miles away, and more about whether the content they're hearing reflects the local area. So, we've sought to give them that flexibility.
As you probably know, we've responded to concerns from this committee amongst others that our original proposal was to define the whole of Wales as that approved area for where the hours of locally produced content had to be, and we've now come out with a second consultation proposing two areas in north and south Wales to reflect those concerns that, otherwise, there was a risk that too much of the content would be produced from Cardiff, as I understand. So, that consultation is still ongoing and we hope to close and conclude on the whole piece at the beginning of next year.
The consultation closes on 30 November, so if there were any views that people wanted to feed into that, now would be a good time to do it.
Okay. So, at the moment, you think it's on hold in terms of your ability to influence the way in which news is gathered locally, regardless of whether it's—.
At the moment, our regulatory powers are not changed—we have the powers we have—and we have localness guidelines and are seeking to do sensible and appropriate things for commercial radio regulation in that. I think it would clearly be quite a strange time for us to go off in a totally new and different direction in relation to, say, the regulation of news. The DCMS have indicated that, in terms of their own views on deregulation, when they get to the legislation, local news is one area that they would consider to see as important. But, clearly, we need to see how their thinking and that legislation develops in order to inform our own regulation. For now, we obviously continue with the powers we have.
So, how much do you recognise that this is actually a really important area in terms of the underpinning of democracy, given the weakness of our printed media and the fact that large numbers of people in Wales do listen to radio? This is where they're going to be getting their news about facts, as opposed to fake news.
A large number of people in Wales listen to radio, and a large number of people in Wales listen to commercial radio, so we are very aware that it is an important market, and it is important that news is delivered in that space.
The consultation has gone ahead this time, both in Wales and Scotland, because of the influencing of people like this committee, like our own advisory committee and that in Scotland recognising the importance of localness and recognising the importance of local news, and about local issues being available and on commercial radio for people to hear. So, once we know where we're going and the outcome of that consultation again, we will be looking to see what those guidelines need to say.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Continuing on the issue of radio and commercial radio in particular, the localness guidelines that were referred to, in terms of the approved areas, we had three and now you're proposing two, which is better than one, but they're still quite large areas. But in terms of the actual local content, it seems to me that part of the UK Government's drive is that the commercial sector is now so healthy that it generates within it enough competition to ensure that you're going to get local relevance, otherwise people switch to another station. We don't have the same number of commercial stations in Wales; their commercial return is the lowest of any part of the UK. So, if we don't see minimum requirements for local content, we're going to be particularly disadvantaged, so why didn't you respond to that aspect of the committee's consultative response to you?
Eleanor may well want to come in as well. I think we do still have, as you know, requirements for locally relevant content, if I can put it in that respect, on commercial radio stations. What we've relaxed is in terms of the location of the production of some of that content. I think there is always a balance in all of these things in terms of increasing quotas and targets, because we know that imposes costs on commercial radio stations. And so, we always have to seek a balance in what we choose to do there. I think that, as you say, local radio is incredibly popular in Wales, as elsewhere, and any minimum target reset is a floor rather than a ceiling. So, we, obviously, encourage stations to exceed those minima and to attract listeners on that basis, because we know that people are really keen to hear about what is going on in their local area.
It is a really important point for us and we're aware of it, and it is that balance between making sure that there are commercial stations that can survive, and recognising the picture you paint in Wales, and the balance between what we ask them to do, the importance of localness, and the survival of the stations. And I think that's something we have to bear in mind when we look at the results of this second piece of consultation and what the ask is after that.
And how flexible could your local guidelines be? Is Wales tied into a UK model or could you vary it?
Do you mean could we set different guidelines specifically for stations in Wales?
So, you could have a higher minimum in Wales than in other parts of the UK.
As far as I know, there's no reason why we couldn't do that. I think we'd need to think about what the impact of that would be on Wales's commercial radio, particularly, bearing in mind your point about returns and financial sustainability versus other—. So, we would need to have some quite sound reasoning as to why that was necessary.
Can I just come in on that? I think the rationale was that local news can be just about whether there's a traffic jam in an area of Swansea, whereas in Wales the uniqueness would be that we would need Welsh national news to be defined or to be included in that definition of local, otherwise people are not going to find out what the Assembly's doing. So, I think that's what our radio report that we're going to be reporting on soon will try and reflect on, because you will only get so much from that narrow definition of 'local'.
In fact, we're looking forward to the radio report to see what it says, as are our advisory committee in Wales. And, I think, if it is covered in more detail there, then it's probably another conversation post this meeting to see what you have to say about it in more depth.
Yes, and, my apologies, I misunderstood the question's idea of a separate nationwide regulatory—. I think the thing I would say about that—what you're really asking there is almost for a new regulatory category around nation news or Wales news, if I can put it that way.
It is a little. I think, of course, we could look at it. I think it does have to be seen, rather, in the context of the general DCMS work around commercial radio deregulation, though. I think, at the moment, creating new regulatory categories, in advance of knowing what the broader direction of travel is, is potentially quite difficult for us to do. But I understand the point.
Moving on to digital switchover for radio—I think the UK Government set two criteria, one of which was when 50 per cent of all radio listening is via digital platforms. The UK average has now hit that. We're just below in Wales, and I think in Scotland and Northern Ireland they're a bit more distant—sorry, Scotland's like us, but Northern Ireland's a bit more distant. But that 50 per cent threshold, obviously, probably needs to be passed more consistently, but we are getting there, when you think where we were five years ago. So, is there any likely timescale on that? How is your work shifting to being able to adapt to that?
Well, recognising that it's over 50 per cent on a UK average, it's certainly still below in Wales and I think a little less than it was previously at this point. We're waiting—we will have to wait for the UK Government's decision on where it goes with that, because it's a UK Government policy, it's not an Ofcom policy on where we go next with that.
So, I think the relevant DCMS Minister for radio said in September that the UK Government hoped to make a statement soon—I know that 'soon' isn't a definite timescale—about the direction of travel in relation to digital switchover, and I would assume, at that point, they may well ask us to provide advice or to do more technical work, including on the position across different nations, but we are in their hands in terms of both the timing and what role they might ask us to play.
So, are you doing any preparatory work at the moment, given that one of the criteria is now met?
So, we're not doing new and different preparatory work, because, as I say, we are waiting to hear what the DCMS direction of travel is, particularly in terms of timing. What we do, obviously, continue to do and publish each year—we monitor the use and reach of digital radio in all of the nations, in cars and on major roads, in order to try and begin to assess what some of the challenges would be if switchover was to take place in future.
Okay. I wonder if I could conclude by asking a very specific question. It relates to Nation Radio's application for an FM licence for Radio Ceredigion. The current station format refers to, and I quote,
'regular and identifiable Welsh language programming'.
The new application makes no specific reference to Welsh language content, but instead proposes to deliver, and again I quote,
'a distinctive, Welsh-in-Character service'.
Now, this is a critical issue in terms of one of the most important national policies, which has complete endorsement across all political parties, is to drive to a bilingual Wales and 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050. So, Welsh language policy is really important and I just wonder where we are with this particular application and, is it, given the area it serves, in keeping with the sort of Wales that, certainly in the Assembly, we want to see?
As I understand it, had they rolled over our application to the fast-track process, they would've