Wales

Welsh speaker sought by English council

A person on a mobile phone
Image caption Forestcare handles out-of-hours social care calls for a range of councils and housing groups

A council in the south-east of England is hiring a Welsh speaker to respond to calls from elderly and vulnerable adults in Flintshire.

Forestcare, an arm of Bracknell Forest Council in Berkshire, runs an out-of-hours helpline for several councils and housing groups across the UK.

Flintshire has paid £80,000 for a Welsh-language version of the service.

Previously, Forestcare used a translation service to deal with calls from Welsh speakers.

The service is looking for an emergency response officer who speaks Welsh to work in its control room, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Forestcare handles out-of-hours telephone calls relating to people in assisted living schemes and alerts from "lifeline" personal alarm systems.

In the case of Flintshire, the calls would come from elderly or vulnerable people living about 200 miles from the control centre.

Working on shift patterns around the clock, emergency response officers are required to liaise with families and care providers and, in the case of calls from the Bracknell area, to respond in person.

The council said it had recently taken on a contract "where there is a requirement for Welsh speaking staff in line with the Welsh Language Standards".

These are rules set by the Welsh Government for the expected level of Welsh language provision by suppliers of public services.

A spokeswoman said the authority "currently meets this requirement by use of a translation service".

"However, as staff are to be recruited to this new contract we are now advertising for a Welsh speaking staff member," she added.

Flintshire County Council has been asked to comment.

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