Publication - Consultation paper

Gaelic Language Plan 2015-2020: draft for consultation

Published: 27 Apr 2015
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Arts, culture and sport

Draft Scottish Government plan regarding the development of Gaelic.

Gaelic Language Plan 2015-2020: draft for consultation
Chapter II: Core Commitments

Chapter II: Core Commitments

The commitments in this section relate to how the Scottish Government, in addition to its funding of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and other projects related to fulfilling the National Plan for Gaelic, will use and enable the use of Gaelic in relation to its main business functions. These will be divided into the following areas:

Identity and Visibility

Communications and Publications

Staffing and Training

The Scottish Government recognises that each of these three areas play an important role in raising the profile and visibility of Gaelic, and of creating practical opportunities for Gaelic speakers and learners.

For each area, this Plan will highlight the Scottish Government's current practice (including many initiatives successfully implemented since the current Plan), and areas for development, with reference to the High Level Aims discussed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government during the Plan review process. In addition, all commitments from the current Plan will stand as appropriate.

The Scottish Government operates across all areas of Scotland therefore in developing our Gaelic language provision, we will adopt a minimum level of provision which will apply to all of our areas of operation and will provide an enhanced level of provision in areas where there is growth in the number of Gaelic speakers and demand for service.

Section 1 - Identity and Visibility

The presence of Gaelic in the corporate identity of a public authority can greatly enhance the visibility of the language, and makes an important statement by a public authority about how Gaelic is valued and how it will be given recognition.

Maintaining the quality, consistency and richness of the language used publicly ensures the status of the language is maintained.

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of creating widespread awareness of the use of Gaelic and of promoting a positive image of it.

Current Practice The Scottish Government has a bilingual logo, which is now used as standard across all our operations.
Bilingual versions are available of all letter templates, and teams are being made aware of their existence and encouraged to use them at all times.
Gaelic versions of all Directorate and Division names are available. These are updated as needed by the Gaelic & Scots Team as names change internally.
All Ministers now have bilingual letterheads available.
Bilingual signage is used throughout the Scottish Government estate, in external and entrance signs to most buildings, & signage in public reception areas.
External signs to Scottish Government buildings are bilingual, with buildings to the north and west of the Caledonian Canal showing the Gaelic first followed by the English, and elsewhere English followed by the Gaelic.
The bilingual logo is now used for all new corporate clothing worn by house staff at Scottish Government buildings, having been phased in from May 2014.

Areas for Development Target date Lead Business Area
High Level Aim The Scottish Government logo will be refreshed, giving more prominence to Gaelic in the coming months. 2015 Marketing
  A database will be maintained of internal division and agency names to be used where appropriate, and updated when necessary to ensure consistency within the organisation. Immediately Gaelic & Scots Team/Facilities/ Digital

Section 2 - Communications & Publications

The use and visibility of Gaelic in communications between members of the public and a public authority contributes to the sense that the use of Gaelic is possible and welcome. In addition to raising the profile of the language, it also creates opportunities for its practical use and encourages members of the public to use Gaelic in subsequent dealings with the public authority.

The use of Gaelic in a range of printed material, in the media and online increases the visibility of the language, and enhances Gaelic's status when used in high-profile publications, and it can help develop new, and enhance existing, terminology. This helps demonstrate a public authority's commitment to making important information available through the medium of Gaelic. As more people access information about public authorities through their websites, making provision for the use of Gaelic can significantly enhance the status and visibility of the language.

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of creating opportunities for the practical use of Gaelic in a wide range of everyday situations and is committed to increasing its level of provision in this area.

Current practice
Bilingual signs are in place in reception areas across all core Scottish Government buildings.
Front of house and Central Enquiries Unit staff receiving enquiries (telephone, mail or email) in Gaelic can pass these on to the Gaelic team where a fluent Gaelic speaker can respond to their query.
All correspondence received in Gaelic is responded to in Gaelic. This is passed to the Gaelic team for translation as needed.
Automatically generated text such as email disclaimers is bilingual, and all such text will be bilingual in future.
Gaelic is considered for forms, and bilingual forms issued where appropriate. Forms in Gaelic are welcomed and encouraged, and acknowledged in Gaelic.
Consultations will be issued bilingually where appropriate, and responses in Gaelic encouraged. Consultation responses received in Gaelic will be responded to in Gaelic.
We encourage the use of Gaelic in public meetings in areas where there is a large number of Gaelic speakers present. We are able to advise on procedures should a Gaelic interpreter be required.
A Gaelic version of our Complaints leaflet is available online.
Ministerial quotes and speeches can be provided bilingually on request from the Gaelic team.
A number of news releases and social media items are released bilingually, primarily when a topic relates particularly to the Gaelic language.

Current Practice Gaelic is included in the branding of new communications projects, e.g. the website of the Office of the First Minister
We encourage the use of Gaelic in all relevant exhibitions. Organisers will consider whether the content and/or target audience indicate that it should contain any information in Gaelic in addition to English.

Areas for Development Target date Lead Business Area
High Level Aim We will work with Directorates to explore the opportunities to include Gaelic in news activities and social media, covering matters of national importance as well as matters relevant to the Gaelic language in Scotland. During the life of Plan Communications/ Gaelic & Scots Team
  The Scottish Government will have a representative available for interview or comment in Gaelic if requested by Gaelic media, and will publicise this availability. Immediately Communications/ Ministerial/ Gaelic & Scots Team
High Level Aim Continue to explore an increase in Gaelic presence on all Scottish Government websites (including corporate website, internal staff intranet and new websites as they are developed), taking into account the principle of equal respect, visibility and usability of Gaelic. During the life of Plan Digital/ Gaelic & Scots Team

Section 3 - Staffing and Training

In order to deliver services through the medium of Gaelic, it is necessary to develop the requisite job skills and language skills of their staff. The provision of language learning for staff helps promote adult Gaelic learning, and promote Gaelic as a useful skill in the workplace. The identification of jobs in which Gaelic is an identified skill will contribute greatly to the status of the language, and in identifying it as a positive skill to acquire.

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of recognising Gaelic as an important job skill and of identifying situations in which its use is essential or desirable. The Scottish Government also recognises the importance of enabling staff to develop their Gaelic skills where they wish to do so.

Current practice We have held Gaelic Awareness sessions in the past and are able to advise Scottish Government staff with an interest in learning Gaelic of opportunities.
The Scottish Government employ a Gaelic Plan Officer, based within the Gaelic & Scots Team, with responsibility for internal translations & implementation of the Gaelic Language Plan within the organisation.
Level of Gaelic skills required for certain posts will be considered where necessary and specified when recruiting to these posts.

Areas for Development Target date Lead Business Area
High Level Aim We will explore the needs of Gaelic language learning and promote availability to Scottish Government staff where desired. By end 2017 Gaelic & Scots Team/People Development
  We will further Gaelic awareness through policy making for senior officers. By end 2017 Gaelic & Scots Team
  We will use our Learning Gateway to support our Training Liaison Officers when promoting Gaelic language learning. By end 2016 Gaelic & Scots Team/People Development


Email: Ruaraidh MacIntyre

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road