An effectively written Gaelic language plan enables successful implementation. It is also important to remember that plans will only have a maximum lifespan of five years before they are reviewed. It is crucial that the development of Gaelic within an organisation is seen as a long-term commitment, impacting across all departments, with consecutive reviews of the plan building on previous achievements to reach the long-term goal. This requires leadership, innovation, vision and coordination.
Where to start
Although each public authority is required to develop its own unique Gaelic language plan, the Bòrd very much encourages cooperation and communication between public authorities that exercise similar functions when implementing their plans as they can be expected to face many of the same sorts of challenges in providing services to the public in Gaelic and in using Gaelic in their internal processes.
A good, practical idea is worth its weight in gold and there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. The advantages of organisations learning from each other leads to best practice, encouraging information exchanges and more efficient economies of scale (in the joint production of materials, for example).
A Gaelic language plan is a corporate responsibility
You will achieve your Gaelic language plan's intended outcomes most effectively when there is a clear understanding that implementation and monitoring is a corporate responsibility and when your plan's targets are meshed with the current planning priorities of your organisation. Your Gaelic language plan should be mainstreamed as part of your on-going strategic and operational planning.
Like writing a Gaelic language plan, implementation works in stages and in dialogue. Indeed, implementation will have been addressed already in the writing process as a part of the document itself.
For many public authorities the preparation of a Gaelic language plan will be the first time that they have considered Gaelic as part of their operations. This is why delivering Gaelic awareness training is a helpful and even essential way of fostering the confidence and understanding needed to take the process forward. It is recommended that Gaelic awareness training be delivered, particularly at senior management and board level, at an early stage in the development and implementation of your plan. Bòrd na Gàidhlig works with Clì Gàidhlig in delivering Gaelic Awareness training sessions and more information on this can be found in the resources section of this page.
Assess your needs
It is important that an early assessment of the provision of Gaelic across your organisation is made and it is advised that this is done via an internal skills audit, either as a stand alone project or as part of existing mechanisms e.g appraisals or all-staff surveys. Experience to date has shown that most organisations already employ Gaelic speakers who may be able to deliver some of the services they currently deliver in English or other languages through the medium of Gaelic. These audits also identify where gaps exist in relation to commitments in the plan and should guide recruitment and training requirements. Finally, this has proven to be an excellent method of assessing demand for Gaelic skills training within the workforce.
Publicise and promote the plan
Once a Gaelic language plan has been approved by the Bòrd it is vital that people know about it, both within and outwith your organisation. These are the key distribution methods that should be used to publicise the plan:
- publishing it bilingually on your website and social media
- issuing a press release announcing the plan
- making copies of the plan available in your public offices and reception areas
- making the plan known to employees via your intranet
- distributing copies of the plan to non-departmental public bodies and agencies, agents and contractors
- distributing copies of the plan to Gaelic organisations
- distributing copies of the plan to other interested bodies
- making copies available on request
- continue to publicise the plan throughout its lifespan, within and outwith your organisation
The ultimate intention is that services committed to in Gaelic language plans should become integrated into the normal running of the organisation. The majority of actions can be cost neutral if they are introduced through a rolling programme of change on an incremental basis. However, the Bòrd recognises that in the early stages of a plan, some additional costs may be incurred. In light of this, public authorities may bid for assistance through the Gaelic Language Act Implementation Fund (GLAIF) which opens to bids on an annual basis.
Gaelic Language Act Implementation Fund (GLAIF) 2016-17
The 2016-17 round of the Gaelic Language Act Implementation Fund (GLAIF) is now closed.
The 2005 Act places responsibility on the Bòrd for monitoring progress with implementation of Gaelic language plans. This process requires the public authority to provide information on progress regarding all commitments in the plan on an annual basis if requested by the Bòrd. It is advised that a commitment to provide a yearly monitoring report to the Bòrd is included in your plan. This annual monitoring process is supplemented by less frequent independent external assessments.
Monitoring the plan is not just essential for effective implementation, it also informs the review process and allows for regular evaluation. In order to support you in this process the Bòrd has developed a monitoring report template: use of this will ensure that you are reporting on all the required elements and ensures that the Bòrd gains an effective overview of delivery of plans across Scotland. Your monitoring process should include:
- progress reports to Bòrd na Gàidhlig, submitted annually on the date which the plan was agreed by the Bòrd
- internal audits of staff Gaelic language skills and Gaelic awareness, and Gaelic services
- auditing of the impact of corporate plans and policies on the status, visibility and provision of Gaelic, which is fundamental to the effective mainstreaming of the language