Writing a Gaelic language plan is a challenging but rewarding process. Our role is to guide you through the process and to make your plan not only easier to write, but also easier to implement – and effective in its results. There is a lot to be gained from a well-considered plan that affords respect both to the Gaelic language and its users, and which builds on the unique strengths of your organisation.
Your workplace is indispensable for raising the status of Gaelic and extending its use, whatever the linguistic make-up of the community you serve. However, our expectation for the level of Gaelic services provided will increase as the proportion of Gaelic users increases within the communities you serve, and particularly if it rises to 20% or more.
Work is an important part of our lives and the way we treat Gaelic in the workplace can reflect our attitude towards the language and how we pass this on to our friends and family. Formal support for Gaelic at the workplace also confirms to Gaelic users that their skills are valued and encourages non-Gaelic users to see it as a useful skill to acquire in their professional lives.
Guidance on creating a Gaelic language plan
This section aims to provide an overview of the key areas that should be covered in a Gaelic language plan. More detailed information is contained within the official Guidance on Development of Gaelic Language Plans which can be downloaded from the resources section of this page. Developments within these areas should signify a concrete commitment to Gaelic and the way in which the organisation enables its staff and service users to learn and use the language, the primary aim being the creation of an environment conducive to the use of Gaelic in public life. All developments should be underpinned by the guiding principle of equal respect. In a practical sense this means that where Gaelic is introduced into operations and services it should be on an equal basis to English with the long-term aim of mainstreaming the language.
- corporate identity
Demonstrating equal respect for Gaelic and English in your corporate identity and in your organisation's signage has an immediate impact on the status of Gaelic, making it visible, accessible and valued. The inclusion of Gaelic has a strong awareness-raising effect both amongst the public and within the organisation, creating a positive image of the language and promoting its use. The presence of Gaelic in signage and corporate identities lets Gaelic users know that Gaelic is welcomed and valued by the organisation.
- mail and e-mail
- public meetings
- complaints procedures
- internal communications
Enabling communications through the medium of Gaelic increases the visibility and status of the language and creates opportunities for its practical use, for staff and the public. Including Gaelic in daily communications raises its profile as a modern language and adds to the mainstreaming of Gaelic in Scottish public life.
- printed material
- public relations and media
- websites and social media
Including Gaelic in printed materials enhances the visibility and status of Gaelic within the organisation and amongst the public. The increased volume of Gaelic in published materials provides a valuable resource to develop Gaelic literacy in support of Gaelic education initiatives and helps develop terminology which is current and responsive to change.
- language learning
- designation of Gaelic essential / desirable posts
There are two important elements in relation to staffing. Firstly, to ensure that the organisation has the skills to serve the Gaelic speaking public in relation to its functions. Secondly, to support Gaelic speaking communities by providing employment and Gaelic usage opportunities in these areas. These can be enabled through two routes: recruitment and training. It is important to identify posts where Gaelic language skills are essential or desirable and also to provide training to up-skill existing staff that could fulfil these requirements.
Gaelic corpus relates to developing the 'body' of the language. Public authorities have a key role to play in ensuring that standards of orthography (the Gaelic writing system) are used in public life. This extends to utilising existing corpus resources such as the national Gaelic place-names database on signage. Gaelic corpus includes the following areas:
- increasing the relevance and consistency of the Gaelic language
- increasing the quality and accessibility of Gaelic translations and interpretation
- increasing the availability of accurate research information
- Gaelic orthographic, terminological and place-name development
- developing expertise on Gaelic translation and interpretation
- encouraging Gaelic surveys and research
Developing Gaelic language plans that are reasonable and proportionate
The Bòrd recognises that Gaelic language plans will differ depending on the functions of individual public authorities and where they operate in Scotland, and in terms of the number of Gaelic users and the potential for the development of Gaelic in their area.
The Bòrd is committed to working with authorities individually to achieve Gaelic language plans that are reasonable and proportionate according to their circumstances.
Process of creating a Gaelic language plan
Who should develop the plan and how?
Bòrd na Gàidhlig approaches public authorities in Scotland who have a key role to play in the development of Gaelic - we make this decision based on the extent to which the authority could contribute to the implementation of priority areas of the national plan, the extent to which Gaelic is used in the authority’s areas of operation, the potential for the authority to develop the use of Gaelic, and any representations received by the authority in connection with Gaelic services.
Below is a brief overview of the practical process of creating a Gaelic language plan, highlighting the key steps. More detailed information, including an overview of the statutory requirements for developing Gaelic language plans, is contained within the resources section of this page and it is essential that these resources are consulted before embarking on the process.
Whether you are working on the first, second or third iteration of your plan, you should refer to the following steps:
- Take note of the following guidance from the Bòrd:
- Guidance on Developing Gaelic Language Plans and the Bòrd’s template Gaelic language plan which is based on this guidance
- The formal notification requiring that a Gaelic language plan be prepared
- High-level aims which have been agreed by the Bòrd and the Scottish Government
- The National Gaelic Language Plan
- Internal Audit - evaluate Gaelic provision and resources across your organisation:
- For all itereations of your plan consider the current status of the language, not only within your organisation but also in the external community that it serves
- If you are reviewing your plan in preparation for a further iteration you can also evaluate whether you achieved your previous targets and how they will be maintained or built on
- Address each of the five key areas as set out in the guidance section, taking into account the individuality of your organisation, from location to activities
- Set up targets - be aspirational but realistic and proportionate. Analyse how you intend to implement and achieve these targets
- Draft a plan - involve all departments and identify how each would engage with the plan
- Cross-check your plan - how does it respond to the National Gaelic Language Plan objectives, the Guidance on Developing Gaelic Language Plan and the high-level aims issued by the Bòrd
- Share it - open your plan up to comments and discussion within your organisation and to the public and key stakeholders through a public consultation process
- Complete your draft plan and send it to the Bòrd for assessment
- Make any necessary amendments and re-submit your draft plan for approval
- Once approved, publish and publicise it
- Start putting the plan into action
Once your organisation has received notification, you will follow the process on this page in order to write and get approval of your plan.
Throughout this process the Bòrd encourages you to keep in communication with our officers who will provide support as you work through these stages.
Once the plan is approved and published, it will then need to be implemented with that implementation monitored both internally, and externally by the Bòrd.
There is also a requirement to review the plan on a regular basis and no longer than five years after the date it was approved by the Bòrd. The plan must then be submitted for re-assessment and approval with any updated sections contained.
Existing Gaelic language plans
Although each plan is unique in terms of requirements from the Bòrd, the authority’s particular functions and the community it serves, it can also be useful to refer to previously agreed Gaelic language plans. Looking at other language plans can be very useful as reference to stimulate ideas that suit your particular circumstances and to explore different ways of implementing your plan.
Explore the list of Gaelic language plans previously approved by the Bòrd.
List of live public consultations
As part of the process of developing or renewing its Gaelic Language Plan each public authority must carry out a public consultation of between six and twelve weeks. This provides the opportunity for members of the public and any interested groups to comment on the content of the plan while it is in draft form. Below is a list of those public authorities who are carrying out a public consultation at present.
- There are no plans out to public consultation at this time.