Welsh Language Policy

Declaration

With a proud heritage going back more than 150 years, Principality Building Society is passionate about the communities in which we live and work. As Wales’ largest building society, which was formed in 1860, we are proud to be at the heart of our high streets throughout Wales and the borders, operating more than 70 branches and agencies.

We recognise the importance of the Welsh language and its impact on our Members, customers, colleagues and wider society. We want to encourage those that speak Welsh alongside English to use it in their day-to-day dealings with us and we promote the use of Welsh in the Society wherever we can and where it is reasonable and practical to do so.

Our aim is to ensure that our customers and Members get the same high standard of service with Principality, whether they deal with us in the Welsh or English language.

This Policy shows our current position in relation to our Welsh language services and will be updated as enhancements are made.

1. Introduction

We expect every member of staff to take responsibility for ensuring that our Welsh Language Policy is implemented. A Principality Board committee, the Customer and Conduct Committee, is responsible for this Policy and our Group Management Committee is responsible for ensuring that it is communicated to our head office, branches and agencies in Wales.This Policy is a public document.

2. Policies and initiatives

We aim to ensure that our policies, activities and services will be consistent with this Policy. We will endeavour to support the use of the Welsh language and where we can, encourage our Members, customers and our colleagues to use Welsh in their day-to-day business.

2.1 Tracking language choice
We keep a record of our Members’ and customers’ preferred language choice so that we can provide services to them in accordance with their preference, where we are able to do so. If a Member or customer has indicated that they would like to receive communications in Welsh as well as English, Principality will send the bilingual customer communications that are available.

Our Policy is to ensure that our high volume statutory communications are available in both languages, including our savings statement and Annual General Meeting mailing. We regularly review our other written communications, as well as our range of product and promotional literature, to see where it would be possible to produce both Welsh and English versions.

Due to the legal nature of terms and conditions these are only available in the English language.

3. Communication

3.1 Face-to-face communication
We welcome and encourage the use of the Welsh language by our colleagues who are fluent in both languages or are Welsh learners. The availability of Welsh speakers in our branches does vary from area to area, but to highlight where we do have a capability in both languages, Principality has incorporated and promotes the Working Welsh logo on the corporate name badges of Welsh-speaking branch colleagues. This identifies Welsh-speaking branch colleagues and indicates whether they are a Welsh speaker or are learning the language.

When Members and customers do their business with us they can always request to speak to a Welsh speaker and we will help them to do so wherever possible. If no Welsh speaker, who is qualified to deal with the enquiry, is available straightaway we will offer the option of waiting for a Welsh speaker to phone back as soon as possible, to continue the appointment in English, or to submit the enquiry in Welsh by letter or email.

3.2 Telephone communication
We offer a Welsh-speaking contact centre based in Bangor. The contact centre is open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday. To access it callers should use our usual contact centre number 0330 333 4000 or if calling from abroad 029 2038 2000.

If a branch is called and the caller wishes to speak Welsh, our contact centre will attempt to transfer the caller to a Welsh-speaking member of staff who is competent to deal with the enquiry.

If no Welsh speaker is available, we will offer the caller the option of waiting for a Welsh speaker to phone back as soon as possible, to continue the call in English, or to submit the enquiry in Welsh by letter or email.

3.3 Correspondence and translation
We record and track the language choice of our Members, customers and business contacts for use in correspondence. We always reply in Welsh, or include a Welsh version, when we are replying to letters received in Welsh or when we have received a request to do so.

Should a Principality colleague receive correspondence in Welsh and not be able to speak or write in Welsh, translations will be provided, or it will be referred to a line manager, who will arrange for a reply to be issued in Welsh.

Our translation is done by an approved third party translation

3.4 Public meetings and events
People attending our Annual General Meeting in Wales are encouraged to contribute, and are able to do so, in Welsh as well as in English. We also provide real time audio translation for our Welsh-speaking Members that attend the event. At our Member Talkback events around Wales we will also provide real time audio translation in areas where it is required.

Our Annual Report & Accounts, Summary Financial Statement and a selection of information and publicity about meetings are published bilingually.

4. Our public image

4.1 Cash machines
All of our cash machines have the option of conducting business in Welsh. 

4.2 Signs
Most of our permanent and temporary signs in both internal and external public areas of our branches are in both languages and are given equal prominence in terms of format, size and quality.

4.3 Our website
Principality offers a web service that is predominantly available in both languages. Visitors to the website have a button to choose whether to connect to the Welsh language version or the English language version. It encompasses information on all other Welsh language services the Society has to offer as well as product information, press releases, Board information, annual results and much more.

In designing new websites or in redeveloping our existing website we will continue to consider our Welsh Language Policy and the Welsh Language Commissioner’s guidelines and standards.

4.4 Stationery
Principality’s standard letterhead and compliment slips carry our dual branded logo and bilingual messages.

4.5 Print material – booklets, leaflets and posters
Principality produces a selection of literature in Welsh. Items will be considered for Welsh production on an individual basis taking into account a number of factors including branch and customer demand.

Our high volume statutory communications, including our savings statement and our Annual General Meeting mailing, are available in both Welsh and English. These communications present the Welsh and English language equally in terms of format, size, quality and prominence.

4.6 Events
In selecting employees to attend public meetings or events, our standard practice will be to ensure that suitable bilingual employees attend, as necessary.

If no suitable Welsh speaker is available and is requested, we will offer to continue the meeting in English, or to deal with the matter outside of the meeting or event when a Welsh speaker is available.

4.7 Media Relations
We aim to ensure that all news releases relating to Principality’s Welsh Language Policy, annual results or other key announcements are available in Welsh alongside English. The majority of our other press releases will also be available in Welsh on our website. We make sure we have a Welsh-speaking spokesperson available as appropriate and Welsh versions of all other news releases will be available if requested.

4.8 Advertising
Local advertising is either in Welsh or English or bilingually as deemed most appropriate for the audience. Our broadcast advertising on S4C is predominantly in Welsh or bilingual.

5. Community

For more than 35 years we have been supporting the National Eisteddfod to celebrate and promote the cultural traditions, language and heritage of Wales. The National Eisteddfod is the largest festival of its kind in Europe, and is Wales’ premier Welsh language festival. It is staged in early August, in a different Welsh county every year, and we are proud to be the only financial services provider on the festival field.

Our community activities also promote the Welsh language and our colleagues have given a lot of time and support to a number of events, sports teams, schools and other community groups around Wales. 

Each year Principality also supports a different Charity of the Year within Wales. Our employees are invited to nominate and then vote for a charity they would like to support, on the condition it operates bilingually and has a regional operation within Wales. Every year our dedicated employees raise thousands of pounds to support our charity, which is then used to improve the lives of people throughout Wales.

6. Implementing and monitoring the policy

The Welsh language is naturally used by many Principality colleagues and Members, as part of their day-to-day life. Principality will continue to develop and promote the use of Welsh in its branches, agencies and head office.

Principality’s Group Management Committee will ensure that all of the principles in this Policy are communicated to Principality employees.

Any changes or updates to the Policy will also be communicated to colleagues and will be amended on the Principality website.

The Policy will be reviewed by our Group Management Committee every year.

6.1 Staffing, recruitment and training
Principality aims to ensure that we employ Welsh speakers with the appropriate skills so that we are able to communicate with the public through the medium of Welsh.

We will ensure that in roles where the ability to speak Welsh is essential or desirable, this will be noted in relevant job advertisements and the advert will be made available in Welsh on the website.

The Society will encourage and support its employees to learn Welsh and the use of it in its branches, agencies and head office.

6.2 Monitoring
Our Welsh Language Policy will be regularly monitored by Principality’s Group Management Committee. The Board of Directors will also be kept up-to-date with progress of this Policy and any changes.

We will send this Policy to the Welsh Language Commissioner, outlining progress with the Policy.

7. Comments and suggestions and improvement

Anybody wanting to comment or make suggestions for improvement regarding Principality’s Welsh Language Policy should contact Principality via one of our branches, calling our contact centre on 0330 333 4000, or in writing to: Principality Building Society, PO Box 89, Principality Buildings, Queen Street, Cardiff, CF10 1UA.

Glossary

Agencies
A banking agency is an independently-owned ‘counter’ found within estate agents, solicitors or insurance agent’s offices. They are used to complement our main branches and offer another way of carrying out a range of face-to-face transactions. Principality has 18 agencies around Wales and the borders.

Bilingual
The ability to use two languages with equal or nearly equal fluency.

Member
A person aged 18 or over who has a share investment or a mortgage loan with the Society over £100 during the year.

Member Talkback event
A Member Talkback is a smaller AGM, which takes place in different areas of Wales each year. We have been running our Talkback events around Wales since 2009, to give our Members the opportunity to share their views with our senior management team and Group Chief Executive. We usually hold at least three events per year. We use them to discuss our recent performance, share our plans for the future and answer Member’s questions.

Principality. Where home matters.