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Documents: English Language

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what guidance her Department provides to local authorities on the provision of public documents in English; and if she will make a statement; (156950)

(2) whether it is a statutory requirement for local councils to provide public documents in languages other than English;

(3) what (a) statutory and (b) non-statutory guidance is provided to local authorities on the provision of public documents in languages other than English.

In England, there is no statutory requirement for local councils to provide public documents in languages other than English. Communities and Local Government has not issued any statutory or non statutory guidance to local authorities on the provision of public documents in languages other than English. The independent Commission on Integration and Cohesion recommended that there should be guidance and set out what this might look like as part of its final report. As recently announced, based on the Commission’s advice, we will be publishing new non-statutory guidance on translation for local authorities and public bodies in the coming weeks.

However, we do believe knowledge of English is a vital part of integration into British society, as well as a personal advancement.