Councils must ensure all staff speak fluent English

The government has passed a new law which means all local authorities must ensure that staff dealing with the public can speak fluent English.

he new duty comes under the Immigration Act 2016 and directs that council should be sure that all existing and new staff can speak with ‘confidence and accuracy’.

Councils will be required to assess and possibly re-train any staff who do not possess a sufficient level of English and move people to a non-costumer facing role if there are unable to improve to minimum standards.

The move is intended to ensure that language barriers do not put service users at risk or deter people from contacting their local council.

Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “The government believes that the public should expect that all those with whom they interact, within the sphere of public services, have the language abilities required to respond to their needs.”

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