Statutory code of practice on English language requirement

29 July 2016

Part 7 of the Immigration Act 2016 places a duty on all public authorities in scope to ensure that their customer-facing staff can speak fluent English, or in Wales fluent English or Welsh. A draft statutory code of practice to support employers in complying with this new duty has been published.

The code will be laid before Parliament and issued in October but the early publication of the document is intended to support organisations to be ready to adhere to the statutory duty once it comes into force. It provides principles and examples for public authorities to consider when fulfilling their legal duties and obligations.

The new duty will assure citizens that there is not a language barrier that might prevent them from contacting or using public services or inadvertently put them at risk.

The government has worked with relevant employers throughout the development of the draft Code of Practice and will continue to do so to ensure that the duty is implemented in a way which ensures a positive impact for employees and service users in front line organisations.