English language fluency duty for public authority workers
English language fluency duty for public authority workers

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • English language fluency duty for public authority workers
  • The fluency duty
  • Public authorities
  • Workers to whom the fluency duty applies
  • The standard of fluency required
  • Non-compliance with the fluency duty
  • Complaints

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: Brexit and IP completion day—implications for employment lawyers.

The fluency duty

With effect from 21 November 2016 there is a statutory requirement for workers in customer-facing roles in public authorities to be fluent in the English language (and/or Welsh in Wales). This measure was introduced because it was thought that sufficient fluency and comprehension in all interactions with the public would help ensure more efficient and effective public services.

The duty is for those workers to be able to speak English (and/or Welsh) fluently. In this context, fluently mean that they have a command of spoken English (and/or Welsh) which is sufficient to enable the effective performance of their role.

A draft statutory Code of Practice to assist employers in complying with the fluency duty was published in October 2016 and then an updated version was produced in November 2016. The new version of the Code came into effect on 22 December

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