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Government to introduce new English language requirement for public sector workers

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New English language requirements for public-sector workers in customer-facing roles come into force on 21 November 2016, it has been announced.

Following the publication of provisions under the Immigration Act 2016, workers must be sufficiently fluent in English to carry out their roles when the requirement comes into effect.

The Government’s “Code of Practice” will help employers meet the new language requirements.

The code will stipulate the standard of English (or Welsh if in Wales) required for a role, depending on factors such as frequency, topic and length of spoken interaction, and the significance of spoken interaction for service delivery.

Public sector authorities have been told to ensure that their policies and practices incorporate the language requirements for current employees and during the recruitment process.

It is understood that agency staff and self-employed contractors must also meet the new requirements.

“We want public services in the United Kingdom to be the finest in the world. To serve the public it is imperative that public servants with customer facing roles speak English fluently,” said Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General.

“This Code should be simple to comply with: nothing is required of anyone already fluent in English. The aim is to bring standards up to the best.”