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Fluency Duty

Fluency Duty - English language requirement for customer - facing employees

Part 7 of the Immigration Act 2016 requires the Council to comply with the 'fluency duty' i.e to ensure that any person who works for it, in a customer-facing role, speaks fluent English.

A customer- facing role is where an employee, apprentice and/or agency worker has as a regular and intrinsic part of that role, a requirement to speak to members of the public in English. This could be in face to face discussions or over the telephone. In many cases, it will be clear whether a role is intrinsically public-facing.

For the purposes of the 'fluency duty', a legitimate complaint is one about the standard of spoken English. The substantive issue of the complaint will be that the Council has not met the 'fluency duty'.

Subject to (a) and/or (b) below, if a complaint that an employee in a customer - facing role has insufficient proficiency in spoken English for the performance of their role, the Council will deal with the complaint under its Corporate Complaints Procedure.

(a)       A complaint about an employee's accent, dialect, manner or tone of communication, origin or nationality is not a legitimate complaint about the 'fluency duty'.

(b)       The Council will not respond to complaints that are vexatious, oppressive, threatening or abusive.  These words are given their usual dictionary meaning and seen as those complaints which are without foundation and/or which are intended to result in harsh or wrongful treatment of the person who is the subject of the complaint.  In these types of circumstances, the complaint will not be taken forward by the Council and the Council may consider implementing its Policy on Unreasonably Persistent and/or Vexatious Complainants. PDF, 126.52 KB

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