Here are the shared steps to preparing a language plan:
Step 1: Agree the aims of the language planning process
Firstly, the language planning steering committee and the lead organisation will agree the aims and objectives of the language plan. These objectives should be based on the needs of the town and on the strengths and weaknesses of that area.
Step 2: Conduct research to understand the current situation
Research is at the heart of every language plan because it is on the research results that the measures in the plan will be based. The information that is gathered during the planning process will be used to develop a marker to measure progress in the future.
The committee may appoint a researcher or a consultant at this stage to carry out this work, whether that’s to help the committee to carry out the research for the language plan, or to write the language plan based on the results of the research.
Below are the types of research that are recommended as part of this process:
Secondary research: GIS system, census statistics, other research reports
Surveys: a common survey for the public, surveys targeted at particular sections of the community
Focus groups: specific groups or public meetings
Step 3: Analysis of the research and design of the measures
Analysis will take place on the research results and this will then be transferred to measures or actions in the language plan. This can be done through producing research reports, through facilitating committee workshops to discuss the research results and through drawing on examples of good practice in other places with similar research while also making the measures suitable for this area.
Step 4: Writing the language plan
Once the research step has been completed the actual language plan can then be written. A template is available in which to set out the measures and the other relevant information that goes with it. The background to the language planning process, the research results and the costs that are estimated will all be included as part of the plan.
Step 5: Public consultation
The participation of the community is very important at every stage and a public consultation will give the public a chance to share their opinions on the language plan before it is completed.
Step 6: Send the language plan to the department or Foras na Gaeilge
Once any recommendations from the public consultation have been included in the final version of the plan, it will be sent to the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to await approval from the minister or from the Foras na Gaeilge board in the case of Irish language networks in the north.