Clause 40 provides a power to make regulations to expand the meaning of a person in respect of whom this duty applies. Should the relevant Minister—the Minister of the Cabinet Office or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster—choose to make such regulations, the duty would apply to customer-facing staff of contractors and subcontractors delivering a public service through an arrangement with a public authority. To comply with the statutory duty in clause 38, public authorities need to have regard to the code of practice to ensure that the customer-facing staff of these organisations, as well as their own directly engaged staff, meet the language standard.
Public authorities need to make sure, first, that the standard of fluency applied is proportionate to the nature of each customer-facing role; and secondly that their complaints process allows citizens to report their experience of a customer-facing worker employed by such organisations who is not speaking fluent English. Hon. Members will be aware from our previous debate about the consultation that is now live that respondents are asked explicitly for their views on the impact of expanding the scope of the duty to the staff of private and third-sector suppliers. We will publish those views as part of the Government response to the consultation. However, any expansion of this duty to apply to the staff of private and third-sector providers of services will involve separate consultation before any regulations are made.