British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan 2017-2023: analysis of consultation responses

The report sets out the analysis of the public consultation on Scotland's draft British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan.



This report presents analysis of responses to a consultation on the draft British Sign Language ( BSL) National Plan, 2017-2023. The consultation opened on 1 March 2017 and closed on 31 May 2017.

The draft National Plan sets out the Scottish Government's long-term goals for BSL in ten key areas: Public Services; Early Years; Education; Post-School Education; Employment; Health, Mental Health and Social Care; Transport; Culture, Leisure, Sport and the Arts; Justice; and Democracy. It describes actions to help make progress towards these goals over the next 6 years.

The draft Plan was produced in collaboration with the BSL National Advisory Group ( NAG), made up of Deaf and Deafblind BSL users and parents with Deaf children, working alongside representatives of the public bodies that will have to implement the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015. The NAG was supported in its work by the Deaf Sector Partnership ( DSP), helping gather the views of BSL users around Scotland both to support the development of the Plan, and also to make sure the consultation was fully accessible.

How the consultation was run

The consultation paper (available at asked questions on each of the 10 goals identified in the Plan. People were able to answer consultation questions either in English or BSL using the consultation website called Citizen Space, by email, by post, or through a consultation Facebook page.

DSP organisations also arranged around 90 consultation events to which Deaf and Deafblind people were invited, along with families and carers. Most, but not all, of those attending were Deaf / Deafblind BSL users. Events were held across Scotland. Some were held in schools, seeking the views of children and young people, others at Deaf Centres, Clubs or Societies. At many events, the subjects discussed were chosen by those attending, depending on their particular interests, and not all groups talked about all 10 goals set out in the draft National Plan.

There were also six open meetings, each focusing on a single key area of the draft Plan (Education, Employment, Transport etc) and there were further meetings of groups with a particular interest – such as BSL users with a visual impairment, BSL / English Interpreters and NAG members.

Who responded

Around 1,000 people attended the consultation events. Three live streaming sessions to explain the draft National Plan were also arranged on Facebook, each attracting over 2000 views. The feedback from all these events has been considered when writing this report, along with the individual consultation responses described below.

In total, 157 standard consultation responses were received, 63 from groups or organisations and 94 from individual members of the public. The majority of responses were received through the Scottish Government's Citizen Space consultation hub.

Respondents were asked to identify whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation. Organisations were asked what type of organisation they were. A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out in Table 1 below and a full list of organisational respondents can be found in Annex 1.

Table 1: Respondents by type

Type of respondent Number
Academic/research 8
Local Government 14
Other 7
Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc. 16
Representative Body for Professionals 6
Third Sector/Deaf Organisation 12
Total Organisations 63
Individuals 94
Total 157

Annex 2 sets out the full analysis of the Yes/No questions for each of the 10 themes by respondent type. The number of people answering the Yes/No question in each key area is out of a maximum of 157. The Yes/No questions were also considered at some of the consultation events. They have not been included in the final figures because the main focus of these events was to gather comments and suggestions.

This report

This report presents a summary of the comments and suggestions made on each of the 10 goals of the draft National Plan and also sets out some of the other issues people raised. The Scottish Government has access to all of the feedback from the events and the written / BSL responses.

Both at the events and in their Citizen Space responses, people used a range of language when referring to themselves or others. For ease of reading, we have used the single description 'Deaf / Deafblind BSL User' within this report.


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