British Sign Language (BSL): National Plan 2017 to 2023

Plan setting out actions to help ensure deaf and deafblind BSL users are fully involved in all aspects of daily and public life.

Scottish Public Services

Our long-term goal: Across the Scottish public sector, information and services will be accessible to BSL users*.

By 2020, Scottish Ministers will:

Develop and test a new question on the use of BSL in Scotland for potential inclusion in Scotland’s Census 2021. This will give us a more accurate profile of Scotland’s BSL users*.

Analyse existing evidence and gather further data about BSL, so that we can establish baselines and measure how we are making progress.

Develop, test and share a set of guidelines to help Scottish public services to improve access to information and services for BSL users*. This will include advice on how to involve BSL users* in the design and delivery of Scotland’s public services.

Work with BSL users* to agree and begin a programme of work to increase the accessibility of the ‘’ website. This website enables citizens to access a range of public information and services online.

Promote the use of the Scottish Government’s nationally funded BSL online interpreting video relay service ( VRS) called ‘contactSCOTLAND- BSL’, which allows BSL users* to contact public and third sector services and for these services to contact them, and explore the potential for its greater use.

Encourage public bodies to access BSL awareness training for staff who may work with BSL users*, and signpost to appropriate training.

Review a range of current and on-going Scottish and UK evidence about the BSL/English interpreting landscape (for example the UK Market Review of BSL and communication provision, and the Scottish Government funded review of the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters ( SASLI)).

Analyse the learning from actions we are taking forward in health, education and justice (referred to in this plan) to strengthen Scotland’s interpreting profession.

Consider what further work is needed to ensure that a strong and skilled pool of BSL/English interpreters are working efficiently across Scotland.


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