British Sign Language (BSL) national plan 2023-2029: consultation analysis

The independent analysis by Alma Economics of the BSL National Plan 2023 to 2029 consultation, commissioned by Scottish Government.

1. Introduction

The British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 requires the Scottish Ministers and public bodies listed in the Act to publish and consult on a draft of their British Sign Language (BSL) Plan. The Act also specifies that the consultation should involve individuals who are likely to be directly affected by the plan, including BSL users and those who represent them.

The BSL National Plan 2017-2023 has laid a strong foundation for the upcoming BSL National Plan 2023-2029, set to be published by 31 October 2023. The BSL National Plan 2023-2029 will outline a combination of short-, mid- and long-term goals spanning six years, covering six priority areas including: i) BSL Data Strategy; (ii) BSL Workforce; (iii) Supporting Deaf Children, Young People and their Families; (iv) BSL Accessibility; (v) the Promotion of the Heritage and Culture of BSL; and (vi) Social Care and Wellbeing. The draft actions proposed for the BSL National Plan 2023-2029 encompass a set of commitments and measures designed to collectively address these six priority areas.

Recognising the need to fully consider a range of proposed actions, the Scottish Government has sought views on the necessary actions to advance BSL in Scotland over the next six years. Public consultation is a key element of the policymaking process, ensuring that the views, experiences, knowledge, and ideas of the public and experts guide decision-makers in shaping and implementing new policies and regulations.

Throughout the development of the BSL National Plan 2023-2029, the Scottish Government has engaged with stakeholders and the public through numerous public engagement activities. The draft BSL National Plan 2023-2029 has been informed by a Short Life Working Group, comprising organisations representing the deaf, deafblind and BSL communities. Between July and September 2023, 43 community consultation events were carried out in addition to the consultation to allow BSL users to participate in a two-way dialogue in their own language and in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way to express their views.

Rigorous independent analysis of responses to consultations is at the core of evidence-based policymaking and will contribute to making Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work, visit and learn. The aim of the current project was to undertake a transparent, rigorous and systematic analysis of the valid responses to the BSL National Plan 2023-2029 consultation. This report is a balanced and impartial presentation of the analysis, ensuring that the full range and nature of views are presented.



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