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

We are seeking views on the British Sign Language National Plan 2023 to 2029 to inform the final publication in autumn 2023.

Annex C - BSL National Plan - Draft Actions

This is a list of draft actions grouped under the key priorities we have set out in the consultation document, which we have discussed with the Short Life Working Group, and are now seeking your views on. Whilst this is subject to change based on the consultation responses, you should refer to these draft actions when you are answering the questions in the consultation.

Supporting deaf children, young people and their families

1. The Scottish Government will investigate and explore an early intervention model for sign language acquisition for deaf and deafblind new-borns and children to ensure they and their families have access to both BSL and English. This will assess existing models to determine if we can build or improve on them. This action will help to ensure that deaf and deafblind babies and children are able to grow and thrive in an environment using the language of their choice.

2. Investigate the provisions of support for deaf and deafblind children within Scotland, and identify any gaps in support to inform an immediate remedial action plan. This includes BSL tuition for deaf and deafblind children and their families.

3. To investigate opportunities for early years workers to learn BSL up to the level of SCQF Level 6 to inform our future work in this area.

4. Support the development of opportunities for deaf and deafblind children, young people, and their families, to learn about the heritage and culture of BSL, especially in Scotland.

5. To establish a BSL Education Advisory Group to inform priorities around access to BSL and teaching of BSL, with initial focus on deaf and deafblind children.

6. To work with the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) to explore and facilitate pathways for BSL users to obtain Qualified Teacher Status.

7. To investigate opportunities for Teachers of the Deaf and teachers working with deaf and deafblind children in obtaining qualifications for BSL up to SCQF Level 10.

Social Care and Wellbeing

8. To explore how the National Care Service co-design involves BSL users, and includes provisions for BSL users.

9. Support Public Health Scotland in the development of guidance around BSL access, including use of BSL/English interpreting support in various formats.

BSL Workforce

10. Investigate opportunities for deaf and deafblind young people to learn about transitioning into and navigating the workplace, support available to them, and skills development, including how to work with BSL/English interpreters.

11. Work with Social Security Scotland to ensure that BSL users continue to provide input into their services in a way that is accessible to them.

12. To explore how a BSL Workforce Strategy alongside a BSL Data Strategy, will consider pathways including, and not limited to, BSL/English interpreting and BSL tutors/teachers.

BSL Data Strategy

13. To explore how a BSL Data Strategy for Scotland would work in practice, including establishing how we will gather data and evidence and distribute this in a way which helps develop sustainable approaches in data gathering around BSL.

BSL accessibility

14. To co-ordinate an effort with listed authorities and BSL/deaf communities within the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 to establish sustainable approaches in the development and implementation of their BSL plans, ensuring that cost-effective work is taking place proportionately within their authorities to help their BSL plans target issues more effectively.

15. To develop a classification framework around British Sign Language, identifying the multiple perspectives including accessibility and as a linguistic minority, and create a guidance in partnership with the See Hear strategy to provide more consistency in approaches to BSL.

16. The Scottish Government will develop guidance on BSL access for public engagement, including quality assurance of BSL translations.

17. Review the BSL accessibility of the Scottish Government website, and work with BSL organisations to ensure a high standard of the accessibility of the website.

18. To consider funding mechanisms for Contact Scotland BSL, and promote the use of this services across the public sector.

19. To support the uptake of SignPort, an online portal for BSL/English interpreter bookings which will be launched for public use, within the Scottish Government and public bodies.

20. The Scottish Government will develop an Implementation Working Group for the BSL National Plan, with the aim of regularly reviewing the National Plan’s commitments to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the BSL communities in Scotland throughout the lifetime of this Plan.

21. The BSL Justice Advisory Group will continue to meet, with the aim to regularly review the progress on actions within Justice around BSL and to mainstream BSL into other Justice workstreams.

22. Explore the provision of BSL meditators/intermediaries, also known as intralingual professionals or advocates, for BSL users going through the justice system to inform work to be taken forward to support this provision.

23. Support public bodies within the justice sector in exploring ways in which BSL support can be accessed more efficiently for frontline work and emergency response services.

24. To work with COSLA and the Scottish Parliament to identify existing barriers in support for BSL users within political settings, such as councillor or MSP, and consider ways in which gaps can be addressed, including learning from the 2022 Access to Elected Office Fund.

25. Support the facilitation of BSL support in electoral campaigns and the election process to ensure BSL users are able to make informed decisions with access to all relevant information.

Promotion of the heritage and culture of BSL

26. To work with organisations focusing on BSL within culture and the arts to identify priorities within the BSL communities in Scotland.

27. Explore existing support for organisations with a focus on heritage, culture and the arts – with focus on BSL - across Scotland, to identify ways in which the Scottish Government can support growth for BSL in this sector, in line with the aims and ambitions of A Culture Strategy for Scotland.



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