British Sign Language (BSL): national plan 2023 to 2029

Sets out a range of government actions to tackle barriers faced by British Sign Language (BSL) users to help make Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work, visit and learn.

Executive Summary

To deliver our ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work, visit and learn, we have developed a number of actions under the following ten priority areas:

1. Delivering the BSL National Plan 2023-2029

2. BSL Accessibility

3. Children, Young People and their Families

4. Access to Employment

5. Health and Wellbeing

6. Celebrating BSL Culture

7. BSL Data

8. Transport

9. Access to Justice

10. Democratic Participation

Each of the priorities has a mix of short-, mid- and long-term goals that will be delivered in the six-year life of this plan that will build the foundations required to meet our longer term ambition for BSL in Scotland.

The actions proposed within this plan contain a package of commitments and measures that work together to address the ten identified priority areas. Our approach to embed BSL further in other relevant government policies, plans and strategies is at the core of our thinking as this provides an opportunity to address the barriers faced by BSL users in their daily lives.

The information below summarises the intention in each of the priority areas:

  • Delivering the BSL National Plan 2023-2029 – We will embed the ambition of this plan within other government areas in order to make progress across the system. Our Implementation Advisory Group will provide oversight to this work, championing the voices of those with lived experience.
  • BSL Accessibility – We recognise that BSL communities are underrepresented across organisations and services in Scotland. We want to promote and develop sustainable approaches to ensure that BSL users have access to opportunities and services impacting on their daily lives, ensuring they have information in the right format and at the right time.
  • Children, Young People and their Families – We will embed our commitment to Getting It Right for Every Child to provide all children, young people and their families with the right support at the right time.
  • Access to Employment – We will embed the principles of No One Left Behind, our all-age approach to employability to enable BSL users to consider what route to employment is right for them to enter into the workforce and fulfil their potential.
  • Health and Wellbeing – We know person-centred healthcare involves providing access to and delivery of services that are equitable. It is important to ensure that BSL users have the relevant information and services they need to make informed choices on their health. Celebrating BSL Culture – We work with partners to ensure BSL users have access to and can participate in the cultural life of Scotland, enabling them to celebrate their own culture and heritage.
  • BSL Data – We recognise the need to build an evidence base and gather data on BSL in Scotland, which will help inform our work in delivering this BSL National Plan and inform local plans.
  • Transport – We will work with our partners to embed BSL further within our transport system to ensure safe, fair and inclusive access to public transport is available to BSL users.
  • Access to Justice – We will take steps to ensure BSL users will have fair and equal access to the civil, criminal and juvenile justice systems in Scotland.
  • Democratic Participation – We will deliver actions that will help BSL users participate in democratic and public life in Scotland, recognising that accessibility and information are key drivers in helping to achieve this aim.



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