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.

Delivering the BSL National Plan 2023-2029

The BSL National Plan 2023-2029 (the Plan) will span six years. The Scottish Government commits to the actions within it, starting from the time of publication by creating the right conditions required to facilitate the discussions, learning and sharing of knowledge required to improve outcomes for BSL users in Scotland.

Our long-term goal:

To improve outcomes for BSL users by embedding BSL in relevant Scottish Government policies, plans and strategies in order to develop solutions to the barriers faced by BSL users in their daily lives.

We will:


Establish a BSL National Plan Implementation Advisory Group with representatives from the BSL community to help us deliver the actions within this plan and make the cross-cutting connections required to progress BSL equality in Scotland. This plan will not be static, the ambitions set out within it requires flexibility and leadership to respond to opportunities and challenges. Collaborative working will help us achieve this aim.


Work with listed authorities and the BSL community to establish best practice, share knowledge and improve the development and implementation of BSL local plans, as required by the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015.


Develop the inclusive communication regulation as part of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) review, to ensure inclusive communication is embedded proportionately by listed authorities when communicating with the public. We will engage closely with public bodies, equality advocacy groups and people with lived experience, including our partner organisations, to further develop this proposal based on consultation feedback. It is our intention that any new duties would come into force in 2025.


Develop guidance on BSL access for public engagement, including quality assurance of BSL translations. This guidance will be primarily developed for the Scottish Government, we will share learning on what works well with our partners.


Publish a progress report on the actions in 2026, the midway point for this plan. As a living plan, this will enable us to reflect on what further actions are required to help us meet our longer-term goals and overall vision for BSL in Scotland.

In addition to the work being undertaken by the Scottish Government, listed authorities covered by the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 are required to publish their own BSL local plans. As such, individual bodies may commit themselves to other specific actions to promote BSL.



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