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.

BSL Accessibility

For many BSL users, BSL is their first language. The Scottish Government recognises that for public services to be truly accessible for BSL users, there should be awareness around the culture of BSL, providing vital information in BSL, and enabling people to access services using their own language.

This can be achieved through a wide variety of actions, and therefore this plan focuses on ensuring that BSL users lived experience are actively informing how we deliver services across Scotland.

Accessibility is a thread that runs through this plan given it is a key barrier that impacts BSL users in their daily lives. This plan links to other key pieces of work across government in order to address these barriers.

Our long-term goal:

To remove accessibility as a barrier for BSL users in all aspects of life, recognising the importance of having accessible information in the right format at the right time, utilising technology and increasing people’s awareness of communication tools.

We will:


Improve accessibility of the Scottish Government website for BSL users. Information should be in a readily accessible format and be consistent across the platform. We will strengthen our guidance and share our learning across the wider public sector to help increase accessibility standards for BSL users.


Ensure that deaf and deafblind BSL users are included in the See Hear strategy as part of the wider group of deaf people, with a focus on living a good life, and the BSL National Plan continues to address equal access to BSL in all spheres of service delivery.


Continue to promote the use of Contact Scotland BSL, Scotland’s BSL online interpreting Video Relay Service, making improvements to this service to ensure it meets the needs of BSL users.


Implement SignPort and promote its use as an online portal for BSL/ English interpreter bookings which will be launched for public use, within the Scottish Government and other public bodies. SignPort is expected to be launched for public use in Spring 2024.



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