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Deafness in Parliament 2011

Latest News

The Annual General Meeting took place on 22nd March 2011. 

Malcolm Bruce MP was elected as Chair of the group. 

The vice-chairs are:
Rosie Cooper MP
Baroness Wilkins
Stephen Phillips MP
Stephen Lloyd MP
Peter Bottomley MP

The President is Lord Ashley of Stoke.


APPG on Hearing Screening
22nd March 2011

Report on meeting:

This meeting commenced with a review, by Brian Gale, Director of Policy and Campaigns at NDCS and Dr Sue Archbold, CEO of the Ear Foundation, of the New Born Screening programme which has enabled an early identification of hearing impairment and an early intervention where appropriate. In a further presentation Crystal Rolfe, Senior Audiology Specialist from RNID, explored the idea of an adult screening programme at 65 and the substantial benefits this would create for individuals and society as a whole.

Speech to Text Report
Presentation
Briefing paper The Ear Foundation
Briefing Paper NDCS


The last Annual General Meeting took place on 20 June 2010. 

Malcolm Bruce MP was elected as Chair of the group. 

The vice-chairs are:
Rosie Cooper MP
Baroness Wilkins
Stephen Phillips MP
Stephen Lloyd MP
Peter Bottomley MP

The President is Lord Ashley of Stoke.



Annual General Meeting

May 2009
The last Annual General Meeting took place on 20 May 2009 the following were elected as officers of the Group: Chair, Malcolm Bruce MP, , Vice-Chairs Tom Levitt MP, Tim Loughton MP, Baroness Wilkins, Rosie Cooper MP. Further details to follow shortly.

May 2008
At the Annual General Meeting on 13th May 2008 the following were elected as officers of the Group: Chair, Malcolm Bruce MP, Vice Chairs, Rosie Cooper MP, Baroness Wilkins, Tom Levitt MP, Tim Loughton MP.


British Sign Language Training Event – 18 March 2008

Sylvia Heal MP

John Barrett MP

Mark Harper MP

Sylvia Heal
Labour MP for Halesowen &
Rowley Regis
Deputy Speaker of the
House of Commons

John Barrett
Liberal Democrat MP for
Edinburgh West
Shadow Under Secretary of
State for Disability

Mark Harper
Conservative MP for
Forest of Dean
Shadow Minister for
Disabled People

On 18 March 2008, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the official recognition of British Sign Language, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness arranged for BSL Tutors from the British Deaf Association to give sign language training to 10 MPs. The training was a great success with all MPs attending enjoying learning some basic sign language to help them communicate better with their deaf constituents.


Recent activities of the group:

Sign Language Users meet the Prime Minister to call for greater support for British Sign Language

Sign Language Users meet the Prime Minister

A delegation of sign language users, accompanied by members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness, met with the Prime Minister on 6 February to ask the Government to give British Sign Language the legal status enjoyed by other indigenous British languages, such as Welsh and Cornish; to improve access to services, employment and cultural activities for sign language users by training more interpreters and making better use of technology; and to provide support for families to enable them to communicate better with their deaf children.

Full details of the meetings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness are on the meetings page.

Pre-Meeting to discuss the British Sign Language issues to be raised with the Prime Minister

On 22 January 2008 the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness met with a group of sign language users and representatives of organisations that represent or work with sign language users to discuss the issues to be raised at the forthcoming meeting with the Prime Minister.

House of Lords debates Audiology

On 8 January 2008, in the House of Lords, Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in implementing the National Audiology Action Plan contained within the Department of Health report, Improving Access to Audiology Services in England; how they intend to ensure that audiology is regarded as a priority area by strategic health authorities and primary care trusts; and what specific role they envisage for the independent sector.

Prime Minister to meet delegation to discuss British Sign Language

Having been challenged to do more for users of BSL by Malcolm Bruce MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness, the Prime Minister has agreed to meet a delegation of sign language users. Malcolm Bruce commented: “When we meet the Prime Minister I hope that he will back my efforts to seek further legal recognition and protection for sign language users”

The full exchange from Prime Minister’s Questions on 12 December 2007 is:

Malcolm Bruce (Gordon) (LD): Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that while the Government rightly give tens of millions of pounds every year to support indigenous British languages such as Welsh and Gaelic, another British language—British Sign Language—gets no such support. Will the Prime Minister meet me, and a delegation of sign language users, to discuss how the Government can meet their needs, as they are currently failing to do?

The Prime Minister: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for raising that issue, and I will be very happy to meet him. It is a very important issue, and we will see what we can do together.

Meeting with Ivan Lewis MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Care Services

Ivan Lewis MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Care Services addressed a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness on Tuesday, 22nd May 2007. The verbatim report of the meeting can be found on the meetings page.

Annual General Meeting

At the Annual General Meeting on 18th April 2007 the following were elected as officers of the Group: Chair, Malcolm Bruce MP, Vice Chairs, Rosie Cooper MP, Baroness Wilkins, Tom Levitt MP, Tim Loughton MP.

Meeting with Anne McGuire MP, Minister for Disabled People.

Anne McGuire MP was the guest speaker at a well attended meeting of the Group on 19 December 2006. The topics covered at the meeting included the recent access to communication in english for deaf people report, the Access to Work scheme and promoting British Sign Language.

Visit to the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre.

A delegation from the Group visited the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London on 24th October 2006. The members were welcomed by Bencie Woll and were given presentations from researchers at the centre about the work that is in progress.

Annual General Meeting 2006

At the Annual General Meeting on 10th July 2006 the following were elected as officers of the Group: Chair, Malcolm Bruce MP, Vice Chairs, Rosie Cooper MP, Baroness Wilkins, Tom Levitt MP, Tim Loughton MP, James Gray MP.

Visit to Charing Cross Hospital Audiology Department

A delegation from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness visited Charing Cross Hospital Audiology Department on 1st February 2006. The members, accompanied by Orla Murphy, Health Programmes Manager at RNID, were welcomed to the hospital by Julie Wilkins, Head of the Audiology Department and were briefed on the department's experience of modernisation; what difference it has made; and how patients' experience has changed.

Meeting with Rosie Winterton MP, Minister of State for Health Services

Rosie Winterton MP, Minister of State for Health Services, addressed the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness on Tuesday 29 November 2005. The Minister informed the members of national initiatives being funded by the Department of Health to implement the recommendations in the Towards Equity and Access Report. The verbatim report of the meeting can be found on the meetings page.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness AGM

The APPG Group on Deafness held their AGM in the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday 5th July 2005. The verbatim report of this meeting can be found on the meetings page.

Meeting with Maria Eagle MP, Minister for Disabled People

Maria Eagle MP, Minister for Disabled People, addressed the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness on Tuesday 22 March 2005. The verbatim report of the meeting can be found on the meetings page.

Members meet CEO of Ofcom

Stephen Carter, Chief Executive of Ofcom, addressed a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness on 12th January 2005. Members were given an overview of the extensive brief of the new Regulatory Body. The Minutes, Verbatim Report and Additional Questions and Responses are now available.

Visit to Oak Lodge School

A delegation from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness visited Oak Lodge School in Wandsworth. The members, accompanied by Susan Daniels, Chief Executive of NDCS and Peter Hindley, Clinical Director of National Deaf Services, were welcomed to the school by Headmaster Peter Merrifield and were briefed on the work of the school and the current issues for deaf pupils.

Lord Ashley of Stoke appointed Honorary President.
Lord Ashley of Stoke, has been appointed Honorary President of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness. Lord Ashley was instrumental in securing major improvements to the Communications Act, introduced in 2003, that will greatly improve quality of life for deaf, hard of hearing and many other disabled people. The Act, which regulates satellite and cable television channels, obliges them to subtitle 80% of their programmes over the next ten years. Lord Ashley secured a significant amendment - introducing a five year target of 60% - thus accelerating improvements to television access for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. Lord Ashley campaigned for two further amendments - one requiring broadcasters to publicise subtitled programmes, the other requiring digital electronic menus to specify subtitled programmes. He also secured an amendment to ensure that OFCOM, the new regulator, widens the availability of communications equipment for disabled people.

Additionally, Lord Ashley has consistently put pressure on Government across the last parliamentary year to publish a draft Disability Bill, which will provide more comprehensive civil rights for disabled people. First elected as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South in 1966, Lord Ashley has, over the past 35 years, spearheaded a number of ground-breaking campaigns including Thalidomide children, battered women, rape victims, nuclear test victims and bullied soldiers. Lord Ashley lost his hearing following a minor operation in 1967 but fought to retain his career, returning to parliament to present a bill on disability. He went on to become a powerful spokesperson for deaf and hard of hearing people.

In 1987 Lord Ashley became president of the RNID, and in 1994 president of UK Council on Deafness. He is also involved in many other organisations working with deaf people including being president of Defeating Deafness, British Tinnitus Association and National Cochlear Implant Users Association.

Inaugural Meeting elects Officers.
The Honorary Officers of the Group were elected by the members at the Inaugural Meeting. The Chair is Malcolm Bruce MP. The full list of Officers is on the Membership page. At the meeting the group agreed its Objectives.

Malcolm Bruce MP launches Group at the 'LOOK AT ME' Deaf Awareness Week Reception.
At the 'LOOK AT ME' Reception held to celebrate the national Deaf Awareness Week campaign on 4th May 2004, Malcolm Bruce MP expressed his delight at the support that has been given by members of both Houses of Parliament from all parties for the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness. Read the full speech here.


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