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‘Parliament & Policy Work’ Category

30 OctBSL SIG Act

David Buxton, Chair of the UKCoD’s Special Interest Group called the ‘BSL Act SIG’, shares information about this group and key points about the work they have been doing so far towards a new BSL Act.

Watch David’s signing this information in the video below or scroll down to read in English:

BSL Act SIG is a voluntary group consisting of UKCoD members: British Deaf Association (BDA), DCAL, Deaf Ex-mainstreamers (DEX), Heriot Watt University and National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). David Buxton was appointed as Chair. David is currently CEO of Action on Disability (AoD) and also Hon. Treasurer of the BDA.

  • The purpose of UKCoD’s BSL Act SIG is primarily concerned with getting a BSL Bill through Parliament with support from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness (APPGD), which is currently chaired by the Rt. Hon Lilian Greenwood, MP.
  • David presented a draft BSL Bill to the APPGD in August 2020. MPs and Peers were there to listen and ask questions regarding how we would plan a BSL Bill campaign. They agreed in principle to support a BSL Bill. David, with Craig Crowley, Chair of UKCoD, will be meeting the Rt. Hon Lilian Greenwood MP to discuss the next steps.
  • Representatives of the BSL Act SIG met the Clerk of the Private Members Bill Unit at the House of Commons earlier this month to discuss the draft BSL Bill which will be slightly amended in order to meet the desired parliamentary language style and structure.
  • Once a BSL Bill and BSL Act Campaign plan is approved by BSL Act SIG, then we will consult with the Deaf Community and BSL supporting organisations to gather their thoughts and views in order to build up a strong network in support of the BSL Act campaign work.
  • The BSL Act SIG will launch a formal BSL Bill and mobilise local BSL supporting campaigners to meet their local MPs (only backbenchers not Ministers, etc.,), to persuade them to agree to support a BSL Bill if their names are drawn out of the Private Members Bill ballot around May 2021. We have to ensure that one of the first five MPs drawn out of the PMB ballot is willing to introduce a BSL Bill – preferably the first one drawn.

06 JulPenny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt becomes first Minister to use Sign Language in Parliament to highlight the UK’s first ever global #DisabilitySummit #NowIsTheTime

 

27 MarBSL Costings Inquiry Group – Statement

Recent work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness (APPGD), by members of UKCoD, regarding an Inquiry into the cost of BSL recognition stalled due to lack of resources and change of government following the election in 2017.

A group, supported by UKCoD has agreed to scope a study on the ‘Delphi’ principles, as a viable and cost-effective alternative to a formal APPG Inquiry. The study would seek to ensure:

  • Good sectoral engagement and commitment
  • Good use of existing data
  • Developing a solid understanding of the ‘costs of BSL recognition’ for presentation to government.

The group also supported a proposal to draft a Private Members Bill as a parallel activity, it was agreed that it would be useful if members of this group could provide copies of drafts they may have prepared.

The chair of the APPG on Deafness, has raised a parliamentary question over which government department is responsible for BSL, the Leader of the House of Commons has agreed to seek clarification on this point.

The group is to meet again in two months’ time to discuss finalising the strategy and funding.

21 MarA Message from UK Council on Deafness Chair, Craig Crowley

Craig CrowleyFor a number of years the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has been seeking to reduce the expenditure of its Access to Work Programme in order to safeguard public resources.

In 2015 the DWP set a budget cap of £43,100 (1.5 times average earnings) for an individual Deaf person using Sign Language Interpreters, which was to come in to final force on the 1st of April 2018.

UKCoD has been in discussions with the DWP highlighting the effects of the reduction in expenditure, particularly a cap on the ATW funding for individuals.  UKCoD has articulated that this limit would prevent Deaf individuals reaching the pinnacle of their profession and would stifle the aspirations of younger Deaf people.

The sterling support from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness led by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, the excellent work of Darren Townsend-Handscomb, DeafAtW, the Employment Sub-Group and a number of prominent Deaf individuals (one of such is Toby Burton, Chief Finance Officer for The Economist), has paved the way for the Minister of Disabled people, Sarah Newton MP, to announce that the Government will increase the cap of ATW funding per individual to £57,200 (double average earnings).

The UKCoD Board of Trustees are delighted with this announcement and we look forward to future discussions with the government, through the APPG, about the many issues that affect the lives of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened and Deafblind people every day.

Sarah Newton MP Statement [pdf]

UKCoD Press Release

21 MarPress Release

We are pleased to see that the Department of Work and Pensions has decided to significantly raise the Access to Work cap. This will help deaf people whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL) to access the communication support so vital to enabling them to thrive and succeed in the workplace.

The increase in the cap to £57,200 from April 2018 means that many more people will no longer face restrictions that impact their ability to carry out their jobs. We welcome this development which will reduce the barriers people face when accessing vital support to work, but we believe it is important to continue to monitor the impact of the cap on those with highest needs.

We welcome the ongoing engagement that the DWP has had with the sector through the UK Council on Deafness and DWP’s commitment to work collaboratively with us to monitor the impact of the cap. We will work with Access to Work’s specialist team as it seeks to coproduce tailored workplace assessments, and to improve its advice to Deaf people and employers, including on the appropriate use of technology, and we are committed to continue working with the Department to explore how this scheme can work for all.

 

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