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‘UK Council on Deafness’ Category

18 DecConsultation – BSL access 999 emergency

The regulator, Ofcom, have published a consultation setting out the case for the 999 emergency service phone line to be contactable in BSL.

Ofcom want feedback on
  • the need for BSL access to 999; and
  • to understand how the deaf community wants the service to work

Three BSL videos are available on the Ofcom Website and can be viewed here or you can read a transcript (PDF, 209.1 KB) of the three videos.

Details of how to respond back to Ofcom are also available on their website.

What UKCoD are doing 

To put pressure on Ofcom we need to demonstrate the barriers deaf people face. We need to show why text based solutions don’t work for BSL users. 

To gather this information, UKCoD have recently created a Facebook Group called BSL access 999 emergency

What can you do

  • Join the BSL access 999 emergency Group; and
  • Share your experience of access 999 – or your fears about having to access emergency services via a text service
  • Explain how access in BSL to the fire, police and ambulance would help

If you don’t have a facebook account or wish to share something in private 

Please e-mail us at – this will not be made public without your clear permission.

See Full details on our Facebook page.

25 NovBT rebrand Next Generation Text to Relay UK

BT launched  Relay UK today with a new and improved app.  It brings relay services for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired people right up to date with the latest app technology.

The service remains free to use for all UK mobile customers in the UK and the new app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or on Google Play for Android onto your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Ofcom regulated service translates text to speech and vice versa with the help of a specially trained Relay Assistant based in one of BT’s contact centres around the country.

The new app offers an improved customer experience and new functionality. The technology, developed by BT, enables a user to easily make a call based on their own accessibility needs. The user can connect to calls by selecting one of three options: Type & Read, Speak & Read or Type & Hear.

To find out more about how it works, visit:


20 NovUKCoD Health & Social Care Conference

Colleagues from across the health and social sector came together with UKCoD member organisations last week for our annual UKCoD conference. This year the theme was “Creating a Dialogue: Person-centred Practice with D/deaf people in Health and Social Care” and BT once again hosted our conference, this time at BT Centre near St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The conference began with a session focused on Talking to Government. Craig Crowley, Chair of UKCoD, led this session which included a presentation from Susan Daniels OBE, CEO National Deaf Children’s Society who spoke about the progress that’s been made and what it still to do. Dr Jagjit Sethi, Specialist Advisor to the Chief Scientific Officer, NHS England, also gave a presentation outlining her role and the ways in which the NHS is beginning to change, particularly in preparing to deliver their new Long Term Plan.
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01 OctAction Deafness and Deaf Direct Merger

Action Deafness and Deaf Direct are delighted to announce a merger will take effect from 1st October 2019.

Watch BSL video of the announcement here.

The merger is an exciting opportunity for both organisations, two successful charities that share similar objectives and values, putting service-users at the heart of everything they do.

Working together to share resources, make cost savings, share knowledge, to offer a wider range of innovative services and create even more positive impacts in the lives of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened and Deafblind lives throughout in both catchment areas.

Karen Welch and Emma Allen – Joint Chairs of Action Deafness share this statement:

We are excited to be merging with Deaf Direct and extending the digital and innovative interventions we offer across our existing services and beyond. The combined expertise and knowledge of our staff will enable us to provide a wider range of services and reach out to more Deaf people that need support.

The two charities share many similarities including shared values and history of working together. This merger makes us a stronger organisation and enable us to campaign and address inequality more widely across the Deaf and Disability sector.”

Barry Ross, Deaf Direct Chair of Board of Trustees explains why Action Deafness is the right fit for them:

Action Deafness are a well-respected Deaf-led organisation in communications interpreting and community support. We’ve enjoyed working in partnership with them for the past ten months.

Merging with Action Deafness will enable us to continue to offer our high quality, innovative services in Worcester, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire and extend the range of support and development available for our staff.”

What will happen to Action Deafness and Deaf Direct?

From 1st October 2019, a new merged organisation will be Action Deafness. Deaf Direct will cease to be an independent charity as of 30th September 2019.

Deaf Direct based services will continue to use the name Deaf Direct locally as it is well known to local Deaf service-users and professionals.

Outside of this specific arrangement in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire, the merged organisation is called Action Deafness.

What will the merger mean for service-users, commissioners and wider stakeholders?

There will be no disruption to any Action Deafness services. Deaf Direct’s existing services and staff will be transferred to the merged organisation.

Action Deafness will take on leases for Deaf Direct’s current service sites ensuring services will continue to run from the same sites.

Both executive leadership teams are doing everything they can to ensure there is as little disruption to service users, commissioners and wider stakeholders as possible.

Finally, Craig Crowley CEO of the merged organisation states:

We are delighted the merger will be positive for everyone involved, in particular, local Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened and Deafblind people will continue to get the best possible support.

Staff from both organisations have been understanding and supportive of this approach.

We look forward to, growing, developing and providing quality services within our catchment areas with a sense of renewed optimism, focus and confidence”.

For more information please contact our HR & Communications Manager Charlotte Jefferies via email:


21 AugUKCoD Annual Conference

Monday, 11th November
at BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJ

bt centre

Creating a Dialogue: Person-centred practice with d/Deaf people in health & social care

This year’s UKCoD conference, hosted by BT, will bring together experts from across the health and social care sector to discuss what best practice looks like when working with people who are d/Deaf or have hearing loss.

The conference will include conversations between public sector bodies, regulators, providers, commissioners and UKCoD member organisations on the latest innovations in quality and co-production. Whether working with older people in social care settings and learning how best to include those with hearing loss, or ensuring access to health pathways for profoundly deaf people who use sign language, the conference will provide an interactive environment in which to share best practice and learn about what’s going on in the sector.

Full of tips and tricks to improve your own practice or provision, this is the ideal event for anyone working in health and social care, as well as staff or volunteers at UKCoD member organisations. UKCoD will also confirm its new strategy for the future as well as plans for Deaf Awareness Week 2020.

Tickets are limited so book now to take advantage of early bird pricing!

Book your place

Exhibiting Space is available – please contact Clare Long at for details

Gold Sponsors

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