Join us Support us

Posts Tagged ‘All Party Group on Deafness’

12 DecTechnology and the Workplace

UKCoD Conference

This year’s conference was themed ‘Technology and the Workplace – fact vs fiction’ and was very kindly hosted by BT at their iconic building, BT Tower for which we are extremely grateful.

 

The conference was well supported with our thanks to sponsors InterpreterNow, SignLive and RedBee Media together with exhibitors ATLA, SignVideo, Terra Consultancy, BIVR & AVSTTR and The Association of Lipspeakers.

With excellent speakers within programme, many from far afield, it gave the audience the opportunity to listen to interesting topics and gather information and the opportunity to ask questions during the panel sessions.

Our Chair, Craig Crowley MBE, summarised the day saying that we faced a ‘brave new world’, with speakers talking of the future and technology, its impacts and how artificial intelligence may will embed itself as part of our being.

The day set off to a brilliant start.  We learn’t of the importance of DAC, ensuring that the quality of standards are in place, a summary of AI and the use of AI to deaf people giving the pro’s and con’s and in hearing technology.  We heard of the recent developments in STTR and how technology is improving outputs and how the National Theatre seek to make theatre accessible, with new technology being developed using smart glasses to access live subtitles at National Theatre performances, enabling them to view captions from any seat.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Chair of the APPG on Deafness stated the importance of our MPs receiving details of the ongoing issues and encouraged us all to contact our MPs and keep pressing for them to join the APPG on Deafness.

The active and positive research and future improvements involving apps, smartphones and programming hope to make the future more positive and an interesting one.

Lilian Greenwood MP spoke powerfully of the importance of our continuing to campaign ‘to keep the foot on the lobbying pedal’ and chaired the first panel session which provided interesting discussions to take place.

The afternoon focused on the ‘Work place’.   Our Employment Group Chair, Darren Townsend-Handscomb set the afternoon scene, updating the audience on the group’s activities and areas around Access to Work.  We heard about the impacts and limitations with views from all sides from equality through to an independent assessors point of view.  We were updated on the types of support for employees and the possible changes within the workplace.  RedBee Media gave examples of how they are utilising their current members of staff and how the disability passport can break down barriers and lastly learn’t about innovative projects for new technological opportunities.

The day concluded with another interesting panel discussion, set by the excellent speakers throughout the afternoon.

Angela Matthews, Head and Policy and Advice, Business Disability Forum said ‘the range of speakers was excellent – to have Government, Third Sector, Audiologists, Academics, Committee Members and Assessors all on the platform is rarely done enough in our sector and made the debates all the more stronger and informed’.

Summary: Keep progressing, researching, raising awareness, developing & improving improving and achieving!

Thank you to all who were involved.

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.

 

[End]

02 MarHouse of Commons – Petition Debate

House of Commons first: live simultaneous BSL interpretation for petition debate

On Monday 5 March there will be a petition debate on making BSL part of the National Curriculum. The debate will be in Westminster Hall at 4.30pm.

For the first time, live in-picture interpretation for people watching live online will be available and a subtitled version will also be made available within hours of the debate.

Further details here

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

House of Commons first: live simultaneous BSL interpretation for petition debate

The Commons Petitions Committee has scheduled a debate in Westminster Hall on a petition calling for British Sign Language (BSL) to be part of the National Curriculum.

The petition, started by Sign Language performer and TV and radio presenter Wayne Barrow, has so far been signed by more than 26,500 people. He grew up in Birmingham with profoundly deaf parents. In the petition, Wayne Barrow argues that “Around 50,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language, so why is this not taught in schools? There are many children who are born deaf, and we need to give them a better chance at a more integrated future.” Read more of this article

06 FebMeeting with Sarah Newton MP

Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health

– Cap on Access to Work Awards

Sarah Newton MPThe UK Council on Deafness and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Deafness have held a positive meeting with the Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton MP, to discuss the cap on Access to Work awards.  The Minister described Access to Work as a fantastic scheme and indicated the Government desire to see it grow from year-to-year. She acknowledge that there were concerns around the cap and welcomed the meeting as a chance to hear the evidence from those affected.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Chair of the APPG, welcomed the meeting as a chance to re-open the dialogue with the Minister and highlighted the cross-party desire to re-establish the ability for Access to Work to support people at work whatever their work access needs. Stephen Lloyd, Vice-Chair of the APPG, notes the high unemployment rate which existed within the BSL community and said that there is an absence of role models for young deaf people. He argued that imposing a cap on Access to Work had the potential to knock the deaf community back and remove fifty years of progress. Read more of this article