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Posts Tagged ‘Deaf Access to Communications’

25 MarAccess to Relay UK for regular calls

Ofcom is working closely with the UK’s telecoms providers (in particular with BT) to make sure all consumers have access to essential communications services during the current situation.

BT is maintaining the Relay UK services and is making sure its staff are able to deal with calls to its 18000 service (the equivalent of 999).

Customers have noticed recently that they have to wait longer than usual to access the service.  This is due to more calls and way calls are answered and handled.

BT has introduced a range of measures to help Relay UK manage better with more calls.

BT is:

  • Reallocating staff from other duties to relay calls
  • Recruiting and training additional staff
  • Looking at options to reduce hang-ups while callers/called parties are waiting for the relay assistant to be joined to the call

Text relay calls are currently handled in a number of locations across the UK.  BT may open an additional call centre if this is necessary, and this is being considered.

BT are looking in to prioritising relay calls to NHS 111 so people with health needs will be handled first.

It is useful to remember that NHS 111 is now accessible 24 hours a day in British Sign Language.  Relay UK users who are BSL users also have this option: https://interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111.

05 MarConsultation – BSL access 999 emergency

cover photo, Image may contain: outdoor

Ofcom’s consultation on introducing an emergency 999 video relay service, has now closed.  We hope to see Ofcom’s reaction to the consultation in June 2020.

Ofcom have said that if they decide to introduce 999 VRS, it will probably take a year to set it up.  We have encouraged Ofcom to make this process as quick as possible and to ensure that the Deaf community is involved and informed on the work they are doing.  We will continue to make this point to Ofcom and share any information we can with this group as we get it.

Thank you to all of you for sharing your experiences, and over 800 people who signed the petition run by Action on Hearing Loss.

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 campaigns.email@hearingloss.org.uk – this will not be made public without your clear permission.

See Full details on our Facebook page.

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.

02 OctUKCoD Annual Conference

At BT Tower, London on 20th November

Early Bird Rate available now!