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British Sign Language

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to (a) recognise British Sign Language and (b) improve access to public services for British Sign Language users; and if he will make a statement. [102900]

We have held discussions with various interested organisations, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires service providers to consider making reasonable adjustments to the way they provide their services so they are accessible to disabled people. The provision of a BSL interpreter could be considered a reasonable adjustment. The DRC's Code of Practice (Rights, Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises) includes examples of situations where providing a BSL interpreter might be a reasonable adjustment.The Government have funded projects with the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People to increase the number of BSL interpreters and to improve the infrastructure for interpreter training and assessment.