The lead organisation for deaf issues in Scotland
We represent organisations working with and on behalf of
- Deaf Sign Language users
- Deafblind and
- Hard of Hearing people.
SCoD’s Parliamentary Manifesto
With the passage of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2015/11/contents/enacted) , ensuring that the needs of the Deaf Community are met is becoming a prominent issue with Scottish public bodies.
The Scottish Government is hosting a National Advisory Group that will advise the Minister for Scotland’s Languages on the National British Sign Language (BSL) Plan which in turn will support the Scottish public bodies to make their services much more accessible to the wider BSL community. The majority of members of this National Advisory Group will be Deaf BSL users and Deafblind tactile BSL users; the others will be representative of the national public bodies. This is a first for Scotland.
The Scottish Council on Deafness has put together a manifesto that asks for the wider needs of the one in five people in Scotland who have a hearing loss to be considered by the next government to ensure full access and equality with their hearing peers so that they can be active citizens.
British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015
The Scottish Parliament held the debate on the motion S4M-13046, in the name of Mark Griffin, on the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill and on S4M-13052, in the name of John Swinney, on the financial resolution to the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill. At the end of the debate, the Chamber agreed without a vote:
- That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill.
- That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any expenditure of a kind referred to in Rule 9.12.3(b) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act.
To find out more, go to the Scottish Parliament website.
SCoD welcomes the Bill as it has been introduced. SCoD would like to continue to support Mark Griffin MSP in his work on this Bill and we congratulate him on getting the Bill to this point. The first responses to us from our members have been very positive and that the Bill is clear and concise. There may be small adjustments to be made – for example, for an increase in scrutiny that involves Deaf BSL users; a sentence that is more inclusive of Deafblind BSL users; detailed guidance for the plans; and for the BSL plans to be published in BSL.
We are waiting on an announcement from the Scottish Government on their position on the BSL Bill, which we hope will be positive. We have received several “statements of support” for the Bill from our members and look forward to receiving more comments.
Several of our members have asked for more information about the Bill and the papers that come with it. We have put together a number of FAQs – available here – that should make things clearer. We will continue to update these as the Bill progresses through the Committee stages.
The Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee has been given the role of gathering evidence to support the Bill and to analyse this evidence. The Committee has issued a call for evidence which closes on Monday 2nd February 2015. For more information, click here.
Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee
British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill – Evidence session with Mark Griffin MSP. The Committee held its first evidence session on the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill on the 16th December 2014, and the video of the session is now available. It has audio, captions and a BSL translation. To view the video, go to the Scottish Parliament website.