The Scottish Legal Aid Board’s invitation to people with hearing loss to take part in research about access to civil legal services
The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB – http://www.slab.org.uk/index.html)working) with the Scottish Council on Deafness (www.scod.org.uk), the British Deaf Association (http://www.bda.org.uk/ ), the EHRC (https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/commission-scotland) and the Deaf Sector Partnership (http://deafsectorpartnership.net/) is working on a piece of research exploring access to civil legal services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened and Deafblind people.
The findings from this research will be used to help improve access to civil legal services for people with hearing loss. We would like your help in publicising this research to deaf people who may have used these services.
People can take part in one of two ways:
- An online survey (for those who prefer to communicate in written English) is available now and the link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/civillegalservices ; or
- Deafblind people can contact Deafblind Scotland directly to take part: by telephone on 0141 777 6111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deaf BSL users can use contactSCOTLAND to take part in a telephone survey. This is currently being developed and will go live shortly.
There is an information sheet, which gives more background as to who SLAB are, what will be done with the information, and what is involved in taking part in the research.
Please do publicise the research as widely as possible to your members, service users and contacts. The more people who take part, the more impact the findings of the research can have.
It is also helpful if SLAB know how many people you publicise this to. If you could let the SLAB researchers know when you make something available that would be much appreciated.
More information will follow on how Deaf BSL users can take part in BSL.
The Deaf Sector Partnership has a new website with information about the partnership organisations, what the partnership was set up to do, the National Advisory Group and the preparation for the National Plan. To find out more, click here.
Irene Bruce and Angela Bonomy from contactSCOTLAND and the Scottish Government attended the joint SCoD/BDA Scotland meeting on Tuesday 9th June 2015 to look at commissioning the Deaf Sector Partnership to undertake some specific research on the contactSCOTLAND BSL Online Video Relay Interpreting Service pilot which was extended to all public services on 2nd March 2015.
In April 2012, NHS 24 introduced a contactSCOTLAND BSL Online Video Relay Interpreting Service pilot, funded by Scottish Government, as part of a wider project to establish better access to telehealth for service users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Several deaf organisations, including the BDA and SCoD, were involved in the pilot’s Advisory Group. The development supported NHS 24 and its partner Boards in meeting their equality duties under the 2010 Act, to eliminate discrimination by making reasonable adjustments to a service to address potential discrimination as a result of disability. The NHS 24 pilot and subsequently, the development of contactSCOTLAND BSL and new technology has given Deaf BSL Community what they asked for in terms of access to services during the exploration period in 2009/10 on how NHS 24 could make their services more accessible for deaf people.
The purpose of the pilot was to learn lessons on the service’s effectiveness and make recommendations to Scottish Ministers on its future direction. Following an initial review the government learned that, due to low uptake of the NHS 24 service and high costs, the pilot was not demonstrating best use of resources and achieving value for money. However, the consensus view of stakeholders was that to ensure that deaf users have equality of opportunity and access to services to the same standard as everyone else, the service should continue but not in its current form
In February 2015, the Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn, agreed that the service should be extended to all Scottish Public Services, in order to make it more cost effective, more widely accessible to users and allow time for a viable business case to be made regarding its future positioning. The extended service, ‘contactSCOTLAND’, was launched on Monday 2nd March 2015.
At the same time, the Minister wrote to all Public Services in Scotland, Deaf BSL Users and Deaf Networks advising them of the extended service and that an evaluation would take place to inform recommendations on the future of the contactSCOTLAND BSL Online Video Relay Interpreting Service, by summer 2015. A Scottish Government procurement exercise would then follow in line with EU Procurement rules.
The aim of this research is to assess the effectiveness and impact of the extended contactSCOTLAND BSL Online Video Relay Interpreting service pilot ensuring that it is cost effective, sustainable and meets the needs of the deaf community in a sustainable way.
There are other considerations to be looked at, for example, identifying key information gaps and considering future research requirements to inform the evidence base; but these are out with the scope of this piece of research.
Our contribution to the evaluation of the service is to assess the impact of contactSCOTLAND BSL Online Video Relay Interpreting service pilot. We are engaging with Deaf/Deafblind BSL users, their families and carers, deaf organisations, BSL/English Interpreters, and public services to find out what works, what might be improved and what their aspirations are for the service’s future.
For more information about contactSCOTLAND, click here.
The Scottish Government Equality Unit has funded five deaf organisations to take forward the preparatory work on the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill with the Scottish Government, listed public authorities and Deaf/Deafblind/BSL users in Scotland.
The work will focus on two primary outcomes:
- Engaging with the Deaf/BSL community (including Deafblind people who use BSL); and
- Supporting public bodies to better understand/meet the needs of Deaf and Deafblind BSL users.
Each organisation, while being funded separately, will collaborate and work in partnership with other four organisations as well as the Scottish Government and the Voluntary Action Fund.
Deaf Sector Partnership
The organisations in the Deaf Sector Partnership are:
The Scottish Government Equality Unit
The Voluntary Action Fund
British Deaf Association – BDA Scotland
In April 2012, NHS 24 introduced a contactSCOTLAND-BSL Online Video Relay Interpreting Service pilot, funded by the Scottish Government, as part of a wider project to establish better access to telehealth for deaf service users. This pilot project supported NHS 24 and its partner Boards in meeting their equality duties under the 2010 Act, to eliminate discrimination by making reasonable adjustments to a telephone service to address potential discrimination.
The NHS 24 pilot and subsequently, the development of contactSCOTLAND BSL and new technology has given Deaf BSL Community what they asked for in terms of access to services during the exploration period in 2009/10 on how NHS 24 could make their services more accessible for deaf people.
For more information on how to use contactSCOTLAND-BSL if you are Deaf, see the poster below or see Derek’s BSL version of the poster by clicking here.Service User Group
contactSCOTLAND-BSL is looking for volunteers to join their Service User Network to tell them what you think of the service and how it could be improved. Whether you have used contactSCOTLAND before or might wish to use it in the future to contact public services, they would welcome your participation in the Group.
If you are interested in taking part please contact:
SCoD’s Policy and Research Officer, on behalf of the BSL and Linguistic Access Working Group (BSLLAWG), carried out a review of the “The Long and Winding Road: A Roadmap to British Sign Language & Linguistic Access in Scotland“. The summary report of the review is available to read here. The full report can be read here.