The purchase of goods and services by businesses and public sector bodies is called Procurement. Procurement practices aim to acquire the best and most appropriate goods and services at the lowest possible price. Local Authorities, Health Boards and Education Departments must follow the Scottish Government Procurement Policy guidelines.1
When deciding on where to purchase these goods or services from, public bodies may ask businesses to submit a tender. This means applying to provide the goods or services and setting out how their company will provide the best goods or services for the best price. SCoD is keen to make sure that the needs of deaf people are considered in the procurement processes of all public bodies.
Scottish Council on Deafness recommends that public bodies:
1. Involve deaf people in the planning of the provision of the goods and services that they are contracted to provide bearing in mind that although it may be preferable from a financial point of view to provide a ‘one-stop’ shop approach to sensory impairment, deaf people and people with a visual impairment have very different needs.
2. Provide their staff with deaf awareness training2 at induction and on an annual basis as part of their continuing professional development. All frontline staff should receive communication skills training on an annual basis.
3. Provide the appropriate registered professional communication support3 for all deaf people – service users, members of the public and employees – when people require it, for meetings, appointments, events and consultations.
4. Produce information in alternative formats4 as and when required. This should be published at the same time as any information produced in English.
5. Provide websites that are fully accessible to Deaf and deafblind people and where film/video clips are used, these should carry captions as standard.
6. Ensure that all staff know how to use a textphone and are aware of text relay services.5 Whenever possible, deaf people should have the option to make contact in person.
7. The renewal process for contracting out goods and services should have a customer/service user feedback process built in – this should be fully accessible to deaf people who use the goods and services provided.
2 See our Information Sheet on Deaf Awareness Training
3 Our Information Sheet on Communication Support has further advice
4 See our Position Statement entitled Access to Information and our Information Sheet on Accessible Information
5 See our Information Sheet on Accessible Information