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The Five Pledges - BSL Charter

Local authorities and public services across the UK are asked to sign up to the Charter for British Sign Language (BSL) and make five pledges to improve access and rights for Deaf BSL users.


1. Ensure access for Deaf people to information and services

Pledge: Deaf people will get the same quality of provision, information and standards and the same right to be consulted as everyone else.

This will make more Deaf people (include those who have problems with written information) aware of services and able to access these independently. It will also ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010.


2. Promote learning and high quality teaching of British Sign Language (BSL)

Pledge: The families of deaf children and Deaf young people and local authority/public service employees will have access to BSL lessons from suitably qualified teachers.

This will improve communication and bonding between parents/carers, children and siblings, reduce Deaf people’s isolation and improve relations between Deaf and hearing people.


3. Support Deaf children and families

Pledge: At the point of diagnosis of deafness, health and education providers will offer parents genuinely informed choices, including a bilingual/bicultural approach.

This will increase Deaf people’s academic achievement and job opportunities and enhance family life by improving communication between children, parents/carers and siblings.


4. Ensure staff working with Deaf people can communicate effectively in BSL

Customer-facing staff will have basic BSL skills. Specialist staff will have higher-level BSL skills so they can deliver good services to Deaf people without needing interpreters.

This will improve customer satisfaction and reduce the need for BSL/English interpreters when providing specialist services for Deaf people.


5. Consult with the local Deaf community on a regular basis

Pledge: Deaf people will have the right to be consulted on services or changes to services that affect them and to have input into consultations alongside other forums and user groups.

This will improve services for Deaf people, empower Deaf people and free them up to contribute more to the local community. 


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