We, the Deaf BSL Community, via Scotland’s BSL Partners*, ask that your party’s manifesto accords us our equality and human rights via Commitment, Engagement, Access, Communication and Empowerment.
We ask you to engage with Scotland’s BSL Partners to commit to and adopt the following five goals to ensure that Deaf people are not left out and that Scotland remains the best place for Deaf and Deafblind BSL people to live, work, learn and visit.
Goal 1: COMMITMENT to the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, the BSL National Plan and BSL Local Plans
For the Scottish Parliament, its Government and its MSPs to maintain their support for the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 and all the work that is relevant under the legislation including the BSL National Plan and BSL Local Plans. All the public bodies that are required to provide services under the Act to commit to, and maintain working with, the Deaf BSL Community to promote the Act and development of BSL services.
Goal 2: ENGAGEMENT with Deaf BSL users
For the Scottish Parliament, its Government and other public bodies to continue to work with Deaf BSL users towards the actions stated in the Plans and to do so via wide and transparent consultations which are led by culturally Deaf BSL facilitators.
Goal 3: ACCESS and information in BSL
For all statutory and public bodies in Scotland to commit to ensuring that public information is translated and released in BSL and English simultaneously so Deaf BSL users receive the information at the same time as their hearing peers. That statutory and public bodies also commit to ensuring that the information is presented by Deaf BSL users themselves in a culturally appropriate manner. That all public bodies continue to commit to face-to-face BSL/English interpreting services as the first choice for communication and to consult with Deaf BSL users about other options such as online or video interpreting services.
Goal 4: COMMUNICATION and language
For families with a young Deaf or Deafblind child to have access to early years support services including access to information about BSL and Deaf culture, and, opportunities to acquire BSL. Deaf children and young people to have unlimited access to BSL in education with qualified Teachers of the Deaf and other staff skilled to Level 3 BSL at the very minimum. Promote a whole school ethos to demonstrate a positive image of BSL enabling Deaf children and young people to flourish. To introduce BSL as a 1+2 language option in schools – taught by trained Deaf teachers of BSL – and to invest in that training. Commit to training Deaf BSL users to become teachers of BSL, BSL Awareness and BSL Levels 1-3 courses in order to teach frontline staff in public services so that they can communicate with Deaf BSL users directly.
Goal 5: EMPOWERMENT and democratic participation in society
For all Scottish political parties to commit to engaging with Deaf BSL users so they may participate in and access politics in BSL. This commitment to include political parties providing their information in BSL. That the Scottish Government, Public Authorities and other public bodies support Deaf BSL users to be decision-makers themselves, promoting the equal representation of Deaf BSL users as policymakers and our right to make decisions about our own lives.
For more information, contact James Barnes-Miller at email@example.com
*Scotland’s BSL Partners are the British Deaf Association Scotland, Deaf Action, Deafblind Scotland and the National Deaf Children’s Society.