Presentation by Avril Hepner (on the left) and Helen Morgans-Wenhold (on the right).
Text transcript of a BSL video:
Helen: I’m Helen and this is Avril and we work at BDA Scotland.
Helen: Take us through what’s been happening over the past three years.
Avril: Oh, it’s been tremendous! To start with, there was the work leading up to the BSL (Scotland) Act being passed and then, last October 2017, there was another significant event, wasn’t there?
Helen: Yes, we had the publication and launch of the BSL National Plan which was also translated into BSL. Do you want to tell us what the plan is for the next three years?
Avril: Well, we both worked hard at meeting with you, the Deaf Community, and collating information which helped with formulating the National Plan. But there’s more to do. We now need your involvement in the Authorities’ plans. These are the plans by councils, the NHS, colleges, universities and so on. Each of these have to produce an ‘Authority Plan’.
The BDA have been working with the Deaf Community and collating their views but now, we will be turning our attention to local authorities – councils. Helen, do you want to outline what we’ll be doing?
Helen: From now until the end of October 2018, we will be focusing on the local councils throughout Scotland – all 32 of them – from the north of the country through to the central belt, south, east and west. Tell us what will happen, Avril.
Avril: Let’s first be clear whether individual plans are required from each council or if some of them could collaborate to produce a joint plan?
Helen: Yes, they can. They can work together on producing plans because they may want to tie their plans in with the NHS plan and others may want to work with the colleges and universities in their area. So, some may work as a group of five. Others may work singly. It’s up to them.
Avril: So, it’s possible councils may produce their own plans or work with others to save time or avoid duplication. Whatever happens, each council is responsible for producing its own ‘Authority Plan’. That doesn’t fall onto Deaf people, it’s the councils’ responsibility. Nor can they just decide what they want to say or do. They must take their cue from the National Plan. They can mirror the National Plan, copy its contents, modify them, add to them or not as the case may be. That’s for them to construct and produce. After that…
Helen: …After that, the councils have to present their plans to you and ask you what you think of them. Please don’t think you have nothing to contribute. You know your own area well and can say what you think and what you’d like to see. That’s part of the dialogue and consultation that will take place with you. There may be budget considerations for them. Going forward…
Avril: It’s important to know there are three stages to this. First, as Helen said, the councils have to produce a first draft to present to you and ask what you think of their ideas and get your views.
This could be at an open meeting or a forum or something like that. If such meetings are arranged in your area – say, Dundee, or on one of the islands, please do go along. These meetings may be held by the council only, the NHS or colleges or universities in your area, or, there may be a joint presentation.
Going to these meetings means you will be able to give your views and make suggestions about what to add and so on. After such meetings, the council’s staff will use the feedback to revise and refine the Plan.
Helen: After that, they’ll show you the Plan again and produce a BSL translation ready for October 2018 when all the Plans will be rolled out.
Avril: This means there’ll be a number of ‘Authority’ plans which will have been formed using the National Plan. This next stage is really important. Please keep watching for announcements about these meetings which, we, from BDA Scotland, will be telling you about on this Facebook page.
You’ll be able to see when they’ll be held and where and attend them. If you don’t go, or there is little response from the Deaf community, the council may make decisions without your input. So it’s vital that you attend and contribute.
Can you explain what BDA Scotland’s role – our role – is at these meetings?
Helen: We can be available to attend and give support at the meetings. We don’t take part in the discussions. We would just be there in the background giving support. If you’re confident and able to contribute and don’t need support, that’s great but if you do, just contact us.
Avril: To be clear, there are two possible types of support. One is where the council may ask BDA Scotland to facilitate the meeting and the engagement and dialogue between you and them about their Plan. Or, it might be that they feel they can manage the meetings and don’t require our involvement. But we’ll still be available to give support.
Helen and I have already made contact with some councils and some have started to make plans. We will be keeping an eye on developments and their plans for meetings.
Another piece of information is that if you want to brief yourself before going to a meeting, you can do this by…
Helen: …by going to the new website that was recently launched and look for ‘Local Authorities’. Click on that and you’ll see an example of the plan.
Avril: So, you can see the example of a ‘Local Authority’ plan on the website or you can contact us at BDA Scotland and ask us to come to your Deaf Club or Centre so we can explain the process and what the plan might include. That means you’ll be well-briefed ahead of meeting with the council, NHS or others and be able to discuss things with confidence. So if you’d like that, just get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to help. It’s important you’re able to able to contribute as well as possible because these Authority plans will become embedded as part of the Act and cannot be changed for a long time. So it’s important to get it right from the start.
Helen: Absolutely! For more information, do email us. Thanks.
Avril: Thanks. Bye!
The new website can be found at: www.bslscotlandact2015.scot
There is a BSL video to explain more about the website – tap here to see the video via one of Facebook groups.
Contact us at BDA Scotland via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org