Join us Support us

Archive for January, 2016

15 JanDWP trials access by telephone for sign language users

People who use British Sign Language (BSL) can now contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via telephone.

DWP has begun a six month pilot of a service that allows people whose first or only language is BSL to contact DWP about Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (65+), Disability Living Allowance (under 65) and Access to Work. Following the pilot the Department intends to provide the service via the Crown Commercial Service framework agreement for language services.

The video relay service (VRS), provided by SignVideo, connects the deaf person to a sign language interpreter via a camera on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. The hearing person at DWP will be connected to the interpreter via a telephone.

The service will be open to everyone during normal working hours. All someone has to do is click on the hyperlink on the relevant web page and they will be connected.

Jim Edwards, chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said: “The UK Council on Deafness is delighted DWP has taken this step to open up access for deaf people who use BSL. We trust the pilot will be successful and look forward to more government services becoming accessible, as they are in Scotland.

“We are also glad the Department has commissioned one of the companies that has voluntarily agreed to our standards for VRS. It means deaf people can be assured the interpreter will be registered with NRCPD or a member of SASLI, which means they will be properly qualified and follow a code of conduct.”

07 JanHelp for deaf people in BSL with completing tax returns

Deaf self-employed people can get free advice in British Sign Language with completing their tax return, thanks to a new service from RAD and HMRC

Royal Association for Deaf people and HMRC’s innovative new service makes tax information and advice more accessible to Deaf people.

The January 31st deadline for submitting online Self Assessment forms is fast approaching. Deaf people can visit to access a British Sign Language (BSL) tax advisor by webcam or contact HMRC direct via Video Interpreting Service.

See full Press Release


04 JanDWP seeks evidence for market review

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is seeking evidence for a review of the communication and language support market. The Department today published the call for evidence. The deadline for submissions is 4 March 2016. The review is being led by DWP but covers

  • the whole of the UK;
  • all forms of support that enable communication between deaf, deafblind and hearing people; and
  • all settings, including education, employment, health and social care, the arts, and sport.

The review will seek to estimate current and future supply and demand in the UK, but international evidence is welcome. It will also consider the current and future impact of technology on the market, such as video relay services.

All interested organisations and individuals that have relevant information or experience are invited to make a submission. In particular, unpublished data and research are welcome.

Jim Edwards, chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said: “This review is the welcome outcome of collaboration between DWP and the deaf sector over the past two years. It’s great to see government departments and the UK Council on Deafness leading it together.

“The review will help us understand what we need to do to make sure deaf and deafblind people have equal access to all walks of life. I encourage anyone who has relevant evidence to send it to DWP.”

If you have any questions about the review, please contact DWP via

The questions

What is the size and value of the demand for the different types of communication and language support in the UK?

How might this demand change in the future?

What is the number of communication and language professionals nationally and the type and level of skills that are on offer?

How might this supply change in the future?

What are the types of technology currently available that facilitate communication and the future developments in the pipeline?

How might an increasing uptake of both current technology and new developments affect the market for communication and language services in the future?

04 JanAccess to Work: factsheet for customers

The Department for Work and Pensions has now published its factsheet for customers about Access to Work both in English and BSL which can be found here: