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‘Deaf Access to Communications’ Category

12 AprUKCoD/DAC Relay UK Survey

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2020 Relay UK survey.  The initial results were surprising.  We will now review the information provided by you before we can issue key findings.   During this process we will be approaching some participants who provided contact details to enable to obtain views on possible solutions to the issues identified.  If any participants would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you.  In the first instance please contact Clare Long at  We will then be discussing the resulting wish list to improve the communication relay services with BT, Ofcom and others.

09 DecDownload the Relay UK app, for easy conversations with anyone, anywhere


Download the Relay UK app, for easy conversations with anyone, anywhere

Relay UK, a service provided by BT, helps people with hearing and speech difficulties communicate with anyone over the phone, whether that’s family and friends, work colleagues or healthcare providers. Simply type what you’d like to say, and read the replies straight away, while an assistant relays the conversation.

You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer. And the Relay UK service is free – you’ll only pay your normal charges for the calls you make. Check with your phone provider for more details.

If you, or someone you know is hard of hearing or speech impaired, watch Relay UK’s animation to find out how they can help.

Please do share this information and the animation with your contacts where you think the Relay UK app could help.

See how the app works

20 JulMaking on-demand services accessible – Second consultation

Ofcom is carrying out a second consultation (PDF, 1023.9 KB) on how on-demand services should be made accessible, to help us to make recommendations to Government.  The videos below give a summary of their proposals on areas where they particularly want to hear from sign-language users.

Video Links:


BSL summary videos

How to respond

To respond in BSL:

  • send Ofcom a video of you signing your response (up to five minutes); or
  • upload a video of you signing your response to YouTube (or another video hosting platform) and send them the link.

The email address is

The closing date for responses is 16 September 2020.

Full details on their website here.

01 AprOfcom – Telecoms

Ofcom logo

How broadband and mobile firms are protecting vulnerable customers during coronavirus pandemic

Keeping the UK’s communications networks going is more important than ever. So we welcome the efforts of the UK’s main broadband and mobile companies who have committed to helping their customers deal with issues they might face as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Measures recently agreed with Ofcom and Government include supporting customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bills during the current situation; removing all data caps on broadband services; and offering new mobile and landline packages – including free calls – to help people stay in touch with each other.

The focus of providers right now must be on keeping people connected, especially those who need most support. So as a result of the unprecedented challenges industry is dealing with, we have provided advice about how they should comply with some of our rules at this time, with specific details on automatic compensation and the Broadband Speeds Code of Practice.

We are continuing to work closely with phone and broadband providers to ensure people can stay connected and are treated fairly.

25 MarAccess to Relay UK for regular calls

Ofcom is working closely with the UK’s telecoms providers (in particular with BT) to make sure all consumers have access to essential communications services during the current situation.

BT is maintaining the Relay UK services and is making sure its staff are able to deal with calls to its 18000 service (the equivalent of 999).

Customers have noticed recently that they have to wait longer than usual to access the service.  This is due to more calls and way calls are answered and handled.

BT has introduced a range of measures to help Relay UK manage better with more calls.

BT is:

  • Reallocating staff from other duties to relay calls
  • Recruiting and training additional staff
  • Looking at options to reduce hang-ups while callers/called parties are waiting for the relay assistant to be joined to the call

Text relay calls are currently handled in a number of locations across the UK.  BT may open an additional call centre if this is necessary, and this is being considered.

BT are looking in to prioritising relay calls to NHS 111 so people with health needs will be handled first.

It is useful to remember that NHS 111 is now accessible 24 hours a day in British Sign Language.  Relay UK users who are BSL users also have this option: