Barnet council has launched a British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting service, InterpretersLive!, that assists deaf and hard of hearing residents access its contact centres.
Earlier this year the British Sign Language Bill received royal assent, becoming a nationally recognised language and the council responded by reviewing how it could improve access to services for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
As part of this process, the council has undertaken work on Barnet.gov.uk to ensure content is accessible, however, for some residents being able to communicate with someone directly can be essential.
Cllr Paul Edwards, Barnet Council’s Adults and Safeguarding Committee Chair, said: “We have a commitment to ensuring our services can be accessed equally by all residents and continue to find ways we can improve their experience with council services.
“This legislation highlights how simple things like picking up the phone and asking for advice and support is not an option for some in our community, we aim to bridge that gap so all residents can benefit from council services that affect their everyday lives.”
As part of the process, the Council has engaged with residents alongside InterpretersLive! provider, Sign Solutions, to test this tool and will continue to work with the community to ensure service offerings can be improved for residents.
Clare Vale, Managing Director, Sign Solutions said: “Sign Solutions are delighted to be partnering with Barnet Council to provide our on-demand video interpreting service, InterpretersLive!. Residents of Barnet Council will now be able to access council services through their first or preferred language of BSL.
“Proactive in their approach, Barnet Council has put the Deaf community at the heart of implementing InterpretersLive!, ensuring that the communities’ needs are met, and we look forward to building on our partnership and supporting deaf and hard of hearing residents access council services.”
Interpreters Live can be accessed via Barnet.gov.uk where residents can request an interpreter between 9am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday or 9am to 5.00pm Friday immediately or book an appointment.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Founded in 1998, Sign Solutions provide on demand and around the clock interpreting, training, and translation services nationwide, enabling Deaf people to communicate more effectively and gain equal access to information, products, services, education and work. Our mission is to provide access and combat inequality by enabling people of different languages, cultures and communities to talk to each other. We work closely with many qualified BSL translators across the UK, who all have extensive experience supporting Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of hearing people. We facilitate communication needs in any domain, from legal or business to medical, educational, conference, community and even theatre.