Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and two of our supporters, SignVideo and Sign Lingual have announced that from 1st June 2015 members of the Deaf community can contact the Council’s Hearing Impairment Team in British Sign Language (BSL) via a SignVideo ‘BSL Live’ link on the OCC website.
To see this story in BSL, click play below, or scroll down for English.
BSL Live is a secure and easy-to-use BSL online video interpreting service provided by SignVideo. By simply clicking on a BSL Live icon on the OCC website, Deaf BSL users will connect to a professional BSL interpreter within minutes and have their call relayed to the Hearing Impairment Team.
The Hearing Impairment Team is a countywide team of specially trained staff, offering advice and support on any type of hearing impairment.
The Social Workers, Support Workers and Equipment Officers in the team have a wide experience of all issues relating to hearing impairment and are able to advise and support people of all ages with hearing problems, all of which can now be discussed in sign language through the BSL Live link Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm and Friday 8.30am to 4pm.
“I’m extremely pleased to be able to implement BSL Live into Oxfordshire’s Hearing Impairment Team service,” said Neelam Ahmed, Sensory Impairment Team Manager of Oxfordshire County Council. “This is an exciting and innovative way of working and will enable our service to be accessible to Deaf BSL users in their preferred language.”
The aim of BSL Live for the Hearing Impairment Team is a starting point to quickly gather initial information and either offer advice, signpost to another service, or progress to offering a home or office visit to support the Deaf person.
Currently there are times when information received from the Deaf person through text message, fax or email is not clear and it is difficult to ascertain what type of support the Deaf person is requesting and how urgent the request is.
The use of BSL Live will provide clearer communication and enable workers from the Hearing Impairment Team to quickly assess what type of support is being requested and how this can be provided.
The BSL Live service with the Hearing Impairment Team is currently for a one year trial period. If it is successful we will then consider implementing it on a permanent basis.
Jeff McWhinney, SignVideo’s Founder and Chair said:
“Due to lack of access to telephony services in sign language, Deaf BSL users often find it very difficult to make that important initial contact. OCC are to be praised for identifying this barrier and making sure that Deaf BSL users are able to fully access the Council’s services in their preferred language. Councils across the UK should follow Oxfordshire’s example and offer a range of ways for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to get in touch with them in order to access information and to receive support and advice, including those who use British Sign Language.”
Find the BSL Live link here: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. 5 tips for travelling with hearing loss!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children