Deaf News: NRCPD seeks statutory regulation of interpreters

Posted on November 23, 2015

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The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) has announced its intention to seek statutory regulation of communication and language professionals.

The work towards statutory regulation will build on recent developments, such as the new Code of Conduct and complaints processwhich have also been published today. The statement explains what NRCPD intends to do and who they will work with to do it.

Statutory regulation will protect the public by making it illegal for an unregistered interpreter for deafblind people, lipspeaker, notetaker, sign language interpreter, sign language translator or speech to text reporter to practise.

NRCPD is holding open meetings to discuss its plans. They encourage deaf and deafblind people, organisations that rely on the services of communication and language professionals, and their Registrants to attend. NRCPD will appreciate it if you tell them if you are going to go to one of the meetings.

  • Edinburgh: 6 January, 6-8 pm, Holyrood Room, John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh First, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5AY
  • Manchester: 11January, 6-8pm, James Herriot Main Hall, Manchester Deaf Centre, Crawford House, Booth St East, Manchester, M13 9GH.
  • London: 14 January 6-8 pm, Seminar Room 2, Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA

Those unable to attend one of the meetings can send their comments to NRCPD. NRCPD is also happy to attend group meetings to talk about the statement.

The aim of statutory regulation is supported by Action on Hearing Loss, the British Deaf Association, the National Deaf Children’s Society and the Royal Association for Deaf People. In a 2014 survey, 67 per cent of communication and language professionals, and 83 per cent of agencies that supply them, also said they supported the aim.

NRCPD currently raises standards and protects the public by holding and promoting voluntary Registers. They check professionals are properly trained to do their job safely and consistently.

If they meet the standard of education and training we think is needed, they can apply to be on a Register. To stay on a Register they also have to do what the Code of Conduct says they have to.

If those standards aren’t met, the professional can be removed from a Register. However, currently there is nothing to stop them from continuing to practise.

Huw Vaughan Thomas, the chair of NRCPD, said: “The Board of NRCPD believes statutory regulation is the natural next step towards our mission of protecting the public.

“It is a long term aim, which is why we haven’t set a timescale. To achieve it we have to make changes to the way we do things to make sure we are as effective as possible.

“We have begun that process; we have changed the composition of our Board, will soon be publishing a new Code of Conduct and complaints process, and we will be consulting about the requirements for trainee sign language interpreters.

“We also need to make sure we don’t stop people finding the support they need. For example, the number of interpreters for deafblind people remains low, so we won’t be rushing into anything.

“We therefore look forward to speaking to our regulated Trainees and Registrants, and the individuals and organisations who rely on their services, about our plans.”

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