Darren Townsend-Handscomb: The DWP’s market review of communication services – your FAQs

Posted on February 23, 2016

Market Reviews are not sexy. They’re not even that much fun. So I’ll not waste your time, and will go straight to: things that I keep being asked about the market review.

What is a Market Review?

There is no agreed meaning. So a market review means whatever it is said to mean.

In this situation it means that DWP wants to look at everything related to the communication services that Deaf, deafblind and deafened people use, and how the market works or doesn’t work. And market means how organisations, policies (etc.), and money all interact to make things work well or not.

An example of this is that AtW (organisation) has a new cap of 1.5 x the national average salary (policy) currently £40,800 (money). One impact of this is that deafblind people who need travel assistance and interpreting can no longer have both, and so may not be able to work. You might see this as an example of the market not working.

Is there one review or two?

There is one review, into all communication services and technology, covering England, Wales, Scotland and NI. But there is also an ‘open consultation’ asking four questions about Communication Support Workers (CSWs). So you can send evidence about both.

Is it really worth sending in evidence? The government’s going to ignore this just like everything else.

Yup, it’s definitely possible that this will just be written up and put on a shelf to gather dust.

However, it will be a published public document, so you, and I, and all the organisations will know what it says, and I suspect that when we want to argue with AtW, DWP, or the minister about something, we will point to the report and say, “but your own report shows that …”.

And of course, if you don’t send in evidence about what is important to you, then you have no chance of influencing anything.

OK, I’m persuaded. What can I do?

You can send your own evidence (in English or BSL), or take part in one of the surveys, or do everything! here’s how:

1) Go to DeafATW’s page (in English & BSL) about the Market Review. It includes:

  • A guide to the Market Review – with suggested questions to help you think about communications services and technology.
  • A guide to the Open Consulatation about Communication Support Workers (CSWs).
  • Suggestions about how to structure your evidence.
  • Two templates to download that you can use for your evidence to the Market Reviews.

2) Take the BDA Survey – Open Consultation CSW questions. A short survey (in BSL and English) for anyone with experience of using CSWs, whether you are Deaf or hearing, have direct experience yourself and/or have a Deaf child using CSWs. You have to answer by Friday 26th February 2016.

3) Take the NUBSLI Survey – Market Review general & CSW questions. A survey for interpreters, interpreters with deafblind people, and translators.  This survey gives you the choice to answer questions about the general Market Review, about CSWs, and about changing working conditions. You have to answer by Sunday 28th February 2016.

Darren Townsend-Handscomb as well as running DeafATW.com is representing NUBSLI at the market review, and is involved in the NUBSLI survey. He also has a dog, Misty. The dog is cuter than the market review but is probably less likely to have an impact on government policy.


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