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British Sign Language (BSL) Plan 2024-30

Front cover of British Sign Language Plan 2024-30

The British Sign Language (BSL) was recognised as an official language in the UK in 2003. It is an important communication tool for many deaf and hard-of-hearing people. In 2015 the Scottish parliament made history by securing rights for Deaf and Deafblind communities under law with the BSL Scotland Act. Through this ground-breaking legislation, Scotland’s 12,533 BSL (or British Sign Language) users can finally expect a level of public sector provisions and services to be conducted through BSL.

We are in the process of developing the BSL Plan for 2024-30 for HES. The BSL Plan is important for HES in our work to achieve our equality outcomes and meet our public sector equality duties. The process will involve internal surveys and internal and external consultations. We will be working closely with our partners, Deaf Action, and Inclusion Scotland to better understand the needs of communities who will be directly impacted. The plan will be shaped with reference to the Scottish National BSL Plan and will cover the period 2024-30. This Plan will replace HES `s existing BSL PLAN 2020-24 which will operate until the end of March 2024. Our aim is that our new plan will enable us to recognise and celebrate intersectional Deaf identity for different groups e.g., young and old; women and men; different ethnicities and multiple disabilities e.g. Deaf blind community.