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Council signs up to improved services for deaf

Posted onPosted on 12th Dec

Nottinghamshire County Council is making a public pledge to improve access to its services for the deaf community.

The County Council will sign up to the British Sign Language charter today (Wednesday 10 December), which commits it to five key pledges aimed at improving the rights of deaf people.

The Council is committing to:
•ensure access for deaf people to information and services
•promote learning and high quality teaching of British Sign Language
•support deaf children and families
•ensure staff working with deaf people can communicate effectively in British Sign Language
•consult with the local deaf community on a regular basis

The County Council’s Adult Deaf and Visual Impairment Service already provides a wide range of specialist support to deaf, blind, hearing impaired and visually impaired people.

However, by signing up the Charter, the County Council is pledging to go further in making all its services more accessible.

Employees have been issued with advice on how to better communicate with deaf customers and how to contact the Deaf Society (Sign Language Interpreting Service) if they need to arrange for a sign language interpreter to attend a meeting.

Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said; “I know the specialised services our Adult Deaf and Visual Impairment Service currently provide are extremely well valued by users – but it’s important that we go a step further by making all our services easier to access by the deaf community as a whole.

“Treating people fairly is one of the County Council’s key values, so I am delighted that we are signing up to this charter. This is a key part of a commitment to build on good practice and improve capacity to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity.

In 2009/10 there were around 970 deaf adults in Nottinghamshire and from the 2011 census, approximately 300 county residents identified British Sign Language as their primary language.