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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/communications-for-people-who-are-deaf-or-have-hearing-loss-communications-support-work/call-for-evidence-market-review-of-bsl-and-communications-provision-for-people-who-are-deaf-or-have-hearing-loss-communication-support-work
The market review is looking at current and predicted demand and supply of communication and language services that facilitate communication between people who are deaf, deafblind or have a hearing loss.
The steering group has identified the need for improved clarity and understanding of communication and language professions and qualifications.
The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) holds registers of:
- interpreters for deafblind people
- lip speakers
- note takers
- sign language interpreters
- sign language translators
- speech to text reporters
There is wide agreement about the work done by such professionals, and the qualifications, training and experience they need to work at a professional level. The existence of National Occupational Standards or other industry recognised standards make registration possible.
A number of other roles exist that are collectively referred to as ‘communication support work’. There is no generally shared agreement or understanding of the work done by such workers, or the qualifications, training and experience they need.
’Communication support workers’ (CSWs) are used in:
- education with D/deaf children in mainstream environments
- employment, sometimes funded by Access to Work
- to a lesser extent in other areas such as higher education
There is widespread evidence that CSWs are regularly operating as sign language interpreters in education and employment without adequate training or skills. As well as meaning deaf people are not being provided with equal access, the practice masks the true demand for sign language interpreters.
How your responses will be used
The group will produce a report that will contribute to the wider market review. It will include a glossary that will explain and describe, amongst other things, communication and language professions and qualifications. The final report will be a publically available document.
The questions for you or your organisation to answer
a) How do you define communication support work as done by CSWs?
b) In your experience, what do CSWs actually do?
c) In your experience, where and how can CSWs add value?
d) In your experience, to what extent does the use of CSWs mask the demand for sign language interpreters and other communication and language professionals?
Where and when to send your response
Responses must be received by 5:00pm, Wednesday 10th March and may be made in English or BSL:
BSL and Communications Market Review
Disabilities and Work Opportunities Division
Department for Work and Pensions
When responding, please state whether you are doing so as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, please make it clear who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled. We will acknowledge your response. We may be in touch to follow up on your response; if you would prefer us not to do so, please note this when responding.
Who is collating this information and writing the report?
This work is being conducted on behalf of the Market Review steering group by a working group consisting of the National Deaf Children’s Society, NRCPD, and the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters.