contactSCOTLAND-BSL – Enabling Deaf BSL users contact with Scotland’s public and third sector organisations
contactSCOTLAND-BSL is Scotland’s unique British Sign Language Interpreting Video Relay Service (VRS) and came into being in March 2015. It is provided by Sign Language Interactions on behalf of the Scottish Government.
The purpose of contactSCOTLAND-BSL is to enable Scottish Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users to access and interact with public sector bodies and third sector services. The service will offer Scotland’s 6,500 BSL users the means to communicate, in real-time, with public services via video and a BSL/English interpreter.
Deaf BSL users can access the service either by smartphones/tablets (Android & Apple) or PC/laptops (Windows & Macs).
By offering access to public services in BSL via remotely-located interpreters, BSL users will be able to interact with public services in the same way as hearing people do; they can make contact from home and initiate contact when needed. This gives BSL users more immediate access, control, independence and self-sufficiency to manage their affairs and daily living without reliance upon family members/friends to make phone-calls on their behalf.
Provision of a VR service helps public services meet their legal obligations in relation to the Human Rights Act 1998, Equality Act 2010, Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 and British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015. Public services will also be able to use contactSCOTLAND-BSL to contact a Deaf BSL user.
While the contactSCOTLAND-BSL service will not remove the need for face-to-face interpreting provision, it will increase telephone accessibility between BSL users and public services.
Sample of calls include:
- Making/rearranging GP/clinic appointments
- Confirming BSL/English interpreters have been booked for the forthcoming appointment
- Contact with school
- Environmental services
- Police 101
- Scottish Water
- Local voluntary organisations
For more information on what is available and how to use the service please visit the appropriate website page below: