contactScotland, the service that provides access to public services in British Sign Language (BSL), has been extended. BSL users will now be able to contact community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises and co-operatives in their own language.
Jim Edwards, chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said: “The UK Council on Deafness applauds the Scottish Government’s commitment to making sure services are available to BSL users in their own language.
“In 2016, there is no reason why Deaf people shouldn’t be able to make a telephone call to all public, private and not-for-profit organisations. We hope government in the rest of the UK takes notice of this development and makes a similar investment.”
contactScotland is unique in the UK and is the first nationally funded public sector Video Relay Service (VRS). It was initially piloted by NHS 24, before expanding to cover the rest of the public sector in Scotland in March 2015.
The pilot will end when the current contract expires in September 2016. At that point the service will be fully implemented. A procurement exercise to secure a new Scottish Government contract is underway and an Invitation to Tender will be issued shortly via the Public Contracts Scotland website.