Jobcentre Plus: Interpreters and Sign Language

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of Job Centre Plus offices that have (a) British Sign Language and (b) language interpreters.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Under the Equality Act 2010, DWP must make suitable provision to communicate with claimants who do not speak English or Welsh (for people residing in Wales), or who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

It is DWP policy to use an interpreter when we need to communicate with a claimant who:

  • cannot communicate adequately in English (or, in Wales, Welsh);
  • has complex needs and, or may need additional support; and
  • cannot provide their own interpreter.

Since the 1st January 2018 Thebigword has provided Foreign Language and British Sign Language (BSL) services for the DWP staff and customers. All Jobcentres are able to access the service provided by Thebigword.

The services available for BSL are face to face interpreting and Video Relay Service. The services available for foreign language interpreters are face to face interpreting, telephone interpreting and written translations.

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