British Sign Language Act 2022

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 26th May 2022.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department plans to take to implement the British Sign Language Act 2022.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The British Sign Language Act 2022 gained Royal Assent in April 2022 and does three things:

  • It recognises British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain in its own right;
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to report on the promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language by ministerial departments;
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to issue guidance to ministerial departments on the general promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language across their public communications - such as public announcements, consultations, plans, strategy, social media and press conferences.

A BSL Advisory Board will be established to advise the government on the implementation of the BSL Act from the perspective of those who use BSL. The board will also advise on related matters such as how to increase the number of BSL interpreters. This Board is a key first step in implementation of the Act, and it is anticipated that recruitment for the board will begin soon, with the first board meeting to be held in the Autumn.

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