Blackpool Council agrees to sign BDA’s British Sign Language Charter, pledging to provide better public services to Deaf people

Under the guidance of the British Deaf Association, three community consultations were held last year on how local services could be improved for deaf people. The signing of the charter was one of the BDA’s key to help ensure the council meets both its legal and customer service obligations.

The five pledges are:

  1. Ensure access to information and services
  2. Promote learning and high quality teaching of BSL
  3. Support deaf children and families
  4. Ensure staff working with Deaf people can communicate effectively in BSL
  5. Consult with the local Deaf community on a regular basis.

Cllr John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for equalities, said: “I’m delighted the Executive have agreed to sign the charter and support the five pledges.

“Blackpool is a diverse and inclusive place and we want to ensure that we do everything possible to ensure everyone can access public services equally.

“We will now work closely with the Deaf community to communicate our plans for improving services and ensuring the pledges are followed through.”

Damian Barry, BDA’s Director of Community Development and Operations stated: “We are delighted that Blackpool Council have taken this step at a time of austerity which shows their commitment to ensuring all residents have full access to their services. 

“We very much hope that this sends out a signal to other Northern councils that the Deaf community needs to be included and not excluded.” 

Lancashire Deaf Services now send their Wellbeing Officer to work from the Council’s Customer First Centre every Thursday.

The officer is a BSL user and will help Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to access Council services.