The following is a proposal for a Member Bill tabled during the Sixth Senedd:
Title of the proposed Bill:
British Sign Language (BSL) (Wales) Bill
Policy Objectives of the proposed Bill:
The Bill would make provision to promote and facilitate the use of British Sign Language (BSL) and its tactile forms in Wales, and to improve access to education, health and public services in BSL.
The purpose of the Bill would be to remove the barriers that exist for deaf people and their families in education, health, public services, support services and in the workplace.
The Bill would strengthen the seven well-being goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 as they relate to BSL, where public bodies take into account the long term needs of BSL users of all ages. This would support existing commitments including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Bill would also aim to:
Work towards ensuring that deaf people who use BSL are not treated less
favourably than those who speak Welsh or English.
Ensure that deaf communities have a voice in the design and delivery of
services to ensure they meet their needs.
Establish a BSL Commissioner who will:
- Formulate BSL standards.
- Establish a BSL Advisory Panel.
- Produce reports every 5 years in BSL, Welsh and English on the position of BSL in that period.
- Provide guidance and a process for public bodies to promote and facilitate BSL in their respective domains.
- Establish a procedure for the investigation of complaints.
Require public bodies to report on their progress in promoting and facilitating BSL through their Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 reporting cycle.
Place a duty on the Welsh Government to prepare and publish an annual BSL report describing what Welsh Government departments have done to promote the use of BSL.