A real-time British Sign Language video interpreting service has been selected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help provide equal access to its helplines for deaf BSL users.
The DWP are trialling SignVideo’s Video Relay Services (VRS), opening up their customer services to over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK.
The SignVideo service allows callers to click on a link from the DWP website and connect to DWP helplines via BSL interpreted video calls enabling effective and effortless communication in their native language (BSL). This happens through a professional, fully qualified video interpreter who relays the call between BSL and English and the service is available instantly on tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops via apps and software.
Video Relay Services are already used by other large organisations in the UK to ensure BSL users have the same access to their customer services as hearing people.
Jeff McWhinney, chairman and founder of SignVideo says: “I think it’s about time that myself and my fellow Deaf BSL-using members of the public, who are also taxpayers, are now able to access the services that we fund via our taxes.
“It’s fantastic that we are now communicating equally with DWP as hearing people do – this is taken for granted by everyone else in the UK – no one considers the fact that deaf BSL users are left out of customer service provision.
“I would like to congratulate the DWP for being the first government department to provide open VRS access to any Deaf individuals who wants to get in touch with their officials without making an appointment. It will make life so much easier for many BSL users out there and drives a real step change in the UK to recognise inclusion for BSL users.”
You can get more information in English and BSL on the SignVideo website.