Improving access to council services for York’s Deaf community

City of York Council will make it easier for members of the city’s Deaf community to access services from 5th July 2017.

A new video interpreting service – called ‘InterpretersLive!’ – is being launched.

It means Deaf customers, who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), will be able to contact the council through a BSL Sign Language interpreter.

Visitors to York’s customer services centre at West Offices will have immediate access to an interpreter with no prior appointment required.

People who do not wish, or are unable to, travel will be able to use the service face-to-face from the comfort of their own home, using a video relay system.

The new interpretation service means Deaf customers will have the same access to customer services as a hearing person would.

The council says it hopes the addition of a BSL interpreter will make life easier for people who traditionally, may have struggled to get help and support.

If you would like to communicate with the council, however you are not a BSL user, please come in and see us and we will arrange appropriate communication support.

Councillor David Carr, council leader and executive councillor with responsibility for customer services, said:

“I’m so pleased that we are now able to offer this new translation service.

“We have already achieved an ‘excellence’ rating in the local government equalities framework, but we wanted to do even more to improve access to services.

“I want York’s Deaf community to feel confident when they need to contact us.

“The face-to-face interpretation service, or the fact someone can make a call from home using the video relay service means there is real equality.”

The BSL interpretation service is being provided by Sign Solutions.

Sean Nicholson, CEO of Sign Solutions says “I am delighted City of York Council has taken these initiatives. It is important that the Deaf community feel confident in accessing the whole range of council services, and to be able to make a call from home using the video relay service means they have real equality”.

Please note: Members of the Deaf community are invited to attend an event at West Offices on 20 July between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to see how this service will work and, to join together to celebrate the launch of this service. If you use the service before the launch event, they would welcome your feedback to help inform future improvements to the way this service is delivered. The quickest and easiest way to register for the event is by signing up using this Eventbrite link. If this is not possible, please visit West Offices to register your interest. Book early to avoid disappointment as spaces are limited.