Using technology to help sign language users access local services

Posted on: 20 September 2017

Devon County Council has introduced a new way for users of British Sign Language (BSL) to contact them via a Video Relay Service (VRS). The service, called ‘InterpretersLive!’, is provided by Sign Solutions. 

BSL users can contact the council via the interpreter through a video link.  The interpreter relays their conversation with the appropriate person at the Council, by telephone and then signs back the response.

The VRS service is available from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week, although the Council’s responses are dependent upon the normal opening hours for a service, which may vary, and to its Customer Services Centre which is open Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturdays 9am – 1pm.

Kristy Cooper from Living Options Devon Deaf Project said:

“There are about 1,500 people in Devon who are Deaf.  This service will make it easier for Sign Language users to access the Council either for information or to access local services.”

Councillor Barry Parsons, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Organisational Development and Digital Transformation, said:

“It’s vital that every person in our community has the same opportunities to access the services we provide.  This new service will help the many BSL users in Devon to do just that and we’re delighted to be making it available.”

For more information, visit https://new.devon.gov.uk/help/contact-us/british-sign-language/

Sign Solutions are also providing the County Council’s face-to-face interpreting for British Sign Language, alongside access to a new video remote Sign Language interpreter, after they were awarded the contract in August.

This story is also available, signed by a BSL interpreter, https://vimeo.com/234312760

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