30th October 2014
Mark Griffin MSP (a Member of the Scottish Parliament) introduced a Bill in the Scottish Parliament asking for a British Sign Language Act in Scotland that would:
- promote the use of BSL,
- allow greater access to all services for BSL users
- raise awareness of the language and the issues that affect Deaf BSL.
Under the Equality Act 2010, Deaf BSL users already have the legal right to such access but many say that the Act has had very little impact on their everyday lives.
October 2014 – September 2015
The Bill was submitted to the various Scottish Parliamentary committees for consideration and amendments were made.
17 September 2015
The BSL Bill was passed by all MSPs in the Scottish Parliament
22 October 2015
The Bill was given Royal Assent and became:
The British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015.
The queen must give her consent for a Bill to become law. This Act is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.
So what happens now? The Scottish government and other public authorities are now required to publish a plan to show how they are going to promote the use of BSL, raise awareness and give Deaf BSL users access to their services. The plans must also be reviewed regularly to see that they are achieving their aims.
If the next Scottish parliamentary session runs from 2016 to 2020 then the timetable will be:
May 2017 – the first National Plan to be published
May 2018 – the first authorities Plan to be published
April 2019 – the first Performance Review to be carried out
To find out what is happening in England read ‘BDA Calls for Reforms of Equality Act’.