Saturday, 25 April 2020

Friday, 24 April 2020

Deaf BSL Terp case unproven?

Here ATR reproduces parts of the 'Dossier of Disgrace', a current campaign is based on, regarding what is apparently rows between professional and non-professional BSL 'interpreters' and randoms, being used to support the deaf.  

Citing the lack of government support to improve the integrity and professionalism of support to an alleged 98.000 deaf people who  'prefer' BSL (As averse to needing it as the only viable tool deaf have).

I.E. Apart from providing no proof whatever there are (A) 98,000 deaf or (B) 98,000 deaf who prefer or even use BSL.  ATR has published over the last 5 years regarding the issue that Sign Language support is random, and indeed signing skills with the deaf are unmonitored, and mostly Terp support is centralised to city areas anyway.  They do this because otherwise there would be insufficient work to make their job worthwhile.  Now they are being undercut by areas they aren't really identifying.

ATR suggested that because of that, and the fact actual and professional NON-ASLI BSL interpreters were mostly freelance, and then available only when personal circumstances dictated, they can pick and choose who they support and when.  Neither area had anyone to be responsible to.  In part areas that required travel and distance was to all intents and purpose leaving some BSL deaf with no option but to rely on the system to book just about anyone with a smattering of sign language knowledge.

E.G.  During the recent DWP changes to welfare benefits (DLA/PIP), the DWP was unable to provide the huge amounts of BSL support deaf people needed, many deaf had been told terps were just unavailable to help them the support system collapsed overnight, and there were allegations terps did not support requests by the DWP to help because they did not want to alienate their regular clients.  Neither did some local Authorities, who were seen trawling BSL learner classes for volunteers and who by law were able to supply level 2 Interpreters in care areas for the deaf etc. The CQC offered no challenges to these lower qualified people. Obviously, systems are then reluctant to fork out a lot more on fees for highly-trained 'BSL' aware carers.

The prime issue is the non-regulation and non-organisation of UK deaf or HoH support, it is too random and non-answerable to anyone because more freelance BSL support exists than at the ASLI answerable only to themselves.  They can please themselves who they support and when.  It has to be said the ASLI was highly reluctant to be graded, monitored or even organised by state regulation itself.  Both they and the freelance BSL terps refuse to agree on fees.  Lots of BSL interpreters resigned from W.I.T.S. because systems wanted more guarantees of reliability and a system of fees agreed nation-wide.  Freelance Terps are not having it.

The campaigns currently is to force the system to sort it out where they can't, how the system does this when no guarantee of regular work is there and, many deaf still using family (Which is responsible for a huge part of unqualified support deaf are using, and, as some right or other).  It's all about money, not shortages, once the demand is there, the shortages will be addressed.  There will have to be a better and official assessment and identification of deaf to support.

The other side of the coin is TRAINING your actual BSL interpreters, there is no real system as such mostly terps payout to train themselves, there is no state system,  and a lot of colleges etc are setting up own coursework to follow, and it costs a LOT of money to train.  Anecdotal evidence suggests the adjudgment of BSL skill is not coherent either with some deaf judges costing trainees £1,000s in lost investment via arbitrary judging and again because the deaf has no 'BSL' system norm either.

From the same dossier but who then claimed there were not 24,000 BSL users but 98,000 'BSL-using Deaf', which is a glaring faux pas and inconsistent reporting. As was the 908 registered terps, there are NOT 908 ASLI members. ATR Approached the ASLI last year and they were unable to provide any numbers then.  They then compounded the misinformation by including the hard of hearing they didn't support.

The sole measure of need or demand, is when deaf present at the 'coal face' and ask for BSL support specifically.  Here there was no figure to quote from the system, indeed no figure to quote from deaf charities or the ASLI either.  The reason simply related, is that every person thus presenting for support to welfare social and care/other services need to be assessed as to what that need is, the Data Protection Act states nobody is allowed to divulge 'test/assessment' results via language need as the question is never asked.  

ATR asked the DWP what those statistics were via an FOI request (Freedom of Information), initially, the DWP said they held no statistic to quote, when pushed said every area had its own systems of assessment I would have to ask them, one by one at £600 a time, but, again said they kept no results/stats on file ATR could use other than how many deaf they assessed which did not specifically focus on language usage or degree of loss.  Only on defined need as THEY saw it.  Statistically, they turned down near 56% of all hard of hearing claimants as ineligible, and 48% of profound deaf as not needing help.  ATR also covered last week the Regional Government in Wales refusing to endorse a BSL bill as an unproven format for the deaf or their carers, it is unclear England will endorse it. As BSL is not officially endorsed that way can the ASLI demand more support for it?

Census stats varied again, only 15,000 responded saying the knew, used, or preferred BSL.  The ASLI is like any other hearing loss area unable to prove any statistic day one, the BDA is unproven at 98,000 BSL users, and the AOHL unproven at 10m Hard of hearing.  Given there are no real figures to quote except guesswork this undermines the argument of lack of support for what is still, an undefined number of people with an undefined need.

The privatisation of BSL was promoted by the Deaf themselves, many of whom developed advice and awareness business's to make a living on their own, which appears to now be getting stick from the ASLI.  'I am deaf, I am a signer', so to all intents and purposes as professional as any hearing interpreter it seems.  They run cultural and BSL classes in tandem via cultural centres in deaf clubs as well as set themselves up as advisors to business etc...

Most of these deaf have NO professional BSL qualifications as such, just an ability do a one on one with peers.  Every prime point made on the dossier is basically NOT for more Interpreters and not even for more qualified ones as they cannot agree on such a system with half in the ASLI and half not.  It is about being paid the rate for the job and asking the system to clamp down on those they consider unqualified to support the deaf because they are unable, so what is the level they are demanding is attained? level 4? level 6? or not valid to interpret for any BSL user?

Without a ban on unqualified family support, how does that work?  60% of BSL users 'Prefer' family help NOT because of shortages because they say it is their want and right.  Will the ASLI challenge the right of a deaf person to use who they want?  Ask the state to put a stop to it? challenge areas like the BDA who defend that right?  All this dossier has shown is how chaotic deaf support is, be it BSL or whatever else the deaf need.

It's time the ASLI and the Deaf fessed up to a mess of their own making and accept IF the state has a hand in it, then control will go out of the BSL terps hands and indeed out of the Deaf people's hands as the system will want something that is reliable, effective, has a set competency level, constant monitoring, and there when required, simply training more people and paying them higher wages, without any real guarantees,  as it happens now is not going to solve anything. It's not on full stop. 

It's about getting more money, and shortages and discriminations don't cover what the issue really is, if they need 1,000+ terps they are not going to get them the way the training systems operate now, not in 20 years even.

It's time for the deaf BSL user to address their issues properly, but even then money talks a lot louder than any BSL skill level ANYWHERE.  As regards to complaints about ESA, the deaf can claim up to near £900 per week as it stands, if that won't cover their need what will?  The BSL terps want more, or more lucrative court work?  We know court work decimated the role of lip-speakers support, in fact, took it off-street.  You can earn more in a courtroom in 3 days than you can supporting a deafie for a month, guess where the terps will go?

They won't want to work in the sticks, just the cities, and that is why they are all there now.  Why are we singularly unimpressed with the ASLI or the ridiculous and unfounded and unproven claims of need, which deaf say isn't, its a preference, and no system of deaf support has ever really been organised or set up properly, once the dedicated deaf social services got the chop it became a free-for-all.  Now we are seeing the result.  As usual the deaf and their support blame everyone ELSE.

There are complaints of amateurs being used in professional areas (like courts, higher education, or mental health etc), again the ASLI could NOT identify who was specialised in what, other than BSL.  Most BSL interpreters who work to assist in the system as far as is known do not specialise in particular, areas or at least make no declaration as such.  BSL yes, advanced medical care areas etc?  There is no register.  One deaf care home for the deaf with mental health claimed carers with level 4 BSL, but, none with specialisation IN deaf mental health.  Complaints about non-specialist awareness or skills got nowhere all they needed was BSL. 

Deaf with complicated issues will not get the specialisation from the terp just a translation of what a hearing specialist will say. That is fraught with issues about privacy and about diagnostic explanations.  Maybe deaf abandoned their own privacy years ago, but a lot haven't.

BSL News

Normally ATR doesn't present BSL-Only output on diminished access grounds, but at least this one provided a narrative.

1. Care Homes.

The latest figures from the 10th of April say 1,043 people have died from the virus in care homes in England and Wales although ministers have admitted that number is inaccurate. The Shadow Health Secretary John Ashworth says the government urgently needs to pull together a detailed plan for the sector. 

“If we’ve got residents in care homes that come down with COVID-19 why not move them into some of these empty beds in hospitals. We think there are thousands of empty general ward beds in hospitals. Let’s use those empty general ward beds for residents in care homes.” The Social Care Minister Helen Whately says that a huge amount of work was going on to try to manage and prevent outbreaks in care homes. 

 2. Protective Equipment.

This morning an RAF plane arrived from Turkey to the UK carrying items of Personal Protective Equipment for NHS staff. Supplies of protective equipment are still very tight. There is a global shortage of PPE and what matters is countries should be collaborating and working together. 

3. Vaccine.

Scientists at Imperial College London are appealing for volunteers to take part in trials in a potential new vaccine for Coronavirus. They want to start testing the new drug in June. Professor Robin Shattock said it should be easier to develop a vaccine for the virus than other conditions such as flu and HIV. Unlike those other things where it’s a moving target, you’re having to keep ahead of the game as long as this virus stays relatively stable it’ll be very easy to lock our sights on it in terms of targeting a vaccine that will work. 

4. Vulnerable Children.

The Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfields, has shown that she’s concerned that some youngsters become invisible during the crisis. Official figures have shown that only about 5% of vulnerable children have been attending school since the lockdown began last month. 

 5. Holiday Companies and Airlines.

Holiday companies and airlines have been delaying or refusing to give refunds for trips cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. They are effectively taking a back door bailout from consumers by holding on to their cash. The consumer group Which wants the government to step in with a temporary fund to stop firms. Many travel companies are struggling. This is a completely unique situation. 

6. Consumer Price Index Inflation.

New figures show the Consumer Price Index Inflation fell from 1.7% to 1.5% in March. The figures were collected before the lockdown. It’s thought to be down to the drop in the price of clothing and fuel. 

7. Spain.

The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, is calling for parliament to approve a two-week extension to the national lockdown until 10th May (incorrect BSL says 2nd May). However, it’s not clear whether the lockdown will be extended again. There’s a lively debate over how and when restrictions should be lifted in Spain especially as the virus’ impact appears to have stabilised over the last two weeks. Last week some industries were allowed to return to work. From this Sunday children will be allowed to leave their homes although only to take short walks accompanied by adults. 

8. Survivor.

A pensioner, Bryan Davis went to hospital suffering with the Coronavirus and was put on the end of life care and his family were allowed a last 15-minute visit. His wife Shirley returned home where she received an unexpected phone call last Friday from the hospital notifying her that he had been coming on in leaps and bounds and was now eating icecream. Today he is celebrating his 90th birthday.

Remote Interpreting (NI).

Toddlers CI switched on by remote.

Undated handout photo issued by the University of Southampton of Prof Helen Cullington linking up with Margarida Cibrao-Roque to remotely switch on her cochlear implant. 18-month-old Margarida Cibrao-Roque who has been able to hear for the first time after medics became the first in the country to switch on a cochlear implant remotely because of Covid-19 restrictions. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 23, 2020. Audiologists at the University of Southampton set up a link-up over the internet in order to allow the device to be turned on for Margarida Cibrao-Roque despite their clinic being closed to patients. See PA story HEALTH Hearing. Photo credit should read: University of Southampton/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Toddler hears for the first time after having an implant fitted into her ear.

Young Margarida might have had to wait months to hear were it not for the audiologists’ ingenuity. A 18-month-old deaf girl became a pioneer after medics had to find a way around the lockdown to help her hear for the first time. Hearing experts fitted Margarida Cibrao-Roque with a cochlear implant before the coronavirus forced them to close their clinic, but a lengthy process was needed before it could be switched on. 

Cochlear implants are devices placed inside the inner ear during surgery, after which patients like Margarida need time to heal. The implant then needs to be activated gradually with careful testing and adjustments. Cochlear implants need to be activated gradually with continuous testing so as to not overwhelm the child. Audiologists tracked the toddler’s reaction and data from her implant remotely.

Audiologists at the University of Southampton set up an internet link so the toddler’s device could be switched on remotely at home in Camberley, Surrey – a first in the UK. Professor Hellen Cullington said: ‘Usually we do the switch-on of a cochlear implant at our clinic at the university but, with some technical creativity and some advice from colleagues in Australia, we were able to do everything necessary over the internet. 

Thursday, 23 April 2020

How 'Remarkable'

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement:

This may go some way to relieve deaf people currently being lied to by their own activism regarding 'Bans on Interpreters' another wild and irresponsible campaign from UK 'Deaf' activism.  Currently not allowing these explanations to be aired on their sites.

Please listen to the pros, not the outsiders. [The photo is to show the new 'REMARK' site is going online].  Quite obviously there is no organised response from free-lance BSL interpreters anyone can quote, we are assuming they are also moving to protect themselves and own families too. Which will explain shortages of course, and not 'Bans!'

Remark! are unfortunately aware of the significant and current global pandemic of COVID-19. With this outbreak we will be immediately exploring our business continuity. Remark! has been closely monitoring the situation over the past couple of weeks and will continue to do so. We will continue to follow the advice from the Government as ultimately, we want to help ensure that we all work together in minimising the risk of any spread of the virus. 

The priority must be the health, welfare and wellbeing of everyone. While we acknowledge that the guidance and advice may not be as specific and unambiguous as we would like, we will continue to work closely with our mentors. 

At Remark! many of our services are imperative to our clients, including our ‘Outreach Service’ for vulnerable Deaf clients and BSL users/services. With this in mind, we will try and remain open and accessible for all our users. We will continue to deliver subtitling contents and InVision. 

Remark! Interpreting services also remain available. We understand that the majority of the population have been encouraged and have to work from home remotely and we are also doing our best to adhere to this and are available for remote bookings via Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and Whatsapp.

We are also still going to face to face bookings when required however we are aware that things are changing daily, new government announcements are being made and it is important that we adhere to these.

Whether you are a new or regular client please contact our team if you require our services and need to book an interpreter.

Unfortunately, we are unable to carry on providing our full range of BSL training courses (L1-L6) for the time being. We are working hard in an attempt to set up and make operational dial-in/remote facility, allowing us to virtually give our students the time and training they require. 

As a consequence of the latest Government guidance issued on 16 March 2020, in relation to non-essential travel and contact, we have taken the following actions; 

We are monitoring the change in the Government and Public Health England advice regarding our clubs (Lunch Clubs, Badminton Club, Youth Club, Remarkable Club, Football Club etc) in order to prevent and protect. We regret to inform those who attend that we have needed to currently suspend and seize our programmes for a minimum of one month (17th April 2020), with the view to re-assess and review the situation as the weeks go on. 

However, Remark! Community have been able to completely adapt to the situation by ensuring that we are still delivering our social outlets, just from our own homes! 


BDA exposed as misinforming deaf people.

Coronavirus: BBC News channel to provide BSL for daily government ...18 March-BBC – Government briefings in BSL on Coronavirus (update).

The BBC have announced that they will be providing Sign Language Interpretation on all weekday Coronavirus government briefings and that the BBC is doing everything it can to ensure these important briefings are accessible.

Please note:  Due to limited resources there will be some changes to live signing on the BBC News from Monday 23rd March as follows:

On weekday mornings there will be signing from:-

07:45 – 08:15

13:00 – 13:30

News will be signed each weekday as normal as will the 07:00 – 07:30 slots on weekends.

The situation is quickly developing and the BBC will keep you informed of any further changes to their sign language coverage. We would be grateful if you could share these changes with your networks.

BBC Wales:

Coronavirus: Wales NHS chief issues Easter stay home plea - BBC News

BBC Scotland:

UK Government urged to use sign language on coronavirus briefings ...


Coronavirus in Ireland: What we know so far

BBC England:

This was NOT in response to the BDA campaign and occurred before that was launched, so why are activists trying to take credit for something they never did?

It goes without re-stating (but it looks like we have to keep correcting these wayward BSL activists still claiming there is none.)  That ATR has provided ample evidence BSL access is there for all the users of it. As the first visual evidence shows,  BSL access was even before Boris was taken ill. 

Other outrageous lies are about 'BSL Interpreter bans' again this is NOT happening, because of obvious risks of infection, face to face translation is being limited and because the virus has meant BSL terps are staying at home to be safe, they won't be any resource for the deaf if they go down with coronavirus too, BUT, there is a free video relay system in BSL for anyone that needs it.    

These are dangerous times and we all need to start using common sense and adapt, it is no time to launch petty and unfounded attacks on access issues outside any government remit.  Many issues emerging are because of the self-isolation deaf have always protected on cultural grounds, and also why they never bothered to include their own elderly left out of the digital revolution and dumped by their organisations too.

Community ethos have come under fire... from a killer who is invisible, and cares nothing for sign language or deaf people.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Deaf Brits/Italians and coronavirus.

[This video was actually banned on a UK BSL site because it contained International sign, a version of sign language not allowed, which was curious given the presentation was all in English captioning and 50% of the signing was in BSL?]  I blame Brexit personally lol.....

It's pretty obvious some deaf never actually checked BSL access was there, apart from one area it wasn't BSL in a 'box' in the corner of the TV, indeed interpreters stood with ministers and still do at daily briefings, there seems to be confudion about this access that still is extant on social media sites despite HUGE amounts of information around in BSL there are people claiming there isn't or haven't seen any.  We gather the lack of BSL terp at just ONE briefing in England was promoted as a total lack of any access.  

The people who missed BSL access are those who aren't online, are unable to read, or have no TV set.  (Which means the Brit on screen is a mystery as she is none of those?).

Hospice Staff and the BSL gig.


Easily add subtitling to your vids. 

How do you add Live Titles to your Clips?

You can use Live Titles on any Clip you add, video or photo, new or from your library.

Note: Like in the early days of Siri Dictation, Apple is using online transcription for Clips, so you'll need to be connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular data network to use Live Titles. Also, like Siri Dictation, Live Titles will dynamically update as the audio engine gets a better sense of your context — so don't be surprised if you see words changing, just keep speaking. 

Tap the Live Titles button, top left. Tap on the Style of Live Titles you want to use in the live preview tiles. Tap the Record Audio button to turn off sound and just use the Live Titles. Touch and hold Hold to Record/Add This Clip/Add This Photo (if you're taking a new photo, you'll need to tap the shutter button first, then hold to add.) Speak clearly, with crisp enunciation, while holding down the button. Let go when you're done. 

Turning off the mic only turns off the audio. Live Titles are still captured. If you change your mind about the style, or want to edit the text, you can do both once you're done recording. Note: Live Titles can't caption an existing video (unless you recorded it in Clips) but you can record new audio to caption over library video or photos as you insert them. 

Can Deafblind access TV?

The deaf-blind can now 'watch' television without intermediaries
Yes they can.  For those with zero vision it would appear the lack of equipment is at fault, not the access.  

Today Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Telefónica and the Federation of Deaf-Blind Persons Associations has developed PervasiveSUB, groundbreaking software that allows deaf-blind persons to receive and enjoy television content without intermediaries in real-time. 

PervasiveSUB compiles all the subtitles of television channels and sends them to a central server, which forwards them to smartphones or tablets. From there, they are transmitted to the Braille line used by deaf-blind people through the GoAll app, which integrates the software.

It is compatible with different Braille lines and controls the speed of the subtitles that are captured directly from the TV broadcast in perfect synchronization. García Crespo, who headed the group, said, "One of the big problems deaf-blind people face is the scant public attention they receive, which is demonstrated by the fact that they weren't recognized by the European Parliament until 2004." 

Díaz-Lladó said, "At Telefónica, we endeavor to become a more accessible company and contribute to equal opportunities for all. And although we still have a long way to go, these new inclusive technologies and the digital revolution are the best means to help us get there." A group of deaf-blind users from FASOCIDE tested the software in Spain and the United States with very satisfactory results. 

The subjects highlighted the advantage of being able to access previously unobtainable information in real-time and without intermediaries, and also praised its ability to transmit to Braille lines and the ability to adjust the reading and viewing speed. Given the success of these tests, the technology has already been implemented on all the national DTT channels and regional DTT channels in Madrid, and it will soon be available in the other autonomous regions of Spain. 

The research team is now providing this service free of charge to anyone who needs it. Interested parties need only to download the GoAll app, available on iOS and Android. Deaf-blind persons suffer a combined deterioration of sight and hearing, which impedes their access to information, communication and mobility in a way that seriously affects everyday abilities necessary for a minimally independent life. This is why they require specialized services, personnel trained specifically to care for them, and special methods of communication. 

The rise of Pinoccio

Disproportionate and misleading information. Subtitling and captions were deliberately omitted on the video where they were provided with every daily briefing and only ONE area in the UK did not provide in-vision BSL access. The BSL user has NEVER had so much televised access as they have now.

E.G. the BBC's channel 601 provides complete BSL coverage every day, the Welsh, Scottish and NI assemblies daily provide live updates too.  Read ATR's listing of dozens of BSL daily update areas. 

Channel 4 has been criticised for failing to do proper research into the accuracy of this video or its claims, and also contributing to airing scare stories aimed at vulnerable deaf people. 

As always when BSL activism areas want to make a point they are suddenly all lip-readers or all deaf-blind as well, deplorable reporting, poor journalism, and dubious opportunism from the deaf activists, worse non-awareness.  Instead of highlighting where access is, they chose to target one area where it wasn't and made that a blanket statement.

Barriers to home-working for the deaf.

City Lit tutor Mark Hopkinson (left) with deaf refugee ex-student Ilyaas Cader
Working from home is a challenge for many of us, from learning how to communicate with colleagues via Zoom, to acquainting ourselves with the nuances of telephone conference calls. But imagine what it must be like if you are deaf or have difficulty hearing. 

Research published on Wednesday by a UK hearing loss charity, found that three-quarters of people who live with deafness fear they will be less productive working from home. As a deaf nurse, I know what it's like to face discrimination in the NHS As told to Sarah Johnson.

“Homeworking is a huge challenge for people living with deafness or hearing loss. They are at greater risk of further isolation due to social-distancing measures. While many people will use the phone and video calls to stay in contact with friends and families and work colleagues, people with hearing loss, especially those who lip-read or use British Sign Language, will be excluded from these interactions.” 

Lip-reading requires an individual to concentrate intently on both the movement of the lips and the sound they can hear to piece together what is being said, Geaney explains. This is tiring and many people only get most of what is being said – with contextual clues being used to fill the gaps. “It is therefore helpful to consider using text boxes or visual presentations alongside video conferences, particularly if communicating numbers or complex jargon,” he says. 

In the UK, 12 million people have hearing loss and 65% of working-age deaf people are employed, compared with 79% of the general population. An estimated 24,000 people use BSL as their main language. The Equality Act 2010 obliges employers to make adjustments (like a BSL interpreter or a speech to text reporter) and the government’s Access to Work scheme provides grants for specialist equipment.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Burying the lies about BSL access.

ATR is a long-standing 'anti-charity' based blog, primarily because access and inclusion is a right not a handout, but a legal right enshrined in law.  To be scrupulously fair ATR has to challenge a number of BSL deaf areas and claims that are undermining these rights. 

A number of quite serious situations now exist via the coronavirus,  but lack of access is NOT one of them.

ATR saw 23 BSL users and blogs/social media sites online in the last 3 hours, insisting, that BSL deaf were not only being denied access, and banned from using BSL interpreters, but the government and systems were refusing them advice in sign language, all lies as ATR will show.  Not a shred of evidence has come from any of it ATR challenged.

Today ATR will include for the first time ever on its site, links to just a small collection of current charitable areas, system funded, and official sites providing daily updates to the deaf in sign language, now, will these naysayers and fake news deaf please shut the FCK up? 

If you see online deaf stating no access please reprint the link to this blog.  Facts speak louder than BS. [Of course, EVERYTHING has subtitles on TV too].  All the links below apply to the UK only.

ATR could have added 27 or more but this small random sample should surely be enough to silence the BSL liars online, 

(ATR is also reporting some BSL users and 2 national independent TV stations, for publishing what is obviously  FAKE news being supplied to them by unnamed 'BSL deaf people', we want those names. and also for deliberately alarming the BSL user.)

Monday, 20 April 2020

New BSL service for BSL welfare claimants.

Universal Credit claimants can now access British Sign Language interpreters as part of a free video relay service.

From: Department for Work and Pensions and Justin Tomlinson MP

The service can be used to help make a new claim or for those already claiming Universal Credit. This supports a package of measures put in place to provide quicker and easier access to benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak.

British Sign Language users can now easily access Universal Credit through a video relay service provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. The move will support many of the 87,000 Deaf BSL users currently living in the UK.

The Video Relay Service (VRS), allows users to make BSL interpreted video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop. A professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson said:

With more than 1.4 million people accessing Universal Credit in these unprecedented times, this technology will provide vital and equal accessibility for Deaf people and those with hearing loss.

It is fantastic to see concern for increasing accessibility going right to the top and I am delighted that we are championing this cause for people accessing the welfare safety net.

The service, which is already available for people accessing other disability benefits and the Access to Work scheme, will be available through GOV.UK.

DWP staff won’t see the caller or the interpreter but will receive a phone call from the interpreter who will translate into BSL. There is no need to book the service in advance which allows the conversation to take place in real-time. 

Additional information.

Customers will be able to access a VRS hyperlink on GOV.UK. Alternatively, SignVideo offers an app that can connect to Universal Credit. Colleagues won’t see the caller or the interpreter; they simply receive a voice telephone call and allow additional time for translation into BSL.

Things deaf are fed up with..

And next, "15 things that P.I.S.S. off hearing people about the deaf" ?  Probably vids like this will be well up there... Hang on , they said deaf were tired of HEARING...

How do you Video the deaf and HoH?

Easy peasy if it is signer to signer, pretty dire if you don't and want to contact anyone else.  It makes little difference what video platform you use unless there is real-time and accurate captioning with it, and next to none have any that is effective.  It is so easy for others to subtitle own videos and send them to us, why don't they do that?  Perhaps because some deaf don't bother either?

UK: NO deaf immigrants thank you.

[I think currently NO immigrants at all until this is all over, ON  a practicable basis the UK are expected to allow immigrants in who need care, health, education, housing, welfare money, and language support/tuition, and maybe a questionable ability to work?  What country would not think twice?  And why are they refusing to request asylum with the 6 EU countries they travelled through?  The UK is a 'soft touch'?]

The purpose of this video is to explain the changes that the UK Immigration Courts - UTIAC both First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal have adjourned all or nearly all the face to face hearings due to the coronavirus outbreak and its appears a lot of appeals will be heard on the papers rather than by hearing. 

This is hugely worrying as the UT and FTT have issued very detailed directions which place a huge burden on representatives and clients. For a while there was uncertainty as to what was happening and then I heard first that the UT were proposing to deal with the error of law cases on paper unless a hearing was necessary on the basis that the UTIAC had 10 years experience of hearing such cases the issue as to whether there was an error of law could be decided on the papers. In my view any curtailment or potential curtailment of the right of the advocate to make oral representations at any hearing is dangerous. 

The late LJ Laws as he then was commented on the importance of oral advocacy being the keystone of our legal system. I would, therefore, advise anyone with an upcoming UT error of law hearing to ensure that their representatives make representations to the UT to attempt to secure a “hearing” which can be conducted by phone. Not to make clear and comprehensive representations risks the appeal being determined with no oral submissions. 

In respect of Judicial Reviews, both in the High Court or Upper Tribunal it is my understanding that there will be hearings conducted by phone. In the FTT, the Tribunal offer to decide the case to be decided on the papers something I would never advise, I have seen countless attempts to appeal decisions made on paper, these have usually failed. The other offer is for the hearing to be turned into a Case Management Review (“CMR”) where the FTT will decide whether the case can proceed with or without an oral hearing. This follows the new directions issued in relation to the digital pilot scheme - whereby the Appellant needs to prepare the bundle (limited to 50 pages) and a skeleton argument and and then the Home Office needs to respond, all of which needs to be uploaded to the FTT. 

Then at the CMR the Court will determine in the light of the Appellant’s skeleton argument and bundle, and the response together with all the evidence provided will be considered by a Judge who will consider, whether the appeal can be justly determined without a hearing (rule 25(1)(g)). This creates huge problems for Appellants and their representatives, it means that the not only must the case be prepared by the CMR and a skeleton provided but that the Appellant runs a real risk that the Judge may not if the case is not properly prepared by representatives to decide it on the papers. 

This will incur further costs to the Appellants, who are also more than likely suffering was. result of Covid-19, What worries me is that I am not sure what extra provisions for Skype and phone hearings have been made. I fear is that a combination of poor representation and an overworked Tribunal may end up in more cases being determined on the papers than should be, While I have ever sympathy for the Tribunal during this time, there has been plenty of time over the last 10 years to implement remote or video hearings yet in reality, despite some excellent examples it is often hard to find a DVD player in the Tribunal let alone facilities for Skype etc. 

I cannot stress highly enough that if you have an appeal you must get the best quality of representative otherwise if the directions are not complied with the appeal is likely to be dismissed.