DEAF members of the public who use British Sign Language have been urged to consider applying for a seat on the new British Sign Language (BSL) Advisory Board.
The Board will ensure deaf BSL users provide personal and expert advice to government on the key issues impacting the deaf community which need to be reflected in future guidance.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is asking people to consider applying for a seat on the Board after the Government launched the recruitment process.
The British Sign Language (BSL) Act 2022, which was presented to Parliament by MP Cooper and received royal assent in April, requires the government to produce guidance on how they should be promoting and protecting the use of BSL throughout their responsibilities.
Rosie Cooper MP said: “The British Sign Language Act has always been about including deaf people in the development of the Government’s BSL policies. The Advisory Board is essential to this, and we need deaf people from all walks of life to be involved so that the guidance is as far reaching as possible.”
The Board will be co-chaired by one external and one senior civil servant chair. The Board membership will comprise of at least 16 members plus the co-chairs.
For the Board members and the independent co-chair the main criteria for appointment will be a lived experience of BSL, alongside a willingness to work collaboratively in assisting Government to be more accessible.
MP Cooper added: “This isn’t just open to campaigners and academics, but to any deaf people that want to help shape an inclusive future for the deaf community.
“When the BSL Bill passed through Parliament, I said that my job was done and that it is now over to the deaf people to make the most of this opportunity.
“This BSL Board is the first chance for the deaf community to really tell the government what they are doing wrong, what could be better and what must change.”
Full details on how to apply can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-to-join-the-british-sign-language-bsl-advisory-board