February 2015

British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill

The Society’s Equalities Committee has submitted written evidence on the above Bill.  The primary aim of the Bill is to promote the use and understanding of British Sign Language (BSL) and to make provision for the provision for the preparation and publication of a British Sign Language National Plan for Scotland.  The committee is supportive of the Bill’s primary aim, but does highlight the need for clarity as to the division of competence between the Bill and existing equalities legislation, particularly as the Bill is explicit in determining that BSL is to be promoted as a minority language rather than an equalities issue.     Scottish public bodies are required to comply with specific duties outlined in the Equality Act 2010, and the committee questions whether or not considerations should be given as to whether a more generic obligation to promote minority languages could be incorporated into a new specific duty. 

The full briefing can be found on our website