West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is encouraging Deaf people across England, Scotland, and Wales to consider applying for a seat on the BSL Advisory Board after the Government launched the recruitment process this week.  

The British Sign Language (BSL) Act 2022, which was presented to Parliament by Rosie Cooper MP 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.  

The BSL Advisory Board will ensure Deaf BSL users are directly able to provide personal and expert advice to government on the on key issues impacting the Deaf community that need to be reflected in the guidance.  

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, with a majority of Deaf BSL signers including Deafblind and/or those with Usher’s syndrome who use tactile sign. 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.  

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.  

“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. I am encouraging deaf clubs across the England, Scotland and Wales to nominate at least one person to be considered for a spot on the Advisory Board.  

“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 here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-to-join-the-british-sign-language-bsl-advisory-board 

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