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BSL Act Now!

By working collaboratively with other deaf organisations, led by the British Deaf Association, we successfully campaigned for the BSL Act 2022, to give legal recognition to British Sign Language (BSL).

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The BSL Act

The Act will create greater recognition and understanding of BSL, and inclusion and equality for BSL users by:

  • Legally recognising BSL as a language for England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • Requiring government departments to report on how they are promoting and facilitating the use of BSL.
  • Providing guidance to government departments and public bodies on how to meet the needs of people who use BSL as their first or preferred language.

Timeline of the BSL Act

  • 18 May 2021: BDA launched the BSL Act Now campaign with support from across the sector.
  • 16 June 2021: The BSL Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by the Labour MP, Rosie Cooper. Rosie is a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) herself, considers BSL her first language, and is well placed to understand the barriers that BSL users face.
  • 18 March 2022: An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people attended a rally in Trafalger Square, London, and the Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons unopposed.
  • 27 April 2022: The Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords unopposed and is set to become law.
  • April / May 2022: The BSL Bill is given Royal assent and becomes the BSL Act 2022.

Next steps

Now that we have the BSL Act 2022, we will continue working with the other organisations involved in the campaign to ensure the Government meets their commitments to the Act. This includes:

  • Establishing a non-statutory Advisory Board where representatives of the Deaf community can advise public services
  • Increasing the number of registered interpreters
  • Improving the Access to Work provision for claimants and employers.

How you can help

Join our Campaigns Network to keep up to date with this and our other campaigns and to be the first to know when we need you to take action.