DWP to trial SignVideo for its helplines to improve access for British Sign Language users
Today, SignVideo announces that their real-time British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting service has been selected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help provide equal access to its helplines for deaf BSL users.
The DWP will be trialling SignVideo’s Video Relay Services (VRS) from early in 2016, opening up their customer services to over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK.
The SignVideo service will allow callers to click on a link from the DWP website and connect to a number of the DWP helplines via BSL interpreted video calls enabling effective and effortless communication in their native language (BSL). This happens through a professional, fully qualified video interpreter who relays the call between BSL and English and the service is available instantly on tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops via apps and software.
This is an important step towards ensuring the government’s services are equally accessible to all. Video Relay Services are already used by other large organisations in the UK to ensure BSL users have the same access to their customer services as hearing people. Service providers such as Sainsbury’s, Allianz, Santander and many local councils have adopted SignVideo for their BSL customers.
The trial by DWP, will drive a step change in the UK Public Sector for the deaf BSL community, who so often are not included in helpline access provision.
Jeff McWhinney, Chairman and Founder of SignVideo says, “We are absolutely delighted that DWP have chosen us to partner with them for this trial, to enable deaf British Sign Language users exactly the same level of access to their helplines that is enjoyed by the general public. We are proud that DWP has placed confidence in our innovative and highly secure video technology applications. We hope this is the start of something wonderful – to see all of the UK public sector departments, readily and equally accessible for deaf BSL users.”
The trial of SignVideo will commence in January 2016.
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SignVideo provides British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting services to enable communication between the community of over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK and hearing people.
The service allows users to make and receive BSL interpreted video calls so that they can effectively and effortlessly communicate with each other. This happens through a professional video interpreter who relays the call between BSL and English and the service is available instantly on tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops via apps and software.
Born in 2004, SignVideo is led by Jeff McWhinney, a well-known deaf entrepreneur who fights tirelessly for equality of the deaf and hearing community. Today, SignVideo, a predominantly deaf-led organisation, provides their service to the government, NHS, councils, UK banks, telecommunications providers, helplines and many other types of organisations.