Oxfordshire Sensory Impairment Team works together with SignVideo

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Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), SignVideo and Sign Lingual are very proud to announce that from 1st June 2015 members of the Deaf community can contact the Council’s Hearing Impairment Team in British Sign Language via a SignVideo ‘BSL Live’ link on the OCC website.

BSL Live is a secure and easy-to-use British Sign Language (BSL) online video interpreting service provided by SignVideo. By simply clicking on a BSL Live icon on the OCC website, Deaf BSL users will connect to a professional BSL interpreter within minutes and have their call relayed to the Hearing Impairment Team.

The Hearing Impairment Team is a countywide team of specially trained staff, offering advice and support on any type of hearing impairment. The Social Workers, Support Workers and Equipment Officers in the team have a wide experience of all issues relating to hearing impairment and are able to advise and support people of all ages with hearing problems, all of which can now be discussed in sign language through the BSL Live link Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm and Friday 8.30am to 4pm.

“I’m extremely pleased to be able to implement BSL Live into Oxfordshire’s Hearing Impairment Team service,” said Neelam Ahmed, Sensory Impairment Team Manager of Oxfordshire County Council. “This is an exciting and innovative way of working and will enable our service to be accessible to Deaf BSL users in their preferred language.”

The aim of BSL Live for the Hearing Impairment Team is a starting point to quickly gather initial information and either offer advice, signpost to another service, or progress to offering a home or office visit to support the Deaf person. Currently there are times when information received from the Deaf person through text message, fax or email is not clear and it is difficult to ascertain what type of support the Deaf person is requesting and how urgent the request is. The use of BSL Live will provide clearer communication and enable workers from the Hearing Impairment Team to quickly assess what type of support is being requested and how this can be provided.

The BSL Live service with the Hearing Impairment Team is currently for a one year trial period. If it is successful we will then consider implementing it on a permanent basis.

Jeff McWhinney, SignVideo’s Founder and Chair said:

“Due to lack of access to telephony services in sign language, Deaf BSL users often find it very difficult to make that important initial contact. OCC are to be praised for identifying this barrier and making sure that Deaf BSL users are able to fully access the Council’s services in their preferred language. Councils across the UK should follow Oxfordshire’s example and offer a range of ways for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to get in touch with them in order to access information and to receive support and advice, including those who use British Sign Language.”

Find the BSL Live link here: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/sight-and-hearing-impairment

About SignVideo

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. SignVideo demolishes existing barriers facing service providers, businesses, work colleagues and family wanting to hold conversations with deaf BSL-using people.  In addition, SignVideo has reduced the previous waiting time of up to six weeks for a BSL interpreter to be available, down to less than 30 seconds.

SignVideo not only pioneered this revolutionary communications solution in the UK but now leads the way in bringing access and inclusion via ‘Video Based Interpreting’  to the BSL community. With a strong presence in the VRS (Video Relay Services) market in the UK, SignVideo is a highly reputable provider with its video call centres and remote interpreters conducting over 20,000 BSL interpreted video calls a year. SignVideo underpins its service with experienced, fully qualified and registered BSL interpreters, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and ISO 9001, 14001 and 27001 quality certifications.

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.

Notes to editors:

1) Read more and connect with us on social media at www.signvideo.co.uk

2) Jeff McWhinney is available for comment and interview on request through the press office.

3) Press office contact:

Karan Hopper, Head of Marketing
+44 (0) 208 4631137