- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
MIKE HEDGES AM WELCOMES MINISTERS RESPONSE TO DEFFO PETITION
Speaking from The Senedd, Mike Hedges AM said ‘ supporting people with Hearing Loss is one of my big issues as an Assembly Member; this comes from having a family member who is deaf. I know the social isolation this can bring and the challenges faced by people with hearing loss when looking for jobs are huge. I was a Chair of the Petitions Committee when this petition was presented in 2018.
I welcome the Ministers reply and the actions being considered by the Minister and her officials; the Committee recommendations in 2018 were reasoned and proportionate and will deal with some real issues faced by the Deaf community. My only slight concern is the time line. I understand it takes time to assess reports, change policies and so on, but we are already 16 Months from the Committee recommendations. I worry how long it will be before a deaf person benefits from the changes under review.
These proposals when implemented will make a significant change to the lives of deaf people – please do not keep them waiting too long.’
Kirsty Williams AM
I am aware of a number of issues currently being faced and highlighted by members of the deaf community in relation to BSL. The Deffo! Petition which dates back to 2015, was considered most recently by the Assembly Petitions Committee in October 2018. The committee made four recommendations around concerns held by the deaf community in Wales.
To partly address these concerns officials are considering options around adopting a national charter for the delivery of services and resources to deaf children, young people and their families. The charter will need to be broad and flexible enough to reflect changing circumstances and future developments, supporting the implementation of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014. Our options include the possibility of signing up to and promoting existing charters approved by d/Deaf organisations, for example The British Deaf Association’s BSL Charter.
You will also be aware that BSL is actively being considered in the new curriculum being developed for schools and settings in Wales, specifically as part of the Literacy, Languages and Communication Area of Learning Experience. Further detail on my plans for the new curriculum are due to be released shortly.
I am aware of other issues including a lack of interpreters; the desire to see BSL included on the curriculum; and provision of BSL training for parents of deaf children. Inevitably, budgetary constraints will restrict our ability to address all the issues raised as quickly and completely as we might hope, and recent discussions with individuals concerned and organisations which represent them have demonstrated that opinions vary regarding what should be the priority.