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SEND Sustainability Plan

If you are looking for information about our new SEND Sustainability Plan see 'SEND sustainability plan'

British Sign Language (BSL) and Wiltshire Local Offer

On this page you can find information about how to access Wiltshire Services and information using British Sign Language.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (opens new window), service providers and businesses should make provision for special communication needs. This includes enabling Deaf and hard of hearing people to access supportive services like textphone, email, SMS text messaging, BSL interpreters, lip speakers, note takers and speech-to-text operators. This includes health and social care providers, education, benefits agencies, housing associations and businesses. Service users should request an interpreter when making an appointment. This legislation is underlined by the British Sign Language Act 2022 (opens new window).

Information about Wiltshire Council services can be made available on request in other languages including BSL and formats such as large print and audio details, see 'Translate' for more information.

We are committed to improving the accessibility of the Local Offer and have started to capture key information in video format, our YouTube video on 'What you should expect from the Local Offer' (opens new window) includes a British Sign Language overlay.

Services and support

If a serious offence is in progress or has just been committed, someone is in immediate danger or harm, property is in danger of being damaged or a serious disruption to the public is likely BSL users can use the 999 BSL Emergency Video Relay Service for Deaf people (opens new window) where an interpreter will help you report the crime.

If you are regularly needing the support of a translation service you may want to consider contacting our social care teams to discuss what support options may be available (for example direct payments or personal budgets for arranging services like SignVideo (opens new window) translators). For adults in Wiltshire please visit: Your care, your support: Referrals and forms (opens new window) or for young people visit: 

Contact children's services 

If you are looking for support specifically for education you may wish to visit our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities education pages to see what school support should be available to you, Education 5 to 11/Education 11 to 16 or Section Two: Sensory and/or physical needs.

NHS information:

Text and Speech translation for phone calls

If you are making a phone call you can download a free app provided by the national provider Relay UK. This service allows you to type your conversation to an assistant who will verbally share your conversation and return the spoken answer to you in text format.

Relay UK (opens new window)

Translating written text to British Sign Language

If you are a family member, friend or professional wishing to communicate in a more accessible way you may find the following free digital application useful when a professional translator is difficult to book. It does not require any downloads but does use online data therefore your usual data usage costs may occur. Sign Language users may also find it useful to copy written text into from emails, texts or website information.

Sign Translate (opens new window)

Activism and support

Sign Health aims to promote easier access to healthcare and information. They partner with the NHS and other services and take on projects, carry out research, and raise awareness. 

They also deliver their own services to reach Deaf people with shared language in their moment of need, through domestic abuse support, therapy, advocacy and residential services. 

SignHealth (opens new window)

News and updates

Read the latest news from Royal National Institute of the Deaf and stories from deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus.

RNID: News and stories (opens new window)

Further information

British Sign Language (BSL) This is the language of the Deaf Community which is very different from English. It is used by over 30,000 people in Great Britain, but, like English, has regional dialects. It has its own grammatical system and word order. Most BSL users were born Deaf, or became Deaf at a young age, but anyone can learn it. Everyday communication can be one of the most frustrating problems for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. There are methods of communication support to make this easier:

Hearing Support Team

The Wiltshire Hearing Support Team is part of the Sensory Impairment, Physical and Medical Service within the Special Educational Needs and Disability Service. We are a team of specialist staff, comprising qualified teachers of the deaf and teaching assistants working to promote the educational inclusion and achievement of children and young people with a diagnosed hearing loss.

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