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A

BILL

TO

Establish a body to assess provision of communication support for deaf
people and to make recommendations; and for connected purposes.

Whereas deafness does not in itself constitute a learning difficulty;


And whereas communications and language support is essential for social
communication for deaf people and their families and for education and employment;


And whereas there is a recognised attainment gap in the education achievements of
deaf children and young people;


And whereas there is variation in the level and quality of support provided across
the United Kingdom;


And whereas there is need for a minimum standard and promotion of best practice;


And whereas there is a case for independent monitoring of performance and
recommendations of best practice within education by schools inspectorates:-

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Council for Communication Support on Deafness

(1) There shall be established an independent body known as the Council for
Communication Support on Deafness (referred to in this Act as “the Council”).

(2) The Schedule makes provision about the Council.

2 5Definition of deafness

(1) For the purposes of this Act, deafness shall relate to persons with a hearing loss
who are classified as—

(2) 5The definition under subsection (1) is intended to reflect the social model of
disability and cultural model of deafness.

3 Objectives of the Council

(1) The Council’s main objective is to assess provision of language and
communication support for people experiencing deafness and to make
10recommendations. This assessment of provision should include all forms of
language and communications support including but not limited to lip
speaking, British Sign Language and other sign languages used both in person
and remotely, and deafblind communication including deafblind manual and
tactile methods for deafblind people.

(2) 15The Council’s main objective is supported by the following subsidiary
objectives—

(a) to establish a British Sign Language Board which shall have the
function of promoting and facilitating the use of British Sign Language;

(b) to produce Accessible Language and Communications Action Plans
20with measurable outcomes and deadlines to set out how the Strategy
will be implemented;

(c) to set up an Accessible Language and Communications Stakeholders’
Panel, made up of deaf people (covering the whole spectrum of
language and communication needs), and engage them fully in the
25production of the Strategy and Action Plan and its implementation and
follow-up.

(3) The members appointed to the Panel established in subsection (2)(c) shall not
be paid for their membership of the Panel.

(4) The Council shall carry out research and make recommendations for
30legislative, policy and practice improvements, including but not limited to
addressing the following issues—

(a) availability of sufficient appropriately qualified and regulated
language and communication professionals for deaf and deafblind
service users;

(b) 35use of these professionals by public bodies, including private
companies contracted to provide a public service, with a view to
ensuring language and communication support is provided whenever
required, both in person and remotely;

(c) use of these professionals by all bodies serving the public with a view
40to ensuring that they provide alternative language and communication
support for deaf users whenever required, both in person and
remotely;

(d) recognition of British Sign Language as an indigenous language of the
United Kingdom;

(e) 45consideration to the role of other Sign Languages within the United
Kingdom;

(f) provision of adequate language and communication support for deaf
children and their families;

Communication Support (Deafness) BillPage 3

(g) current overall provision of language and communication support and
consider whether it would be more efficient and cost-effective to
devolve control of language and communication support budget to
individual users.

(5) 5The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for the Council to have an
additional function if it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary or
expedient for the Council to have the function in relation to any of its
objectives.

(6) Regulations under subsection (5) shall be made by statutory instrument and no
10regulations shall be made unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by
resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(7) The Council shall aim to pursue, and to have regard to, its objectives when
exercising a function that is relevant to it.

(8) The Council must exercise its functions effectively and efficiently.

4 15Short title, commencement and extent

(1) This Act may be cited as the Communication Support (Deafness) Act 2013.

(2) This Act shall come into force on such day as the Secretary of State shall by
order appoint.

(3) This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Communication Support (Deafness) BillPage 4

Section 1

Schedule Council for Communication Support on Deafness

Membership

1 The Council is to consist of a member to chair it and six other members,
5appointed by the Secretary of State following a pre-appointment hearing by,
and with the consent of, the Work and Pensions Committee of the House of
Commons.

2 The Council’s membership shall consist of a majority of people defined as
deaf in section 2(1) of this Act, including at least one deaf person fluent in
10British Sign Language.

Annual report

3 (1) The Council must prepare a report of the performance of its functions
annually.

(2) The report must be sent to the Department of Work and Pensions.

(3) 15The Secretary of State must lay the report before Parliament.

Accountability and reporting

4 It will be the responsibility of the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament
responses to reports of the Council in Parliament.

Finance

5 (1) 20The budget of the Council will be agreed by the Secretary of State.

(2) The Department of Work and Pensions may make to the Council such payments out
of money provided by Parliament as it considers appropriate for the purpose of
enabling the Council to meet its expenses.

(3) Payments are to be made at such times, and subject to any such conditions, as the
25Department of Work and Pensions considers appropriate.

Accounts and audit

6 (1) The Council must—

(a) Keep proper accounts and proper records in relation to its accounts,
and

(b) 30prepare in respect of each financial year a statement of accounts.

(2) Each statement of accounts must comply with any directions given by the
Work and Pensions Select Committee as to—

(a) the information to be contained in it and the manner in which it is to
be presented;

Communication Support (Deafness) BillPage 5

(b) the methods and principles according to which the statement is to be
prepared, and

(c) the additional information (if any) which is to be provided for the
information of Parliament.

(3) 5The Council must send a copy of each statement of accounts to—

(a) the Secretary of State, and

(b) the Comptroller and Auditor General,

before the end of the month of June next following the financial year to
which the statement relates.

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