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British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015

The structure of the Act

Section 1 – Functions of the Scottish Ministers in relation to British Sign Language

5.Section 1 requires the Scottish Ministers to promote, and to facilitate the promotion of, use and understanding of BSL (subsection (1)). As part of that, they are required to prepare National Plans to be laid before the Parliament and published (subsection (2)), setting out their strategy for doing so (subsection (3)(a)) and what the Scottish Ministers consider that relevant public authorities (as defined within section 7(1)) should or could do to promote the use and understanding of BSL within their areas of responsibility (subsection (3)(b)). Subsection (4) enables the Scottish Ministers to include in a National Plan other appropriate material. The first National Plan is to be laid before the Parliament within two years of the Act coming into force (subsection (5)) and subsequent Plans are to be laid at intervals of not more than six years thereafter (subsection (6)). A National Plan must be published as soon as is reasonably practicable after it is laid before the Parliament (subsection (7)) and must be made publicly available in BSL (subsection (8)). Subsection (9)(a) requires the Scottish Ministers, in preparing the National Plan, to have regard to the most recently published progress report (the requirements of which are set out in section 4). This does not apply to the first National Plan where there will not yet be a progress report to refer to (subsection (10)). Paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (9) require the Scottish Ministers to publish a National Plan in draft, consult on it, and take account of any representations they receive in finalising the National Plan.

6.The consultation is to be with those who the Scottish Ministers consider are likely to be directly affected by the National Plan or otherwise to have an interest in it (subsection (11)). They must, in particular, consult users of BSL and those who represent such users (subsection (11)(a) and (b)). Subsection (12) requires that the form and manner of the consultation on the draft plan is to be determined having regard to accessibility to deaf and deafblind (when a person has a combination of both impaired vision and hearing) BSL users.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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