There are a number of ways of providing access that creates equality for deaf members of staff. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. From simply having appropriate lighting and seating arrangements to the supply of technical equipment such as text-phones, awareness training for other members of staff being common examples. However, when it comes to everyday work related activities, this is where barriers can be created unintentionally; unscheduled team briefings, staff announcements, ad hoc one-to-ones etc.
To combat this, deaf employees may have access to funding through the UK government’s Access to Work (AtW) scheme. This can be used to pay for InterpreterNow’s video relay service and video remote interpreting.
Here are just two examples of how everyday technology can play an important part in the workplace:
VRS – Customers/clients can call a deaf BSL user direct and speak to them at their desk via an online BSL interpreter. This in itself provides access and equality, as hearing colleagues receiving calls as part of everyday tasks.
This includes a video-answering service where a hearing caller can leave a video message via the online interpreter that can be ‘picked up’ later by the deaf person.
VRI – Frequently, meetings are arranged at very short notice, especially one-to-ones, often denying fair and equal access for the deaf member of the team.
Booking face-to-face interpreters can be difficult at times, interpreters may have to be booked well in advance, sometimes two weeks in advance or even more!
Having access to InterpreterNow’s video remote interpreting services can offer an ideal solution for such ad hoc eventualities. A meeting can easily take place with a deaf member of staff using a remote online interpreter.
What do I need – VRI or VRS?
You can have either VRI or VRS or both. It depends on your work and what you do. We can advise what would suit best. If you decided you only need VRI and found that you also need VRS, we can quite easily change your package and include that (often on the same day!)
Service operational hours are from 8.00am to 6.00pm, seven days a week. With prior arrangement, we can provide services up until 12.00 midnight! This covers most, if not all, working patterns.
InterpreterNow can be accessed via a smartphone or tablet by using our freely available IOS/Android app or by a laptop or desktop through a browser (No additional software required). It’s almost like having an interpreter in your pocket! (Or on your desk).
Funding the service?
The UK government provide support to deaf BSL users through the Access to Work scheme provided through DWP.
New Employee: they can apply direct to DWP for communication support which can include both face-to-face BSL/English interpreting and online VRI/VRS. This is normally awarded with a fixed number of hours per month on a three year rolling programme.
Existing employee: they can, with agreement with their Access to Work adviser, include VRI/VRS hours in the allocation of communication support package they have in place.
More information can be found on the UK Government’s access to work pages here : https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
For more information on InterpreterNow VRI and VRS services please contact us for further details – contact us.