Video relay service helps deaf people access council services and information

Sabina Iqbal, team manager for Hertfordshire County Councils Sensory Services
Sabina Iqbal, team manager for Hertfordshire County Councils Sensory Services
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A new service in Hertfordshire is making it easier for deaf residents to access information and advice on a range of council services. Hertfordshire County Council has launched a video relay service for the British Sign Language (BSL) community in partnership with SignVideo.

The service is available for all residents in need of support from the council’s customer service team or HertsHelp.

SignVideo enables deaf residents to place video calls to the customer service team via a free and secure video link on the HertsDirect website. The video call instantly connects to a BSL interpreter at SignVideo, who then phones the county council customer service call centre or the HertsHelp information helpline, relaying the conversation in real time.

Cabinet Member for adult care and health, Colette Wyatt-Lowe: “It is very important that we offer all Hertfordshire residents equal access to information and support in line with the Care Act 2014. It’s estimated that around 18,500 deaf and hard of hearing people live in Hertfordshire. SignVideo will enable them to make enquiries about council services in a quick and easy way.”

Sabina Iqbal, team manager for Hertfordshire County Council’s sensory services, said: “As a Deaf BSL user, I know how important it is to connect with the council services easily without barriers and the SignVideo provision is a step in the right direction.”

Residents who use BSL can find out more about the service by visiting HCS customer service centre - www.hertsdirect.org/contact or Herts Help - www.hertsdirect.org/hertshelp or by taking a look at the signed video at https://youtu.be/QKLO6htPm1I