Derby City Council’s decision on Communication Unlimited provision

[originated from Derby City Council website via Derby Deaf newsgroups – however I could not find the source]

Organisation & Current Funding Value

Communication Unlimited

£36,021

Service Description

Provides subsidised British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and deaf/blind communication support to assist individuals to access community facilities

Consultation Metrics

General Public

  • Number who had heard of organisation: 27
  • Number who had used the organisation: 10
  • Number who felt the organisation had some impact or a big impact on to resident’s wellbeing: 59
  • Number who felt the organisation should continue to receive funding: 50
  • Service Users ( 33 survey responses + 2 Focus Meetings)
  • The main differences that the organisation makes to the individual or their organisation are the ability to communicate and access to services (23 comments).
  • Service users felt that cessation of the service would impact on their daily lives.
  • In particular, individuals spoke about how much difficult it would become to access mainstream services (21 comments).
  • Schools in particular also commented on the value of the organisation in helping them communicate to Deaf parents.

Consultation Outcomes

Consultation

The general public had very low awareness, and usage, of the organisation. There was a low level of feeling that the organisation has some impact or a big impact on resident’s wellbeing and that it should continue to receive funding. The survey responses by service users were re-enforced by two focus groups.

For service users the organisation is felt to make a difference through its interpreting service by giving customers the ability to communicate and access to a wide range of services.

Recommendations

Extend the existing agreement with Communication Unlimited for 12 months; 6 months at the current funding level, 6 months at 50% current funding level. During this period it is recommended that a new business model that obtains funding from organisations accessed by users is developed.

Provide funding to Communication Unlimited to undertake the awareness raising and access to information and advice activities identified as a service gap.

Ensure that the plan for the BSL service seeks to integrate with the action plan to improve services for deaf and hard of hearing/acquired deafness users currently being developed by the Disabled Peoples Forum working group. (Project group to include representatives from Deaf Forum, British Deaf Association, CamTAD).

Ensure that services to BSL users also link to developments in the Council’s Customer Management Department to improve access for people who are deaf/hard of hearing.

Impact

No impact for the first 6 months. After that, funding will be halved and all services subject to equalities legislation will have to begin to provide suitable access for people from the deaf community. If this does not
occur, users may have to be charged for services.

Mitigation

Tapered funding supports the organisation to move to a new model of funding over a period of time allowing services to be maintained for customers whilst this transition takes place.
In addition, the awareness raising and access to information and advice activities identified as a service gap should help to encourage organisations that interact with deaf people to implement or increase their access to a BSL service.