BSL Rally at Trafalgar Square

On 18th March 2003, the UK Government formally recognised BSL as a language in its own right.  The Government at that time also promised to address the need for a legal status for BSL and now its that time.

The British Deaf Association is behind the BSL Act Now! campaign and has been working to get the attention of the Government and along with the dedicated support from the deaf community gain awareness and support from the wider public this has now reached a pivotal moment.


28 January 2022

Parliament debate the BSL Bill brought forward by Rosie Cooper. MP, in the next step in British Sign Language (BSL) being recognised as an official language. 

23 February 2022

 The second reading in Parliament of the BSL Bill.  This involved the BSL Bill committee gathering to discuss the Bill.  It was passed at this stage.

18 March 2022

4,000 people gathered in a BSL rally in Trafalgar Square to watch Parliament live as the Bill went through and celebrate the beauty of the language.

This coincided with Sign Language Week and shared the day 19 years before where British Sign Language was recognised as a language in it’s own right.

The event was also attended by recent Strictly Come Dancing winner, Rose Ayling-Ellis, who described the importance of access to BSL and shared her life experiences.

The BSL Bill was passed and will now go through to the next stages.

25 March 2022

House of Lords marks first live use of sign language interpretation.

The bill has now gone through the formal process in the House of Commons and on Wednesday 6 April passed the Committee stage at the House of Lords with no objections.

Final Stages

27 April 2022

The 3rd reading, happened on Wednesday 27 April and was passed.

The Act then went to Royal Assent on Thursday 28 April 2022, where the bill is presented to the Queen who can either grant royal assent, thereby making the bill an Act of Parliament or delay the bill’s assent.

The British Sign Language (BSL) Act 2022, which supports the inclusion and equality for Deaf people in society through recognising BSL as a language, requiring the Secretary of State to report on the promotion and facilitation of the use of BSL across Government departments.

Here is an update on the next stages from the British Deaf Association (BDA) in BSL: 

BSL Bill Passes 2nd Reading in the House of Lords

For more information, check out: 

BSL Act Now – BDA

Take a look here at the Parliamentary process of the BSL Bill: 
Parliamentary process of the BSL Bill

28 June 2022

On this day, the BSL Act came into force.
Take a look at the government report detailing what they are doing to promote and facilitate the use of British Sign Language (BSL) in its communications with the public.

Reporting requirements for government departments

The report explains the steps that the following government departments have taken:

  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

  • Cabinet Office

  • Home Office

  • Department for Transport (DfT)

  • Department for Education (DfE)

  • Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

  • Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

  • Department for Business and Trade (DBT)

  • Ministry of Defence (MOD)

BSL Act - BSL version image

17 March 2023

On 17 March 2023, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove attended the British Deaf Association Conference and announced that 16 members have been appointed to the new British Sign Language (BSL) Advisory Board.

Using their wealth of experience, they will advise the government on key issues impacting the Deaf community. 

The Board will focus on:

  • advising on the use of BSL in public communications and policy delivery
  • advising on how to tackle key issues facing Deaf people, such as how to increase the number of BSL interpreters

The members of the board are:

      Craig Crowley MBE FRSA
aye Hampton
      Erin McCluskey
      Brian Kokoruwe
      Scott Garthwaite
      Mangayarkkarasy Sutharsan
      Kate Reed
      Joanne Atkinson
      Asif Iqbal MBE
      Sylvia Simmonds
      Theresa Devine
      Richard MacQueen
      Ahmed Mudawi
      Martin Thacker
      Richard Platt
      Zoe Fudge-Ajadi and Vicki Ashmore
      Samantha Stocken

READ MORE: Click here to read more about these appointments.

BSL VERSION: Click here to watch a BSL version sharing more from the government.

8 November 2023





The BSL Advisory Board had a meeting to discuss the following topics:

  •  BSL GCSE consultation
  • Sub groups 
  • BSL guidance
  • Disability Action Plan
  • Terminology
You can access the full and detailed minutes below.


BSL VERSION: Click here to watch a BSL version of these minutes.

5 February 2024

                                      Disability Action plan image: 32 practical measures to improve disabled people's daily lives

On 5 February, the government launched the Disability Action Plan, detailing the immediate steps the government will undertake in 2024 to enhance the daily lives of disabled people and established the foundations for longer-term change. 

One of the biggest outcomes is the action to have “in-situ {British Sign Language] interpretation for all major press conferences and briefings from Spring 2024 onwards”

This follows on from the #WhereIsTheInterpreter campaign during the Pandemic, in response to the government not providing BSL interpreting for all of its public broadcasts.

Take a look at an article written by terptree’s CEO Victoria, discussing the outcomes from the plan that impact deaf people: