One of the most significant developments of last year was the introduction of the British Sign Language Bill, which represents the preferred language of over 80,000 people in the UK. The British Sign Language Bill became an official act and received Royal Assent in April 2022. With the Act in effect, businesses in all industries must adapt to the changes in legislation and anticipate changes in broader society. Here's a glimpse of what to expect in 2023. 

This Act has three main clauses summarised: 

1 - Legally recognising BSL as a language of England, Wales and Scotland. 

2 - Requiring the government to prepare and publish reports on what they have done to promote the use of BSL. 

3 - Requiring the government to publish guidance about encouraging and facilitating the use of BSL. 

The Act aims to make progress towards equal access for those using BSL. Rosie Cooper MP (the initial presenter of the bill) said it is a "huge first step towards equal access to public services for anyone that relies on BSL". Notably, this Act has increased the conversation around the need for more accessibility for BSL users. Since the Act has passed, there have been steps from many companies in a positive direction for accessibility. In terms of what to expect in 2023, below are some of the upcoming events and ongoing developments this year:

Sign Language Week 2023


Sign Language week commences March 13th - March 19th. As stated by twinkl.co.uk, Sign Language Week aims to "raise awareness of the problems that sign language users encounter on a daily basis, a series of campaigns and educational projects are launched during Sign Language Week, aimed at making Deaf people feel more reassured and highlighting their needs in society."

BSL Conference


Around the same time, the British Deaf Association is hosting the BSL Conference on March 17th. The conference will focus on What the BSL Act 2022 will mean for the Deaf community and how that will affect public life for all. 

BSL comes to streaming


In 2022, ITVX launched the world's first BSL channel, solely featuring signed programming, which will include a range of shows like the Emmerdale and Coronation Street omnibus episodes. We expect this channel to grow throughout the year. As it stands now, not all ITV shows have BSL capabilities. Having said that, the broadcaster expects to fulfil its programming gaps in the first half of 2023.



Finally, the consultation continues for British Sign Language to become an officially recognised GCSE qualification. If successful, teaching can begin as early as 2025. This comes after campaigning from deaf teenager Daniel Jillings in 2018. This move would be highly beneficial for future society regarding accessibility and for younger people to see BSL in the same light as Spanish or German etc.

With this in mind, businesses can adapt to these changes by;

  • Having BSL interpreters at events and meetings.
  • Creating original content that considers BSL at conception rather than as an afterthought. 
  • Learning some BSL phrases, such as greetings, and incorporating more BSL training within your organisation.

This year will continue the implementation of BSL into all aspects of life and business. As it stands, it'll benefit all organisations to reassess their BSL offerings, consider how they can be more inclusive, and provide support for those needing BSL. If your business needs BSL support, get in touch today. Read the full details of the BSL Act 2022 here