Rosie Cooper – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rosie Cooper on 2016-03-16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effect of the devolution of skills policy to local authorities on the development of British Sign Language and sign language interpreting skills.

Nick Boles

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills supports British Sign Language (BSL), lip reading and managing hearing loss provision in England through the Adult Education Budget. Providers receive funding for this provision as they do for all other courses.

In the academic year 2018/19, subject to readiness conditions being met, we intend to devolve the Adult Education Budget to certain Combined Authorities which have signed devolution deals[1]. In such areas, subject to necessary Orders being passed by Parliament, functions relating to the Adult Education Budget will transfer to the Combined Authority. The Combined Authority will assume responsibility for commissioning adult education provision, including in relation to BSL and sign language as it judges appropriate to meet local needs. Some providers, including Specialist Designated Institutions, are currently funded nationally. Their post-devolution funding arrangements will be confirmed in the coming months.

Skills provision in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and the assessment and adequacy of BSL provision is the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

[1] To date, deals have been agreed with: Sheffield City Region; Liverpool City Region; West Midlands; North East; Tees Valley; Greater Manchester; Greater Lincolnshire; East Anglia; West of England