As part of our ongoing lobbying and campaign work in the area of deaf communication, we are attending a conference today, 12 September, “The Future of Local Government Marketing and Communications”.
Taking place at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the conference will focus on the digital communication methods of local authorities. It will be chaired by David Holdstock Director of Communications at the Local Government Association and will include a host of speakers from Local Government.
We hope that the event will help us to better understand the policy direction in this area and assess its impact on people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
There is growing trend amongst local authorities to deliver services in a digital by default format. This is mirrored nationally with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Ministry of Justice all adopting a digital by default approach.
The digital by default trend is transforming the way government organisations interact with their service users both locally and nationally and this is beginning to impact upon the way deaf people are communicated with. The changes are already affecting the way deaf people apply for Legal Aid from the justice system, benefits from DWP and ask HMRC for advice on tax issues.
The prospect of more online only services poses both opportunities and challenges for the deaf community. The challenge is that online information may not be in accessible format for deaf and hard of hearing people, the opportunity being to make sure that it is.