Two years on from the historic British Sign Language Act 2022 and to celebrate Sign Language Week 2024, Lord Michael Berkeley of Knighton, CBE (Honorary President of Decibels), William Ogden (Trustee/Director of Decibels) & Ken Carter (Founder & Executive Director of Decibels) were invited to the British Deaf Association’s parliamentary reception on Monday 18th March 2024 in the Terrace Dining Room A, House of Commons from 2-4pm.

This event celebrated the progress of British Sign Language (BSL) to date and highlighted the challenges families face in accessing BSL support for their deaf children. This campaign believes that there is a vital need to ensure every family with a deaf child receives support to introduce BSL in the home environment and for early years speech and language professionals to include fluent signing as part of their support for deaf children.

It was the intention of the speakers to put over how the government had progressed since the BSL Act 2022 was passed, and to meet Deaf CEOs from around the UK, leading Deaf researchers and Deaf academics. BSL is the first or preferred language of approximately 151,000 people in the UK, around 87,000 who are Deaf and for whom English may be a second or third language.

William thought it was wondrous occasion to visit the House of Commons with Michael & Ken and enjoyed seeing the inner workings of the House of Commons and witnessing how decisions are made in government. It was fascinating to look into the House of Lords to see the debate and discussions happening first hand. He also appreciated the chance to speak with some of the members of parliament at the event itself, such as Chloe Smith MP and hear their perspectives on promoting British Sign Language.

Ken Carter was also very pleased indeed to meet up with a number of old friends and acquaintances… a few of them were Sue Daniels (CEO of NDCS); Sylvia Simmonds (Deaf Advocacy Officer, Reading); Emma Iliffe - British Sign Language Tutor at the City Literary Institute-