Invitation to Tender for an evaluation of the IRIS

Invitation to tender for an evaluation of the Irish Remote Interpreting Services (IRIS)

For information in Irish Sign Language, please click on the link below:

Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) is the national Sign Language Interpreting Service for Ireland.  We were established on the recommendation of the 2006 Prospectus Report on ‘Sign Language Interpreting Services and Provision in Ireland’, through the Citizens Information Board (CIB).
Our Mission Statement:  SLIS will promote, represent, advocate and ensure the availability of quality interpretation services to Deaf people in Ireland.

The goal of SLIS is to ensure that Deaf people can live as full and equal citizens with easy access to relevant public, educational and social services, and exercise their rights and entitlements, including under the Equal Status and Disability Acts.
During the period 2015-20 SLIS will work towards:

• High quality interpreting services that allow Deaf People to participate fully in all aspects of public life;
• Continuing the development of Irish remote interpreting services (IRIS);
• Promoting and encouraging good practice and professional standards across all interpreting services offered to Deaf People;
• Increasing availability of interpreting services in key areas of daily life, particularly where Deaf people are accessing their rights or entitlements; and
• Advocating for the needs of Deaf People in relation to access to interpretation to allow them participation in key aspects of life; most particularly public services.

One of the five priorities in the SLIS strategic plan 2015-2020 is to develop and expand the remote interpreting service (IRIS) in order to make it a primary access point for Deaf people, enabling them to engage with public service providers, State agencies and other essential services.
To equip us in this work, SLIS is now seeking expressions of interest from organisations or sole traders to conduct an evaluative study of the IRIS service and its development to date. 

What is The Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS)?
Remote Interpreting is a process where the interpreter carries out their work via a live video link. It does not require the interpreter to be in the same place as the client or service provider. The Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS) provides a live online link to an ISL / English interpreter using programmes such as Skype, ooVoo or Webex. The IRIS interpreter is based in the SLIS offices whilst the clients can be located anywhere in Ireland.  IRIS is a simple user friendly service Deaf people use to access and engage with a range of services, and which organisations can use to facilitate communication with Deaf clients.

At the core of the provision of interpreting services is ensuring Deaf people can live as full and equal citizens.  The Irish Remote Interpreting Service was developed as part of the response to reduce or eliminate inequalities that Deaf people face in relation to accessing information, entitlements and rights.  Public services, such as health, education and employment supports, are crucial to social inclusion of the Deaf community, yet many services are not fully accessible to all citizens in accordance with legislation (e.g. Equal Status Acts, Disability Act). 
In this context, IRIS began with a pilot scheme in January 2011 as a collaboration between three organisations active in Deaf community development - Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS), DeafHear and the Irish Deaf Society (IDS).  The pilot was run for a nine month period with each organisation contributing to the costs.  In September 2011, SLIS took on the role of developing the service as part of our strategic plan, including management and funding. The Citizens Information Board fund SLIS to deliver services, including IRIS.  A Remote Interpreting Sub-group, comprising of SLIS, IDS and DeafHear, advises on this development.

The objectives of IRIS project were first outlined in the 2006 Prospectus Report, (An Overview of Interpreting Services in Ireland) and validated by the experience of the pilot.  The objectives are to:

• Open up direct engagement with Public Services to Deaf community members.
• Support existing interpreting services (Face-to-Face interpreting at full capacity).
• Provide quick and easy access to interpreting services for short interventions.
• Utilise new technologies to improve lives of Deaf individuals and access to services.
• Allow service providers to enhance provision, improve their customer service and meet compliance or statutory obligations in a more cost efficient way.

IRIS is particularly suitable for a range of short assignments where information is exchanged, and for front-line services who wish to increase their accessibility for people with disabilities and particularly for people whose primary language is Irish Sign Language, including

• Phone Calls • Short Meetings • Information Enquiries
• Form Filling • Some interviews • Consultations.
SLIS is seeking to inform future development of IRIS by evaluating this service.

Scope of the project
The objective of the evaluation is: to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the service with respect to its objectives and to assess the value of IRIS to key stakeholders to inform future development.

Aims of the research
The study should focus on IRIS data and practice from 2011 to date.  The study should include a short literature scan on remote interpreting services and the policy context, a review of IRIS practice and data sets from 2011 to 2015 inclusive, a qualitative assessment of effectiveness engaging users and stakeholders, and conclusions and recommendations.
Analysis should provide key messages, implications and recommendations for SLIS and the future development of IRIS.
Researcher requirement

We will require the following information in the tender:
 your track record in undertaking similar research work;
 relevant qualifications;
 knowledge or experience of sign language interpreting or the Deaf community or relevant service development;
 knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research approaches and methodologies;
 a proposal and plan of your methodology and approach to the research which
identifies the lead researcher, demonstrates an understanding of the objectives of the work and supports your capacity to carry out the work within a set timescale;
 an overall project costing including the number of day’s work involved and VAT; and
 name and contact details for two referees.

The successful tenderer will work with SLIS staff.  SLIS will provide a comprehensive briefing to the successful applicant, access to key data sets and literature and will provide support meetings, including feedback on drafts.

Deadline for submission
Thursday, December 10th 2015 by email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by post to:
Sign Language Interpreting Service, Deaf Village Ireland, Ratoath Road, Cabra, Dublin 7.
Shortlisted candidates may be called for interview. 

Pre-application supports.
SLIS is available to provide further detail and information to prospective applicants on budget guidance relating to the quality and scale of project, as well as on prospective project plans, scheduling and outputs. 

For further information please contact
John Stewart,
Sign Language Interpreting Service
Deaf Village Ireland, Ratoath Road, Cabra, Dublin 7.
Ph:  0761 07 8444
SMS: 087 650 6651

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