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Agreed Joint Statement on the Irish Sign Language Voucher Scheme February 2024

Content of the Joint Statement

The scheme can continue to be delivered past 20 February

The Department of Social Protection, the Citizens Information Board (CIB), and the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS), have restated their shared commitment to the delivery of the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Voucher Scheme, while all parties have agreed a pathway forward in order to continue the delivery of the Scheme.

Following a meeting chaired by the Department on 13th February, the Department, CIB and SLIS reaffirmed their respective commitments to the ISL Voucher Scheme and recognised its vital role in supporting members of the Deaf community to fully participate in society.

In addition, CIB and SLIS, who have been charged by the Minister of Social Protection to deliver the ISL Voucher Scheme in line with Section 9 of the ISL Act, 2017, have agreed a pathway forward to allow the Scheme to be recommenced as soon as possible.

As part of this, both parties have agreed to abide by the existing terms and conditions set out in the recently agreed Service Level Agreement between SLIS and CIB, which includes obligations in relation to Public Procurement Guidelines and financial controls, including DPER Circular 13/14 – Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds. This agreement also includes the acceleration by SLIS of the current procurement processes underway to continue to deliver the ISL Voucher Scheme on a long term sustainable basis.

The Department notes the considerable funding and resources provided by CIB to SLIS since its establishment as a CIB Service Delivery Company in 2007, and the steady significant increase in these resources to date; as well as the important services that SLIS has in turn provided, particularly in relation to its operation of the Irish Remote Interpreting Service.

The Department is confident that the above agreed pathway will be implemented by CIB and SLIS as soon as possible so that the Voucher Scheme will continue as it is a service which is a high priority for CIB, SLIS and the Department of Social Protection.

As previously stated, the Minister and the Department are fully committed to the ISL Voucher Scheme, and value its role in supporting inclusion and participation in the deaf community.

This agreed pathway means the scheme can continue to be delivered past 20 February.


Statement by the Department of Social Protection, SLIS and CIB