What is the Voucher Scheme?
Voucher Pilot Scheme is established to support access to events, services and activities for Irish Sign Language (ISL) users (‘ISL Users’). The pilot voucher scheme is operated by the Sign Language Interpreting Service, funded by Citizen’s Information Board (CIB) to meet Section 9 of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017.
Section 9 of the Irish Sign Language Act, 2017 makes reference to funds to provide and enable access to Irish Sign Language (‘ISL’) to interpreting for ‘social, educational and cultural events and services (including medical) and other activities’, within the territory of the Republic of Ireland.
When is the pilot
The Voucher Scheme commences on June 30th 2021 and applications will be accepted until 30th September 2021, depending on funding.
This 3-month pilot project will enable SLIS to provide the community with access to above services. Applications received in September can access interpreting until 31st October 2021.
SLIS will be responsible for sourcing and allocating interpreters for requests made under the Scheme to SLIS. The interpreting will be provided by a booking agency.
ISL users, or their nominated representative, are responsible for contacting SLIS directly (by post, email, text or via website) to request an ISL Interpreter for a relevant eligible event, service or activity, and provide the necessary details as set out in the application.
Eligible Events, Services and Activities include social, educational and cultural events and services (including medical) and are outlined in the operational process Here.
Events and services arranged by government departments or public bodies are not eligible. Where funding is available from these other sources or schemes, you will be referred to them directly.
How to make a booking?
- SLIS will confirm the booking details for the event with the Users of ISL who made the booking.
- SLIS will liaise with the Agency and will share the following data (explicit consent given by applicant as per Application Form)
- Personal Details
- Interpreter preference
- Assignment Information details (date of event, location, time, details etc.)
- Agency will confirm job with SLIS who will inform the Users of ISL (usually by text) of the name of interpreter(s) assigned to the job.
- Agency confirms job with the service provider (usually by email/phone) of confirmation with the name and number of the interpreter assigned.
- If Agency cannot source an interpreter for an assignment, SLIS will advise Users of ISL and record it as unfilled.
- Advise ISL users of cancellation policy requirements.
*Eligible Events, Services and Activities
Eligible events will include the following, where funding is not already available from other sources:
- Social events, including:
- Community, social and family events and meetings (e.g. residence committees, social club formal meetings, AGMs or committee meetings), social inclusion activities, active citizenship events (including Free Legal Aid meetings e.g. FLAC), social events (including weddings, religious ceremonies of all faiths and humanist services for children and families, including funerals) and community and Deaf sports events.
- Community and voluntary services and activities, charity events.
- Cultural events, including:
- Theatre and shows, tours, community festivals.
- Public services (other than those organised by public bodies) and events, where interpreting is not provided
- Including employability events, public and civic information sessions.
- Educational and training events, including:
- Adult and further education events, once off or short private courses (to be defined).
- Training events linked to employment or job offers.
- Parent teacher meetings and other educational meetings and events.
- Medical events including:
- Prenatal events, private health and medical appointments, including private hospitals, dentists and mental health services.
- Health and wellbeing events, including public health and information events.
This list is not exhaustive. These guidelines will be developed further, with other activities and examples to be specified based on practice and evaluation.
Where not covered by the Reasonable Accommodation Fund from the DSP
Events, Services and Activities Not Eligible
Events, services and activities not eligible include social, educational and cultural events and services (including medical) and other activities where funding is available from other sources:
List of existing schemes for interpreting that are excluded from this pilot include:
- SLIS HSE ISL Interpreters for GP/Primary Care appointments (in response to COVID-19 restrictions, the GP/Primary Care Access scheme is extended to all of the Deaf community until the HSE advises otherwise.)
- SLIS Social Fund (funerals)
- Department of Social Protection – Job Interview Interpreter Grant (JIIG)
- Events organised by public bodies as defined by the ISL Act 2017 that are excluded from this pilot include:
- a Government Department of State;
- a local authority;
- the Health Service Executive;
- a university or institute of technology;
- an education and training board /ETB;
- other bodies as set out by the ISL Act
- All public bodies, including public bodies established under statute, have a duty to do all that is reasonable to provide ISL interpreters when Deaf citizens access services and statutory entitlements, under section 6 of ‘Duty of public bodies’ of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017.
- There is a list of public bodies in Ireland on https://www.lobbying.ie/help-resources/information-for-public-bodies/list-of-public-service-bodies/ for further reference.
How to give feedback
You can provide feedback to SLIS by submitting the User feedback form here.
SLIS may contact ISL user to complete or assist with completing the User Feedback form within 14 working days.
SLIS may contact the interpreter to complete the feedback form within 14 working days of the event.