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Services for disabled staff and students

For all general queries from or regarding disabled staff, contact UCL's Head of Equalities and Diversity.

Accessibility guidance notes for lecturers

Accessibility: With making lunchtime lectures more accessible to a wider public, it is important to be mindful of UCL's statutory responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Acts and Disability Discrimination Duty. In summary we must ensure that disabled people can participate on equal terms and are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in relation to people who are not disabled. You will not always know whether there is a disabled member of staff, disabled student, or disabled member of the public in your audience, the onus is on us all to anticipate that there might be and therefore make adjustments to make the lectures as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Further information can be obtained from the following web links:

Alternatively, contact Sarah Guise UCL’s Equal Opportunities Coordinator.

How to find a sign language interpreter

Not all deaf people require the services of a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter and an enquiry should be made so that appropriate language service professionals (LSPs) can be arranged for an interview or meeting. There is a current national shortage of LSPs and you will need to be able to give as much notice as possible, minimally two weeks, to guarantee service provision. The early the booking the greater likelihood of booking the most appropriate interpreter for the assignment.

Interpreters used within the public sector should be drawn from the national register held by the Council for the Advancement of the Communication of Deaf People (CACDP), see This is administered by the Independent Registration Panel that ensures interpreters have relevant qualifications, professional indemnity insurance and an enhanced CRB check. Unfortunately their directory is not freely available but a publicly available directory can be found at

The registered status of these interpreters should be checked. Should you wish to engage with an agency to meet your interpreting needs the charges will be higher but they will be responsible for searching for an interpreter. Currently the Agency Steering Group lists all of the national interpreter agencies that are signed up to provide a minimum quality of service and a list of the agencies can be found at

Once an interpreter is booked they should be provided with preparation materials, these can include an agenda, minutes, meeting documentation, power point presentations, speaker's notes, lecture notes, etc. The preparation enables the interpreters to become familiar with your topic area, the names of people to be mentioned, to read further papers published by presenters and to ensure that they have the appropriate schema for the job. Without preparation interpreters have to make a greater cognitive effort and cannot guarantee a high quality of service. As with any interpretation there will be a short delay between you saying your sentence and this being translated. Allow more time when interpreters are used. Ask the Deaf person where they want to position the interpreter. Interpreters are there to facilitate communication, but remember to speak directly to the deaf person and not the interpreter.

Deaf staff who require an interpreter on a regular basis, should apply to Access to Work to meet the costs , see Deaf job applicants can also get funding from Access to Work for an interpreter to accompany them to a job interview at UCL. All other costs of interpreters should be met by Departments as part of making reasonable adjustments. For further information contact the Head of Equalities and Diversity. Tel: 0207-679-9762

Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL)

The Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council is Europe’s leading research group investigating the communication of deaf people.

With British Sign Language (BSL) and the Deaf Community at the centre of its research focus, DCAL draws from the disciplines of linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience in order to understand how Deaf people communicate in BSL or English, and uses insights from this research to understand human communication in the broadest sense.

Research includes functional imaging studies of language processing, experimental psycholinguistic research on language processing, corpus linguistics, studies of signers with developmental or acquired impairments in BSL (for example, signers with stroke), and research on the learning of BSL by children and adults.

British Sign Language is the first or preferred language of between 50,000-70,000 people in the UK and was officially recognised by the government in 2003. Approximately 250,000 people have obtained qualifications in BSL over the last 25 years.

It is hoped that the research of DCAL will benefit Deaf children and adults by increasing awareness of research, leading to evidence-based practice amongst service providers, offering  research-based input into government policy affecting Deaf and hard of hearing people,and supporting the work of those concerned with human language and communication,

DCAL is a bilingual workplace: 1/3 of staff and research students are Deaf, and all members of DCAL are provided with training in BSL.

For more information about DCAL and its activities, please visit



Last updated: 12th February 2015