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18 November 2015
We have published a statement of intent to regulate communication and language professionals.
Statutory regulation will protect the public by making it illegal for an unregistered interpreter for deafblind people, lipspeaker, notetaker, sign language interpreter, sign language translator or speech to text reporter to practise or use the title.
Our work towards statutory regulation will build on recent developments, such as the new Code of Conduct and complaints process which have also been published today. The statement explains what we intend to do and who we will work with to do it.
We are holding open meetings to discuss our plans. We encourage deaf and deafblind people, organisations that rely on the services of communication and language professionals, and our Registrants to attend. Please tell us if you are going to come to one of the meetings.
If you are unable to attend one of the meetings, please feel free to send us your comments. We are also happy to attend any meetings you have arranged to talk about the statement.
Our aim of statutory regulation is supported by Action on Hearing Loss, the British Deaf Association, the National Deaf Children's Society and the Royal Association for Deaf People. In a 2014 survey, 67 per cent of communication and language professionals, and 83 per cent of agencies that supply them, also said they supported the aim.
NRCPD currently raises standards and protects the public by holding and promoting voluntary Registers. We check professionals are properly trained to do their job safely and consistently.
If they meet the standard of education and training we think is needed, they can apply to be on a Register. To stay on a Register they also have to do what our Code of Conduct says they have to.
If those standards aren't met, the professional can be removed from a Register. However, currently there is nothing to stop them from continuing to practise.
Huw Vaughan Thomas, our chair, said: "The Board of NRCPD believes statutory regulation is the natural next step towards our mission of protecting the public.
"It is a long term aim, which is why we haven't set a timescale. To achieve it we have to make changes to the way we do things to make sure we are as effective as possible.
"We have begun that process; we have changed the composition of our Board, will soon be publishing a new Code of Conduct and complaints process, and we will be consulting about the requirements for trainee sign language interpreters.
"We also need to make sure we don't stop people finding the support they need. For example, the number of interpreters for deafblind people remains low, so we won't be rushing into anything.
"We therefore look forward to speaking to our regulated Trainees and Registrants, and the individuals and organisations who rely on their services, about our plans."