Harrow Council has become the second London borough to sign up to the British Sign Language Charter.

The British Deaf Association charter aims to improve life for deaf people by removing direct and indirect discrimination.

It also aims to empower deaf people as well as increasing awareness of British Sign Language (BSL) and deaf issues.

At the civic centre on October 15, several councillors including leader Cllr David Perry, council chief executive Michael Lockwood and BDA chairman Dr Terry Riley signed the charter witnessed by council representatives of the different services and from the borough’s community groups.

The authority already has a strong partnership with the deaf community and has recently worked with Harrow United Deaf Club to introduce British Sign Language videos on the council’s website signposting where they can access services.

Harrow United Deaf club was formed in June 2009 by its now President Asif Iqbal, and provides support and assistance to the deaf community.

Asif Iqbal, club president, said: “I am pleased that the council has signed-up to the BSL Charter especially in the BDA’s 125th Anniversary year.

“HUDC has been working closely with the council for some time to help make services more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing residents.

“I also applaud the council for making progress in meeting the pledges of the BSL Charter, including the recent launch of new BSL information videos about Harrow Council’s services.

“HUDC are looking forward to helping the council to implement the BSL charter."

Harrow Council will now look to further improve and make services more accessible to the deaf community by implementing the BDA’s five pledges:

• Ensure access to information and services

• Promote learning and teaching of BSL

• Support Deaf children and families

• Ensuring staff can community effectively in BSL

• Consult with local Deaf community regularly