25 05, 2018

Partner Bulletin 19 – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

By |May 25th, 2018|Categories: Advice, Partner Bulletin|0 Comments

If you’ve been lucky enough to not receive the daily stream of emails regarding the General Data Protection Regulations that are coming into force today, 25th May, then well done for keeping yourself unplugged.

A big thank you to everyone who got back to us on our GDPR correspondence. If you are yet to respond please check your inbox for correspondence from

Click here to view our privacy policy.

What do you need to know as a Freelancer?

  • You have a personal responsibility to be aware of the changes and impact of GDPR.
  • You must ensure any personal data that Clarion UK shares with you is handled with care and used only for the purpose it was shared.
  • No personal data should be passed on without the consent of the client through Clarion UK.
  • Any breach of Clarion UK data must be reported and passed on to the Data Protection Officer Sarah Beaumont within 24 hours of the breach occurring.

How can you prepare for GDPR as a Freelancer?

  • Review the data you currently have – Is the data you keep necessary and secure? If not, it’s time to securely delete the information.
  • Plan a data audit check so you know what data you have stored, this is also important in case data is lost or stolen so you know what data to report as a breach.
  • Do you have the correct software to prevent against viruses?
  • Do you share a computer with family members? Is your freelance work kept secure and password protected?
  • Are your passwords secure and changed regularly?
  • Do you use a private VPN when in a public space?

Is it all really necessary?

The GDPR will affect and apply to anyone who collects data from UK/EU citizens. The Information Commissioner’s Office will want to see that as a small business/freelancer you can demonstrate what you have put in place to protect personal data held.

We are all involved in having our data processed and knowing that everyone is doing their best to be transparent and clear is the best policy!

If you have any questions regarding GDPR please don’t hesitate to contact me at
01763 207903

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19 03, 2018

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Free CPD training for Assessment Centres

By |March 19th, 2018|Categories: Advice, Deaf Education, Services|0 Comments

“No sales pitch, please” – The Clarion Approach to Training

Earlier this year, we were approached by a Needs Assessment Centre who asked us for “Not a sales pitch” but instead a “Warts and All” story, consisting of:

  • An accurate portrayal of a student’s journey with us.
  • An honest account of what it’s like for us as an agency.
  • Our ultimate aims and ideals for specialist provision, compared to the reality of the situation.

They told us that their staff already knew about specialist provision so they didn’t need to be told again and that they were tired of hearing the same slick pitches that had very little substance behind the hype. What they really wanted was to meet us, and hear the true (carefully redacted) stories. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Throughout Winter, we have been rolling out this new approach to training for Needs Assessment Centres and it’s gone down very well. Personal feedback from individual Needs Assessors has been invaluable. One example:

“This was a great end to the week and really refreshing not be sold a product, but to get some honesty. You made us all laugh as well.”

If you would like us to pay a visit and share your students’ authentic journey once they finish their studies, ‘warts and all’, we would be more than pleased to do so. Alternatively, we would also be proud to present our more traditional training for working with students who are Deaf and hearing impaired, just no slick pitches, we promise!

If so, please get in touch.

Sally Chalk 

Chief Executive Officer


Tel: 01763 209001

Mobile: 07976 939122

For more information visit:

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22 03, 2017

Public Sector Contract Rates are unsustainable. Discuss.

By |March 22nd, 2017|Categories: Advice|1 Comment

We are the leading BSL interpreting agency in the UK, delivering over 140 BSL assignments per day. Pressure from all sides, rising IT costs and customer demands can prove incompatible and, indeed, deadly as several agencies are currently discovering. This has a massive and painful knock-on effect to the self-employed interpreter or small agency who sit at the end of the supply chain.  With big numbers, comes big data though and we think there are few things we can do to make sure we get the recipe right in these challenging times.   Here are the main ones:


Know your numbers. Know what you need to supply a contract, what it’s going to cost, what might go wrong, what cashflow you need and what the risks are and then from this comes your price. It’s as simple as that.


Have a pyramid. This gives you a mixture of low priced work (but lots of it), medium and high price (but very bespoke and specialist) and it makes sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.



Walk away from contracts that are too low. They will cause you endless sleepless nights and stressful days. All that work for no gain that can’t be used for growth, training or development just makes people and organisations sad.


Treat your interpreters and other suppliers well; with clear guidelines, clear expectations, swift communication, respect for reasonable terms and conditions and pay them on time. There is no reason not to and if you can’t, it’s a sign you have something quite fundamental wrong in the business.  We don’t get it right 100% of the time, but when we don’t we try and fix it quickly.  An interpreter friend said to be yesterday


“Any large organisation who is prepared to hold firm on BSL T&Cs are a god-send”. How hard can it be?


Provide exactly what your clients want and give them extra sparkle. They may want speed and 100% fulfilment or a local, friendly, flexible company or one that is  technically innovative and at the cutting, bleeding  edge of the 21st century. Whatever it is, make sure that is your USP.


Keep your overheads low, low low. No vanity projects, no concrete, steel and glass monuments to ego and no six figure salaries.   Given the processing power and applications available on an Iphone 7, you could use it to run a small agency at a cost of £600. Recent companies that have gone under had very healthy profit margins of 30 or 31% with recruitment agencies running at 20- 25%.  You can see that it was not the tender price that was too low but something else that was too high.  Luxurious overheads is one of the key reasons why companies go bust, with poor public sector tendering as only one of the contributing factors.


It is possible to do public sector contracting with integrity, if it’s done rigorously, professionally and with scruples.


17 10, 2016

Counselling service for all our suppliers

By |October 17th, 2016|Categories: Advice, British Sign Language, Legal|0 Comments

From experienced practitioners to brand new interpreters, we will support you.

We have had a free counselling service in place for two years now, but we wanted to make sure that everyone knows about it.

It exists to make sure that people who are involved in Clarion UK bookings that are sensitive, complex or challenging are supported afterwards and are not left with unresolved or uncomfortable issues that may impact significantly on their private or professional lives.

Who is it for? It is available for anyone who supplies us with a service; whether on a freelance, associate or staff basis. You may be a BSL/English Interpreter or Communication Support Worker, a Speech to Text Reporter, CEC, trainer, Lipspeaker, Deafblind Interpreter, or Deaf Interpreter or foreign sign language interpreter.

How can I make sure they are right for me ? We have set up 3 different categories of counselling service. You may have a preference for someone who

  • can provide face to face or remote support, or
  • is outside the profession or also a BSL/English Interpreter or
  • is hearing or Deaf.

We have also set the list up to provide coverage for the UK.

The list is approved by us and only includes counsellors that are fully trained and accredited.

What are the next steps? Please remember that good and effective counselling is very linked to personal preference and ensuring a “good match”. A good strategy is to talk to three and make a choice depending on how you feel the conversation went.

If you want to see our UK wide list of counsellors or have more questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with Lorna or 01763 207906, or Sally on or 01763 207905.

Jill Guest

Jill Guest, Counsellor, MBACP,  South West London.

11 12, 2015

7 Top Tips for Making Police Stations Accessible for Sign Language Users

By |December 11th, 2015|Categories: Advice, British Sign Language, Legal, Sign Language, Video Remote Interpreting|1 Comment

Visiting a police station can be stressful enough for hearing people, but for the Deaf, the processes can be bewildering.  Here are our 7 top tips for making visits as friendly as possible for Deaf users:

  1. Use an interpreter

    Communication is key! It is extremely important to use an interpreter who is suitably qualified (Registered Sign Language Interpreter, they are easily identified by their yellow registration card accredited by NRCPD). If the booking is long, the language issues are complicated or the offence is serious then two interpreters are needed.

  2. Use an intermediary

    If the victim is vulnerable, it is recommended that an intermediary is used. They can help with making sure that full access is achieved. There is a specialist Intermediary service for witnesses and victims who are Deaf sign language users.

  3. Use Video 

    It is advisable to video all interviews and witness statements – if speech is not used then the evidence is seen and not heard.

  4. Face the Deaf person

    You are communicating with the Deaf person, therefore, you should always face and speak directly to the Deaf person, not to the interpreter – the interpreter is only there to facilitate communication.

  5. Take it in turns to speak

    It is not possible for the interpreter to interpret when more than one person is speaking, therefore, try not to speak over others so as to make communication as clear and efficient as possible.

  6. Remember that the interpreter is always neutral

    The interpreter’s job is to facilitate communication made both ways. Interpreters are neutral and not permitted to not give advice or offer opinions.

  7. Be aware of interpreters Code of Conduct

    Interpreters work within a strict professional Code of Conduct, this can be found on the NRCPD website here.

Your Responsibilty:

Under The Equality Act 2010, service providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people, including those with hearing impairments, do not have serious difficulties using their services.

Want to know more?

Clarion are available 24/7 365 days a year and we are happy to discuss any queries that you need discussing/clarifying at any time. We provide British Sign Language interpreters and other communication services across the UK – to find out more about this provision and how we can help you, please visit the services page on our website.

You may also wish to learn more about our new innovative service, Video Remote Interpreting, that aims to break down day-to-day communication barriers in a cost effective way – visit our Video Remote Interpreting page or contact Beth on 01763 207907 or via email.

24 08, 2015

Access to Work – How to Complain

By |August 24th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, Advice, British Sign Language|0 Comments

Are you are having problems with Access to Work? These might be:

  • You are unhappy with your award/review decision
  • You have emailed but have not had a response
  • You have received your award from AtW but you feel the hours are not enough
  • You feel that you are not being ‘heard’ as a Deaf individual

You may find this article useful – here is the formal process to complain:


It is worth appealing; it is important that your voice is heard!

For more detailed information on all thing Access to Work, visit Darren Townsend’s website where you can find a wealth of information in BSL and written English.

If you have any questions at all about Access to Work, whether you are in work, an apprentice, self-employed or looking for work, please get in contact with Bob who is a Deaf BSL user and we will be more than happy to help via Skype call or email.

23 06, 2014

Observing sign language interpreters in court, not as easy as you’d think!

By |June 23rd, 2014|Categories: Advice, British Sign Language, Legal, Sign Language|2 Comments

Guest blogger, Terese Weiss, Clarion Staff Interpreter, tells us her tale:

As a BSL interpreter with a free afternoon in town, what better way to spend it observing colleagues working in Court from the public gallery – and to boot gain a bit of an insight into Court processes involving deaf people? Well, so I thought. As I discovered, there are many different ways to attempt just that, some more enjoyable than others. Had my sign language interpreter hat been on, perhaps I would have prepared better and made less assumptions; but it wasn’t. So, I dallied along to the Public Gallery assuming I would simply swan in by mere virtue of being early. What followed had nothing to do with any amount of swanning but a lot of waddling and paddling in circles – and I am as of yet to make it into the actual Gallery.

Approaching the outside entrance, two queues had formed, one left one right. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a lawyer by his toe… I went left and waited. And waited. Then a door at the front opened and let in the left queue. Family and relatives only! Felt like I had been denied access to an exclusive nightclub by the bouncers and had to leg it over to the ever growing queue on the right. More waiting. I struck up a conversation with a few people in the queue, all legal secretaries in training, and all bent on seeing a murder trial. ‘The more victims the better’, one added matter-of-factly. The rain must have made them particularly morbid, rather excusable as it was a foul day, but thought perhaps another time I would pick a sunny day to go to the gallery all the same.

Eventually the queue slow-motioned itself forward within the promise of the door. Only then can you see the notice informing you that no phones are allowed into the court. Now it was my time to become morbid and flap around for good measure. Eventually some kind soul told me I could go down to the nearby travel agency and deposit my phone, at a cost of course. So, few minutes later I was back at the end of the queue again, and waited and waited. When eventually in and past the security (less the water just bought) there was an intriguing hullabaloo about which courtroom to go to. The security man thought no. 12, 14, 15 or maybe even 1, his colleague was adamant it was 7 – unless it was 2. I was sent onto another two clerks whom came up with their own mismatching series of lotto numbers. Calls were made, the plot thickened. At any rate I was at the wrong side of the building and would need to go back out and reenter at the back of the building. Then it transpired that the session I wanted to observe had gone into ‘legal discussion’ and might only last a short time – or not.

So, I legged it back out of the rabbit-warren and found the apparently right entrance. Again, I was frisked airport style. This security lady was more assiduous. My emergency ration of 5 peanuts were confiscated, no reclaim later. Holding up a small bag, she asked: ‘is this chocolate?’. There was no point denying the fact, I admitted guilty as charged. As it happened it was very expensive chocolate. More specifically, it was very expensive chocolate I was not prepared to part with against the mere possibility of perhaps not even getting to the gallery before today’s session was over. Claiming it back, I was informed I could wait outside till the perhaps soon session end, in case I wanted to at least catch the interpreters afterwards. By now it had started to rain, but I chanced it, waiting again but at least comforted by not-perhaps-but-definitely one too many helpings of the chocolate.

The discussion went on longer than (perhaps – or not) expected. In the end I simply gave up and drowned the whole misadventure in a pot of tea in the nearest cafe. Mulling over the attempt, I thought I did at least get some insight into the court’s running. In fact, I might even have another stab at it next time a work gap allows… or not!

Learn more about court approved interpreters

24 04, 2014

7 Signs You Should Invest In BSL Interpreting

By |April 24th, 2014|Categories: Advice|0 Comments

How do I know I need an interpreter?

  1. You get complaints from your deaf customers. An Interpreter is someone bilingually trained, skilled and qualified who can translate quickly and efficiently between spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL). As a rule, BSL interpreters should be used whenever there is something to communicate that is significant or carries a high degree of risk. Say, for example you run an opticians and carry out an eye test with a BSL user, you then decide not to use an interpreter and as a result, the prescription is wrong. One, very cheesed off customer is the result and a complaint that will cost time and money to fix.
  2. Your customers start thinking they might want to sue you. Organisations and businesses have a duty, under the Equality Act 2010 to make sure that their services are accessible to all. If the adjustment needed is reasonable – not too expensive and time consuming relative to your organisation’s size then it’s a good sign you should make that call.
  3. Your customer base is growing smaller.There are over 145,000 Deaf people who use sign language to communicate in the UK. Shops and services that provide deaf awareness training, a friendly welcoming atmosphere and interpreters when it is necessary are tapping into pool of people that might potentially walk through their door and spend their money with you. Unfriendly and discriminatory practice just gives people the hump and they walk away.
  4. Your commitment to diversity and inclusion is challenged. Most companies have a corporate social responsibility agenda. It might not be critical to supply an interpreter at training courses, media events or conferences if the audience is 100% hearing, but if you do they will be perceived by the public as being warm and inclusive organisations that will listen to them, value their differences and make them feel involved.
  5. You get threatened with employment tribunals. Access to Work is a £80 million per year government fund that makes sure your deaf and disabled employees get the support they need at work. BSL interpreters can be provided for staff meetings, training events, 1:1 supervisions or large corporate events. This means that your employees are aware of company strategy, are able to do their job to the best of their ability and feel included in the office gossip. If access to information about their job is missed, it makes you, as an employer, vulnerable.
  6. Your customers can’t talk to you. The internet has breached walls in terms of access for Deaf people through Skype, Facebook and ooVoo. If you supply services over the phone or the counter, why not provide an interpreter remotely? It’s cheap, clever and quick. What more could you ask for?
  7. Your patients bring their children to interpret for them. Deaf people sometimes take their children to critical hospital and doctor appointments as evidenced by Matt Dixon here. Not only may they get the message wrong but more importantly, think of the pressure the child is under to pass on sensitive, personal, inappropriate or sad news.  

Link to BSL Interpreting and Communication

6 03, 2014

Let’s be clear about Speed Awareness

By |March 6th, 2014|Categories: Advice|0 Comments

The National Speed Awareness Scheme aims to reduce the speed at which people drive by altering attitudes to excessive speed. And Deaf and hard of hearing people get caught speeding too.

Clarion supplies highly trained communication professionals who give full access for Deaf people who choose to attend a Speed Awareness Workshop rather than take points on their licence. This is under the umbrella of our legal services desk that span courts, solicitors, victim support, witness care teams and now Speed Awareness Courses.

We have an established network of experienced BSL interpreters across England and Wales with extensive knowledge of the training materials. This means that Deaf drivers are not only educated about the dangers of speeding, but gain a better appreciation of the consequences of driving beyond the speed limit.

At a local level Clarion works in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and with national Speed Awareness Provider TTC-UK to provide BSL/English interpreting services. And we’re delighted that Terri Bethell, TTC-UK’s Trainer Liaison Officer has this to say about us:

“I cannot praise Clarion enough – you’re friendly, polite and always willing to help…the service from Clarion is always to a high standard……..”

Whether Deaf or hearing, if you have any questions we can answer them or maybe you have concerns or worries about access and would like some no-cost advice . If you want to book and get a speedy response, then all it takes is one call to 01763 209001. Have confidence – our 98% fulfilment rate speaks for itself.

7 02, 2014

Fraud in the workplace

By |February 7th, 2014|Categories: Advice, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

Fraud and Protecting Yourself

Fraud affects everyone – introducing the measures we have taken at Clarion to protect our customers,  our interpreters and our communication professionals. 

Following concerns of fraudulent activity by organisations and individuals we spent time at the beginning of the year making sure all our policies and procedures were watertight.  Directly after this in March 2013 we consulted with DWP, Capita Translation and Interpreting, other BSL agencies as well as our BSL/English interpreters and policy advisors.  Publication of our anti-fraud policy followed shortly after and this was sent out to all our interpreters and communication professionals. It is designed to protect all parties from the fraudulent and dishonest actions of others and primary principles include

“You must have, and be seen to have, the highest standards of honesty, propriety and integrity in the exercise of your duties”

It also has information about our whistle blowing policy that has been in place since 2003 and continues by giving readers information on what to do if they are concerned about fraud; whether on a large or small scale and what reporting arrangements exist.   There is a really clear message about what should be reported and a very strong call to action.

“We provide a range of services in often difficult, volatile and constantly changing circumstances, for which we rely on others to deliver and receive in an open, transparent and honest manner. We have a duty of care towards our clients, funding agencies, employers, colleagues and the profession we work with to uphold the highest of professional standards”.

Critically, if a person wishes to make DWP aware of any activity that they are worried about they can contact any of the DWP support units. Contact details are here:  If you are interested further, have questions, would like to see the full policy or would like to talk about how we could work with you to address concerns, please contact Sally Chalk at <a href=“”></a> or on 01763 209001.