The government has received a report that proposes a universal solution, by 2024, for people who are hard of hearing, deaf, deafblind and aphasic.
” All French people must have access to public services, without distinction “said the Minister of Transformation and the Public Service, Amélie de Montchalin. And precisely, at the end of the interministerial disability committee of February 3, 2022, the Prime Minister became aware of a report on telephone accessibility adapted to deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind and aphasic people, which leads to several proposals. Because the observation is unanimous: telephone accessibility is not apprehended in a homogeneous way between the public and private services concerned.
Missing solutions for deafblind and aphasic people
The report was entrusted to Jérémie Boroy, President of the National Advisory Council for People with Disabilities (CNCPH) and Anthony Colombani, CSR, Public Affairs and Communication Director of Bouygues Telecom. It is supposed to suggest avenues aimed at improving the accessibility obligations incumbent on actors such as telecom operators, large companies and public services, as required by the law of October 7, 2016.
Jérémie Boroy and Anthony Colombani report a fragmented landscape and a real complexity of use for users with these disabilities. They also point the finger at too little demand from the telephone relay centers of the operators and an almost non-existent communication on the systems in place, in addition to the partial absence of solutions for deafblind people, and downright total for people with aphasia. Accessibility to public services also suffers from serious shortcomings.
On the strength of the report’s findings and proposals, the government, mobilizing the Ministry of Transformation and the Public Service and the State Secretariats for People with Disabilities and the Digital Transition, announced the implementation of a universal solution for telephone accessibility by 2024.
The State wants to regain control and fill short-term deficiencies
The government’s target solution will allow people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind and aphasic, estimated by the state to be around one million, to call and receive calls regardless of whom they call. They will benefit from live interpretation, in sign language, in completed spoken language or from a text transcription. The user will thus be able to use the supplier of accessibility solutions of his choice, who will be remunerated accordingly. This target solution will come to life thanks to shared governance between operators, public services, large companies and user representatives. Companies subject to this project will be able to join the universal solution or offer their own accessibility system.
The ministries also announced various actions that will help improve the existing situation, such as the creation of a directory of public and private services that are already accessible. This will simplify the call process for users and relieve congestion in the telephone relay centre. In April, a business plan for telephone accessibility will also be published, which will meet the human resources needs of the various players.
The State has also formalized the strengthening of the responsibilities that weigh on large companies. The list of those who do not respect their accessibility obligation will be published, for example, and the government does not refrain from sanctioning them in a second step. The State promises, by 2023, the launch of the first stage of development of a solution adapted to people with aphasia.
” Lastly, the ministers undertake to seek, as soon as possible, the conclusion of an agreement with the operators of the telephone relay center making it possible to guarantee the management of calls to public services which have not already brought themselves into compliance by offering a accessibility solution “, concludes the State.