About us

About us

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Hello, we’re the RCSLT

We’re the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), the professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK.

Our mission: To enable better lives for people with communication and swallowing needs.

How do we do it? By facilitating and promoting research, producing guidance, holding events and influencing government. We promote better education and training for speech and language therapists, and provide information to our members and the public about speech and language therapy.

Our vision: A society that is inclusive of all with communication and swallowing needs.

Our values: Commitment, innovation and ambition; active accountability; strong and empathetic leadership; active engagement; Respectful, collegiate yet challenging.

Diversity and inclusion: We are committed to equality, inclusion and creating better lives for all. To learn more about our journey to becoming an anti-racist profession, see:

Our history

In 1944, the Association of Speech Therapists and the British Society of Speech Therapists teamed up to create a brand-new professional body, the College of Speech Therapists (CST).

The CST aimed to promote the study of speech therapy in the UK and unite all members of the profession.

King George VI is known for having received speech and language therapy for his stammer. He was so impressed with the work of his speech and language therapist, Lionel Logue, that in 1948 he became the CST’s first Royal Patron. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, took up the role after his death, becoming Patron in 1959.

In the 1990s, when speech therapists added ‘language’ to their titles and the CST was awarded the right to add ‘royal’ to its title, we officially became the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

In 2003, HRH The Countess of Wessex took over as the RCSLT’s Royal Patron, continuing the historic relationship between speech and language therapy and the royal family.

Read more about the history of the RCSLT and the profession in a series of articles by Jois Stansfield, emeritus professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Our values

Our values are at the centre of our work and guide all of the RCSLT’s actions.

  1. Commitment, innovation and ambition: to deliver on the RCSLT mission, purpose and vision.
  2. Active accountability: to ensure continual innovation, improvement and delivery to members and to the profession.
  3. Strong and empathetic leadership: to actively pursue inclusiveness, diversity and fairness across the profession, within the membership body and within our organisation.
  4. Active engagement: to promote transparency, integrity, open communications and to maintain trust and confidence.
  5. Respectful, collegiate yet challenging: to be curious and open-minded about the views of others and how change can benefit the RCSLT and the profession.

Our core behaviours

We’ve developed 16 core behaviours which describe the actions and attitudes of our Board members and form part of our work to be more inclusive and diverse.

The behaviours go further than our values – they are the actions which help to make the values a reality.

Our Board members:

  1. Understand and are committed to values of the RCSLT Board.
  2. Understand and are committed to the mission, purpose, vision and objectives of the RCSLT.
  3. Work collaboratively and establish good working relationships.
  4. Are motivated and enthusiastic and able to convey this to others.
  5. Take responsibility for actions agreed.
  6. Are able to actively support the diversity and inclusion agenda in a concrete manner.
  7. Use judgement and common sense in making informed decisions.
  8. Act with transparency and integrity and manages personal conflicts of interest.
  9. Are able to identify risks and threats to the RCSLT and help seek out a consensus on appropriate action.
  10. Question and challenge when necessary to further Board understanding and develop problem solving.
  11. Demonstrate consistent attendance at Board meetings.
  12. Are always prepared for meetings; read Board papers in advance and are prepared to engage and ask questions.
  13. Are able to work effectively with other Board members of varying experience, backgrounds and perspectives.
  14. Contribute actively and facilitates discussion to develop ideas.
  15. Communicate clearly and openly in order to secure understanding.
  16. Undertake learning and development to improve trustee skills and is aware of own strengths and weaknesses.

Our strategic vision

The RCSLT Strategic Vision: 2022-2027 is our roadmap for the next five years. It outlines our main aspirations and areas of strategic focus.

Our aspirations

  • Inclusive communication for all
  • A more diverse, inclusive and representative profession, with equitable access to culturally appropriate provision for service users
  • Explicit recognition of health inequalities, social disadvantage and the profession’s role in working to counter these
  • Championing the value and impact of speech and language therapy
  • Co-production with service users, their carers and families
  • Better funding and resources for the profession, with a focus on staff health and wellbeing
  • Innovation and excellence in research and clinical practice, and a stronger evidence base, including for telehealth and digital inclusion
  • Properly funded senior and specialist roles, clear career pathways, and strong multidisciplinary team working
  • Being an outstanding organisation that empowers its members to lead

Our main areas of strategic focus

  • Equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Co-production with service user partners
  • Funding and recovery following the pandemic
  • Innovation and excellence in research and clinical practice
  • Developing the speech and language therapy workforce
  • Championing the value and impact of speech and language therapy
  • Empowering members to lead the profession
  • Organisational excellence

Download the Strategic Vision

We have also produced a communication accessible easy read version with the support of RCSLT members and service users.

This accessible format presents our vision in a way that is easy to understand. It defines key words and uses pictures to support the text.

You can download the easy read format in PDF or Word format.

It may be helpful to have support when reading this document.

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