Continuing professional development is a requirement for all speech and language therapists.

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Workforce development


Transdisciplinary working

Practice-based scenarios

Our practice-based scenarios cover a broad range of subjects you may encounter in your professional life. Each scenario provides a work-based problem for you to consider and is designed to prompt discussion.

They can be done on your own, with colleagues or in groups, for example as part of a Hub or CEN.

Within each scenario you will also find links to key resources, areas of professional practice and HCPC standards.

Frequently asked questions

What is my responsibility for tasks that I have delegated? The definition of formal delegation is:

The allocation of work from a registered SLT to another member of the SLT workforce (registered SLT, student SLT, SLT assistant (job titles may vary for this position see Glossary of terminology).

As the registered practitioner you have a legal responsibility:

  • to have determined the knowledge and skill level required to perform the tasks within the work area
  • to assess the competence of the person to whom you are delegating
  • to ensure that an appropriate level of supervision, support and feedback mechanism is in place related to the task(s)

You retain accountability for the delegation, monitoring and ensuring that the outcome of the task is up to standard.

The SLT assistant is responsible for working within their level of competency and is accountable for accepting the delegated task and for his/her actions in carrying out the task.

This is providing that:

  • the SLT assistant has the skills, knowledge and judgement to perform the assignment.
  • the delegation of task falls within the guidelines and protocols of the workplace.

For more information go to: What is delegation

What is the difference between delegation of a task and assignment of a task? If a task is delegated to someone, they are responsible for undertaking the task while the registered practitioner retains accountability for the task.

If a task is assigned to someone both the responsibility and accountability for the activity passes from one individual to another.

What is the difference between responsibility and accountability? The main difference between responsibility and accountability is that responsibility can be shared while accountability cannot.

Being accountable not only means being responsible for something but also ultimately being answerable for your actions.

The reablement workers in our AHP team offer support across the professions.

What is my responsibility for tasks delegated to them?

As the registered practitioner you are accountable for the SLT activities delegated even if you do not have line management or overall supervisory responsibility for the individual to whom you have delegated.

This may include accountability for training, support and monitoring of the reablement workers and liaising with direct supervisors to ensure that appropriate support and guidance is provided to complete those tasks delegated.

I delegated a task to a health care support worker in our team which was inadequately carried out, leading to a complaint being made by the service user’s family who thought that the activity should have been undertaken by a registered member of staff.

Am I professionally liable and will my insurance cover it?

It is important that when SLT activities are delegated this is communicated effectively and documented so that all concerned understand the rationale and the anticipated positive outcomes for the service user. View Principles of Delegation (Word doc) more information.

As the registered practitioner you are professionally accountable for the activities of support staff to whom you have delegated. They will have responsibility for ensuring they are working within their own scope of practice.

Where an issue of inadequate competence arises the SLT has a duty to follow this up with the support worker and their line manager through their line management arrangements and other organisational procedures. Further training may be deemed suitable or it may be that the support worker is given another task where competency is not in doubt / assured.

RCSLT insurance provides full cover against 3rd party actions and legal defence costs, for all members whether a fully certified therapist or associate member providing appropriate support and supervision is available and accessed regularly. See here for more information.


  • Students who are members of RCSLT do have professional indemnity insurance as part of their membership.
  • NQPs working in their first SLT job will also have insurance cover as part of their RCSLT membership.
  • Graduates working as SLT assistants, in a paid role, will have insurance if they hold associate membership of RCSLT.
  • Graduates undertaking voluntary work will not have professional indemnity insurance cover and should ensure this is in place through the volunteer agency prior to working.
I am already stretched in my working day.

How can I justify prioritising supervision for an SLT assistant over seeing service users?

RCSLT recognises that competing priorities can often endanger the regularity of supervision, in particular direct contact with service users. But as an essential component of a good quality speech and language therapy service is that potential risk can be identified and managed and is an effective supervision for all staff supporting this process.

This has been highlighted in a number of recent health service reviews, for example, the Winterbourne View Hospital final report includes a recommendation that service providers “should provide effective and appropriate leadership, management, mentoring and supervision” (DH, 2012, p. 54). As the registered practitioner you are responsible for ensuring adequate supervision is in place, and ultimately are accountable for the tasks undertaken. The RCSLT Supervision guidelines recommend the frequency and duration for all practising SLTs and assistants are the same, regardless of experience – every 4 – 6 weeks together with managerial supervision and ongoing support as required.

Collaboration with education staff
I am a NQP with 28 schools and so can only see the children a couple of times a year.

Can a teaching assistant be expected to perform the job of a therapist?

Activities can be delegated to TA’s within their own scope of practice and the RCSLT guidelines on delegating tasks.

The registered therapist retains accountability for any tasks delegated and ongoing monitoring and support of the TA to ensure that any changes to treatment are addressed as required.

I am an experienced SLT who has delegated therapy carryover tasks to a learning support assistant (LSA) in a school.

On returning to school to outcome the therapy, I find that they have not completed the task at all, and have not informed me.

What can I do?

This can be a key area of difficulty when delegating to a member of staff who you do not have supervisory responsibility for. It is important to know the managerial and supervisory structure in which the LSA operates prior to asking them to undertake therapy carry over tasks.

Then if it not possible to resolve a matter between yourself and the LSA directly, you can contact those responsible for management and supervision to discuss the matter further and try to overcome any barriers to effective implementation

How do you arrange successful delegation of therapy carry over tasks in school? RCSLT recognises that this can be difficult to do, however, good practice indicates:

  • Negotiate and work jointly with SENCO and/or class teachers to identify staff members (and/or parents) who are willing to and have the time to carry out therapy tasks.
  • Arrange demonstration sessions (at least one plus observation and feedback on the other person’s delivery of the task) with the staff member/parent.
    • Ensure they understand the aims and reasons for the tasks, and expectations for how often to complete them.
  • Review/monitor the staff member/parent’s completion of tasks, whether with a record sheet, home-school therapy book, or observations.
  • Provide routes to access support/advice if concerned Link to relevant case studies when available.
Delegating to students
I am an SLT who is supervising a student on a role emerging placement in a service without an onsite SLT in place.

What is my responsibility for tasks that they undertake?

Delegation of work to student SLTs needs to happen within the frameworks for supervision of students detailed by the HCPC and individual Universities.

RCSLT recognises that role emerging placements may challenge the traditional approach to supervising a student as the student may have day-to-day support and management by a non-SLT or non-AHP.

The supervising SLT retains responsibility for the caseload.

In cases of role-emerging placements where there may not be an SLT on site, the supervising SLT, service provider and higher education institute need to establish clear lines of accountability and supervision prior to the placement taking place. Any agreements need to include consideration of:

  • delegation of duties specific to that setting
  • any risk management and safeguarding matters
  • how competency is to be evidenced and assessed
I am a student on my last placement before graduating.

What should I expect in terms of tasks delegated to me?

Clinical education requires that you be given opportunities to develop competencies in all areas including assessment.

The appropriateness of delegation will depend on your level of training and will typically be addressed in University placement documentation available to you and your supervising clinician.

If you have concerns around delegation – either being given too little or too much – you should address this with your University and the supervising clinician.

I am an NQP working in an SLT team working with highly experienced SLT support staff in the community.

I don’t feel confident to delegate tasks to them.

What should I do?

Discuss required levels of competence for a task and your concerns with your supervisor.

You may wish to increase your confidence by undertaking a CPD activity e.g. complete the Flying Start module on delegation.

Discuss their levels of skills, knowledge and experience with the staff themselves.

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