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On 11 June 2019 the Children’s Commissioner for England published We Need To Talk: Access to speech and language therapy. The report examined spending by local authorities and clinical commissioning groups on speech and language therapy for children aged 0-17.

The report’s findings included:

  • Over half (57%) of areas in England saw a real-terms reduction in reported spending on speech and language therapy over the last three years.
  • Enormous variation in reported spending between areas in England, with the top 25% spending at least £16.35 per child, and the bottom 25% spending 58p or less per child.
  • Only 50% of areas are jointly commissioning speech and language therapy services, despite the expectations of the Children and Families Act.

While the findings paint a bleak picture, the publication of the report presents an opportunity to take action to improve support for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.

The RCSLT centrally will be using the report and its findings in our policy and influencing work nationally, but it also represents a unique opportunity for you to influence locally to support better services for children and young people, and their families and carers, in your area.

Inspired by members who have already contacted local decision makers about the report, we have produced some resources to support you to take that action:

Members may also find our guidance on local influencing useful (please log-in before clicking on the link).

Members may also find the Government’s responses to parliamentary questions useful, including the Government’s acknowledgement that it ‘recognises that speech, language and communication skills are a primary indicator of child wellbeing.’ The questions can be accessed here.

Please let us know how you get on 

Contact caroline.wright@rcslt.org and peter.just@rcslt.org to tell us how you have used the report and supporting resources. You can also contact us if you would like any further advice or support.