UK-wide Policy

UK-wide Policy

Policy and Public Affairs at the RCSLT

The RCSLT’s Policy and Public Affairs (PPA) Team works to protect the interests of those with speech, language and communication needs, alongside those with eating, drinking and swallowing needs. It also promotes the voice of the speech and language therapy profession, in parliaments and assemblies across the United Kingdom.

We work with both our members and decision-makers to help improve policy in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as internationally.

This is achieved by offering:

  • Insight into key issues affecting people with communication and swallowing needs.
  • Intelligence regarding national policy developments relating to speech and language therapy.
  • Voice to promote and communicate the viewpoints of of speech and language therapists at both a national and local level.
  • Campaigning resources to promote the value of speech and language therapy.
  • Capacity building to support our members in influencing locally.

Find out more about the work of the PPA team in both the UK and internationally:

If you would like to know what the Policy and Public Affairs Team does for you, this flyer (PDF) will explain it all.

PPA Team Impact Report

Read about the impact that the PPA team has made over the past few years:

Inclusive communications overview

Promoting and implementing inclusive communication

Because people communicate in a variety of different ways, it is imperative that the lived environment supports this. By adopting inclusive communication, societies can show how they value, respect and include people with communication support needs.

Promoting and supporting the implementation of inclusive communication is a priority area for action in the RCSLT strategic plan, 2015-2018, with a new position paper (PDF) published in September 2016.

Our aim is to highlight:

  • What RCSLT means by inclusive communication and why its implementation is vital.
  • Professional, regulatory, legal and human rights reasons why you have a responsibility, wherever you work, to promote and support the implementation of inclusive communication at individual, service and population levels.
  • Evidence and resources you can use in collaboration with others to make sure inclusive communication is put into practise.

Read more about inclusive communication

Unfortunately, due to the current formatting of the RCSLT website, we are unable to make these webpages as accessible as the authors’ content suggests. The RCSLT is currently undertaking a major review of its website and will address these accessibility issues.

Other relevant sections on RCSLT website

See also the RCSLT Policy Twitter handle @rcsltpolicy.

Communication Access UK

Inclusive communication for all

Communication disabilities affect millions of people. Up to 14 million people in the UK (20% of the population) will experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives, with more than 10% of children having a long-term communication need.

Communication Access UK is an initiative, developed in partnership with charities and organisations, that shares a vision to improve the lives of people with communication difficulties.

Led by the RCSLT, the partnership includes:

Together, we’ve developed the Communication Access Symbol; a new disability access symbol underpinned by a completely free training package and standards. We hope that these will help you, and your businesses or organisations, to better support people with communication difficulties.

The impact of communication disability

Communication does not simply concern the ability to speak but, also, the ability to hear and understand what is being said.

The impact of communication difficulties and disabilities is varied; some people may find it hard to ask a question, name an object or ask for help, while others may have speech difficulties that make them difficult to understand.

Other people may have problems processing information, as well as difficulties with reading and writing. Some may use communication devices and require time to create their message.

Communication disabilities leave millions without a voice, denying them equality of access and opportunity.

A symbol for equality

The Communication Access Symbol has been developed to identify businesses and organisations whose staff have undergone training to help them to better support the needs of people with communication difficulties.

Businesses and organisations whose staff have taken the training will be accredited as communication accessible and will be permitted to display the Communication Access Symbol.

Anyone can sign up to Communication Access UK and complete the free training, from corporate businesses and large organisations to local shops and individuals.

How to get involved

To learn more about the initiative, or to sign up, visit the Communication Access UK website.

The partnership

The Communication Access UK steering group is chaired by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and comprises the RCSLT and the following charities and organisations:


APPG on Speech and Language Difficulties meeting, July 2017

The work of No Wrong Door, North Yorkshire County Council’s model around ‘Rethinking care for adolescents’ was the theme of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Speech and Language Difficulties meeting on 12 July 2017.

The presentation about No Wrong Door (PDF) was delivered by Janice Nicholson, No Wrong Door’s Group Manager, and Anne Elliott, the Professional Lead for Speech and Language Therapy at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

Learn more about No Wrong Door via the organisation’s leaflet (PDF) and storyboard (PDF).

The Department for Education has also recently published an evaluation of the No Wrong Door Innovation Programme (PDF), undertaken by the University of Loughborough.

The key findings of the evaluation include the estimated cost savings associated with the work of the communication support workers (speech and language therapists), to carry out speech and language assessments and provide support to meet speech, language and communication needs, is just over £300,000 per annum.

For more information, please contact us.



Browse a series of factsheets that detail how speech and language therapy transforms lives in different settings and clinical areas.

SLT work settings

Speech and language therapists work in the following settings:

  • Education – mainstream and special schools.
  • Justice – courtrooms, youth offending teams, prisons, young offenders’ institutions.
  • Health – community health centres, hospital wards, outpatient departments.
  • Children’s centres.
  • Day centres.
  • Care and residential homes.
  • Clients’ homes.
  • Independently/in private practice.

Speech and language therapists work with babies, children and adults:


  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties



For those with communication or eating and swallowing problems following neurological impairments and degenerative conditions, including:

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