'We need to talk' report into access to speech and language therapy is published

News - 12 Jun 2019

Anne Longfield OBE, the Children's Commissioner, commissioned this report after hearing frequent comments about the difficulty of accessing speech and language therapy (SaLT) and the variation between different parts of the country.

The report finds that there is 'enormous variation' in spending on SaLT, constituting a 'postcode lottery' of identification and support. The amounts spent per child in a local area vary from £0.10 to £55.48, with a median spend of £8.02, and although overall there has been a small increase in real terms spending of 2% per child, this masks the fact that 57% of areas saw a reduction. This is due to a small number of high-spending authorities.

There are also differences between how SaLT is funded, with only 50% of areas reporting joint commissioning between health and local authorities. The table on page 18 illustrates the differences in LA spends between regions, with the East Midlands spending £0.34 per child and London spending £7.29.

The report recommends a renewed government strategy on addressing speech, language and communication needs, with funding to support it; the strategy should include:

  • making sure areas are held to account for SaLT support,
  • requiring all areas to have a joint strategic plan in place, and
  • enabling and sharing best practice.

 

Download the report.

 

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