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Better Communication Action Plan

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made in implementing the Better Communication Action Plan; and if he will make a statement. (305050)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress the Government has made in its response to the Bercow Report on services for children and young people with speech, language and communications needs. (305111)

Following the Bercow review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), the Government published “Better Communication: An action plan to improve services for children and young people with SLCN”, backed by £12 million investment.

As part of the action plan, the Department of Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health have chosen 16 local areas to become SLCN commissioning pathfinders. The 16 pilot areas have been chosen to identify good practice in providing support for children with SLCN through the joint working of organisations such as primary care trusts and local authorities. This will be used to develop a national framework to improve the way services are delivered for children across the country.

Jean Gross was announced as the communication champion on 15 October 2009, and we have established the Communication Council, which met for the first time on 21 September 2009, to support initiatives to improve services for children with SLCN. As communication champion, Jean Gross will raise awareness of the importance of communication, share good practice and lead delivery of a national year.

In addition, the university of Warwick has been selected to lead a consortium delivering a three-year research programme on the cost-effectiveness of interventions and to guide the development of future policy and practice in providing services for children and young people with SLCN.

12 organisations working to support children with alternative and augmentative communication needs have been chosen to share grants totalling £500,000 this year as part of Becta's commitment to provide £1.5 million of funding over the next three years. These grants aim to support delivery and provision of services.