Children’s secretary Ed Balls and care services minister Phil Hope today announced a £5m package of measures to improve services for children with communication problems.
The money is part of £12m committed by government as part of its action plan in response to Conservative MP John Bercow’s review of services for children with speech, language and communication needs, published last year.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department of Health have selected 16 pilot areas, who will receive £2m between them to identify good practice in supporting this group of children. This will inform a new national framework to improve provision across the country.
Warwick University has also been selected to lead a three-year research programme, backed by £1.5m, on the cost-effectiveness of interventions for children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
The action plan, published in December, included a proposal to recruit a “communication champion”, to support implementation and advise ministers, as recommended by Bercow, “early in 2009″.
But the departments said today that they would only now be recruiting to the post.
The 16 pilot areas are:- Trafford; Walsall; Warwickshire; Worcestershire; North Tyneside; Oxfordshire; Plymouth; Southampton; Hertfordshire; Hounslow; Lambeth; London specialised commissioning group; North Lincolnshire; Devon; Hackney, and Hartlepool.
DCSF/DH launch £12m plan for children with communication needs