Department for Children, Schools and Families

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) Action

The Bercow Review

The Bercow review advised on:

  • the range and composition of universal and specialist services to best identify and meet the diversity of needs and secure value for money within the context of the Comprehensive Spending Review and available resources;
  • how planning and performance management arrangements and effective cooperation between government departments and responsible local agents can be used to promote early intervention and to improve services;
  • examples of good practice in commissioning and delivering services which are responsive to the needs of children, young people and families, and which can be viewed as benchmarks for the delivery of local services across the country.

Specific issues considered by the review included:

  • how the health service commissioning framework ensures sufficient and responsive speech and language therapy services to meet local needs;
  • clarity of accountability and responsibility for planning and service delivery from national to local level across health, social services and education, including joint and consistent priorities;
  • strategic, professional and operational leadership of services;
  • recruitment and deployment of NHS speech and language therapists, particularly those specialising in working with children;
  • analysing good practice in joint working by education and health services, particularly joint commissioning, including needs assessment and design of service delivery;
  • the balance between intervention in the early years and provision to children and young people throughout the age range; including those in vulnerable situations such as those at risk of offending or reoffending;
  • how to further improve workforce skills in Early Years settings and schools;
  • effective provision of assistive and augmentative communication technology;
  • improving support and information for parents and young people;
  • transition to adult services.


Biography of John Bercow

John Bercow graduated from the University of Essex in 1985 with a First Class Honours degree in Government.

Before he entered Parliament, John worked briefly in the merchant banking sector and was a Director of the public affairs company Rowland Sallingbury Casey, then a subsidiary of Saatchi and Saatchi.

John was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for Buckingham in May 1997. He has served as Front Bench Spokesman for Education and Employment and for Home Affairs. In September 2001 he was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. From July 2002 to November 2002 he was Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions. From November 2003 to September 2004 he was Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

In 2005 John was voted both Backbencher of the Year and Channel 4 Opposition Politician of the Year. He received the Health Champion of the Year award in November 2006 for his work on brain tumours.

John is the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Speech and Language Difficulties and has vigorously pursued special educational needs matters in parliamentary speeches and questions. John is Vice-President of AFASIC, a charity which promotes understanding, acceptance, equal opportunities and the inclusion into society of children and young adults with speech and language impairments.


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