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Commissioning for Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN): Using the evidence from the Better Communication Research Programme


The Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP) was a three-year programme of research involving a collective of academics across a number of institutions1.

The BCRP team included:

  • Professor Geoff Lindsay, CEDAR, University of Warwick
  • Professor Julie Dockrell, Institute of Education, University of London
  • Professor James Law, University of Newcastle
  • Professor Sue Roulstone, Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit and the University of the West of England

This core team represents expertise in the field of speech, language and communication from the perspective of educators, psychologists and speech and language therapists.

A considerably wider team collaborated on elements of the research programme and added expertise in economics within health and education systems as well as specific expertise in key disorders of speech, language and communication.

The BCRP team have written, and continue to produce, scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals about specific areas of the programme.   A useful article summarising the programme provides an accessible overview 2. This digest will not reproduce this summary information but rather will focus on the application of the findings to commissioning of services to support children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)3.

The aim is to support commissioners to apply this evidence whether the commissioner is a specialist health commissioner, Local Authority commissioner, representing a Clinical Commissioning Group or indeed an individual school. It is not intended as a generic guide to commissioning for SLCN. 

Other more general resources which commissioners may find useful include:


This digest may be of interest to parents or young people with personal budgets however Symbol UK has produced a complementary digest specifically for parents 6.