What Works?
  • What is What Works?

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  • Who is What Works for?

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  • Why should I use What Works?

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  • How do I use What Works?

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  • How do I submit an intervention?

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  • Get involved in What Works

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  • Understanding the evidence base

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  • The SEND Code of Practice

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  • Glossary of terms

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  • What Works Training Database

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Information for commissioners

The What Works website contains evidenced based information and research in a simplified format on speech and language interventions. The aim is to support practitioners and commissioners of services by providing information and evaluation of individual programmes for children with speech, language and communication needs, which is important to support best practice and achieve positive outcomes for children.

However, there is a health warning in using the resource; it's important that these programmes are not seen in isolation, but are viewed as part of a coherent evidence based model of service delivery. There is growing evidence around the importance of such models to ensure long term positive outcomes for children.

For more information about how this can work in practice, please click here to find out more about our Talk of the Town programme - a whole-school, multi agency approach to supporting children's speech, language and communication. You can also find out more by visiting Step 3 of our Communication Commitment and viewing the services our Consortium offer in the 'Go further with our expert support' section.

Commissioners may be interested in using What Works to assess individual interventions alongside the guidance below which offers best practice in the commissioning services for children and young people with SLCN:

Better Communication: Shaping Speech, Language and Communication Services for Children and Young People
Written by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and Jean Gross, former Communication Champion. This publication explains a range of approaches to commissioning by people working across budgets, professional disciplines and geography to shape better services for children and young people. It should be required reading for anyone shaping universal services for children and young people and those making provision for children and young people with additional needs. You can access the report here.

SLCN commissioning tools
Will help commissioners and service providers to improve both the system and services to achieve better outcomes for children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties. Please follow the links below to view an introduction to the tools, then the tools themselves, which have been developed by the Commissioning Support Programme.
1. Introduction
2. Needs assessment
3. Whole system mapping and design
4. User involvement and consultation
5. Workforce planning
6. Evaluating outcomes

Two Years On: final report of the Communication Champion for children 
Based on findings from an extensive programme of meetings with local commissioners and service providers across England, undertaken between January 2010 and December 2011. Jean Gross met with 105 out of the 152 local authority / NHS Primary Care Trust pairings in England and as a result has made 30 recommendations to Government, local authorities, the voluntary sector and schools on the future of speech, language and communication services for children. To download the report, please click here.

Schools as commissioners 
The Communication Champion has developed a document which gives general advice for schools on commissioning services for speech, language and communication. Please click here to view.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice have developed a guide on commissioning speech and language therapy services. Please click here to view.

Commissioning national services for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) provision in England
The following documents on commissioning national services for AAC provision in England are published by the Office of the Communication Champion and Council:

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Quality Standards
These standards documents, published by Communication Matters, aim to describe national good practice and principles for people who need and use AAC services:
- AAC Services Standards (August 2012)
- AAC Quality Standard for Commissioners (September 2011)

You may also be interested in case studies of what a number of areas are doing to support the SLCN of children and young people. These case studies have been developed through the work of the former Government's Communication Champion and can be viewed here.