Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council are working together, along with stakeholders, to design a new speech, language and communication pathway.  The new pathway will be designed using the Balanced System® Framework, which has been developed by Better Communication CIC.

Why is this needed?

An initial needs analysis was carried out in 2019 which showed that, in Dorset, up to 29,573 children and young people aged 0-18 may have some level of speech, language and communication need.  This figure included a significant number of children whose early language development is affected by disadvantage but who do not necessarily, with the appropriate support within schools and settings, need direct involvement of a speech and language therapist.

It has been shown nationally that children and young people who continue to have SLCN needs can go on to have further issues as an adult.

What is the Balanced System® Framework?

The framework is an online set of tools and templates which are used to help improve the commissioning and delivery of services to meet the speech, language and communication needs of children and young people.   It looks at the whole system involved in providing speech and language support, including parents/carers, early years providers, schools etc.

The framework is designed around the five areas of:

  • supporting children and young people and their families with appropriate information
  • adapting environments to support SLCN
  • developing the whole workforce to support SLCN
  • supporting systems to enable identification of SLCN
  • providing appropriate intervention to meet need

These five areas are then divided into 3 levels of intervention:

  • universal (available for everyone)
  • targeted (including those interventions that need the direct involvement of a speech and language therapist as well as those that have already been set up and are continuing within the setting with involvement by setting staff)
  • specialist (will require the use of specific techniques and a highly skilled practitioner to be closely involved)

For more detailed definitions of the Universal, Targeted and Specialist interventions please click HERE

Please click on the link to see examples of the Levels and Interventions

What do we hope to achieve?

  • Improve the joint commissioning of speech, language and communication services in Dorset.
  • Improve access to speech, language and communication services for children and young people and make sure they are sustainable for the future.
  • To develop a system that is focused on early prevention.
  • To develop the wider workforce with the skills, knowledge and confidence to support the speech, language and communication needs of all children and young people.
  • To develop a system that makes the best use of specialist speech and language therapists.