Leading a Trust’s first foray into the political scene to ensure all children’s communications needs are met in schools.
The Communication Trust (TCT) works to highlight the importance of speech, language and communication across the children’s workforce and to enable practitioners to access the best training and expertise to support the communication needs of all children. It is funded by the Department for Education and other funders, and was founded by BT, Afasic and Council for Disabled Children and I CAN. There are more than 35 voluntary and community groups that contribute to the work of the Trust. The Trust approached Whitehouse shortly after being formed with a view to undertaking some activity to introduce the organisation to relevant policy makers.
Whitehouse has worked to build awareness of TCT in Westminster through a programme of activity including arranging events in Parliament and briefing parliamentarians ahead of relevant debates. Whitehouse has also supported the Trust’s policy work by contributing to relevant government consultations and select committee inquiries.
Working with Whitehouse, TCT has formed a broad base of parliamentary support and has drawn upon this support to raise key issues with the Government and highlight the need for improved support to assist in the communication needs of all children. This has helped ensure that speech, language and communication needs are at the top of the political agenda with an independent review being conducted. Whitehouse also helped build up the Trust’s profile in Whitehall and this led to the organisation being featured as a best-practice example of third sector collaboration in the Office of the Third Sector guidance on consortium building.
In response to John Bercow MP’s review of services for children and young people with SLCN, the Government accepted a recommendation for a National Year for Speech, Language and Communication to take place 2011. The Trust was appointed by Jean Gross and the Office of the Communication Champion to manage and deliver the National Year of Speech, Language and Communication, and Whitehouse is now working with the Trust to ensure the National Year is a success.