Decision details

Speech and Language support for education settings across the Early Years and Primary Sector

Decision Maker: Director of Education, Skills & Early Years

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


A decision is being sought to request approval for an exemption from the Contract Procedure Rules to make a direct contract award to the Kingfisher Learning Trust to deliver training, support and coaching for the Better Communication Team.
The Kingfisher Learning Trust is unique in having a member of the team from Oldham who completed DfE Early Years Professional Development Tutor Champion, alongside other elements of trained trainer for other programmes such as Making it REAL that are delivered in Oldham including Sign Along, which are integral to the coaching and support as part of the Better Communication Team
This report seeks approval for an exemption from the Contract Procedure Rules to enable a direct contract award to be made to the Kingfisher Learning Trust for their specialist expertise to support the Better Communication Team in Oldham by providing specialist coaching and training to improve outcomes for children in Oldham in speech, language and communication


The Kingfisher Learning Trust also has in depth knowledge of the education system in Oldham and existing relationships with the early years sector, which is critical in enabling them to work at pace with the high levels of speech and language needs in Oldham and increased pressures on the core Speech and language service with lengthy waiting lists.
The programme of activity available from the service provider complements the SALT services which are being delivered by NCA under a contract with the CCG by increasing capacity, thus securing a consistent and cohesive offer to schools and early years providers.

Reasons for the decision:

Option 1: Approval for an exemption from Contract Procedure Rules to enable a direct contract award to be made to the Kingfisher Learning Trust.
This option poses limited risk to the Council as this is a specialist service not known to be provided by another organisation that has a proven track record of providing coaching and training as part of the Better Communication Team. Any emerging risks will be managed through formal contract monitoring processes
Option 2: To obtain 3 quotations as per Contract Procedure Rules.
Officers are not aware of any additional providers of the required service.
This option poses a risk to the council as the specialist expertise is specific and delaying the process with implications on timeframes and establishing strong relationships, causing delay to the needs of Oldham children’s speech and language when there are already long waiting lists with the core speech and language service
Option 3: Not to provide specialist support within the Better Communication Team
This poses a risk to the Council places pressure on an already stretched service with implications on Oldham children having increased delay in seeking support for their speech and language needs

Alternative options considered:

Not extending the contract or delays poses a risk to ensuring the role of BCT and providing support

Other reasons / organisations consulted

Speech, language and communication are crucial to every child’s ability to succeed in life, vital to the development of children’s health, emotional and social well-being and educational achievement. The first five years of life, when brain development is most rapid and children are most open and receptive to new experiences, is crucial to the development of speech, language and communication. Studies have shown that during this critical period, young children learn to communicate and develop language by participating in warm, responsive interactions with important adults in their lives such as parents, carers and early years practitioners.
Speech and Language Therapy Services (SALT) for children, young people and adults are currently delivered in Oldham by Northern Care Alliance under a contract commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Contact: Rachel Peterson, Learning Support Apprentice Email: Email:

Publication date: 01/02/2024

Date of decision: 27/11/2023

Effective from:

Current call-in Count: 0

Accompanying Documents: