The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has accused local councils of operating a “culture of secrecy” around a second wave of cuts to local services which it says could put deaf children’s futures in danger.
In its new Stolen Futures report, the charity claims that 49 councils have broken the law by not providing information about their budgets for deaf children’s support. None of the councils planning cuts this year could provide an assessment of the impact of reductions in specialist support services on deaf children, as required under the Equality Act. Two thirds of councils were unable to provide information about when budget decisions were being made and how families could participate in them. Two thirds of councils also failed to provide a clear picture of the social care support they provide to deaf children, the report argues.
A statement from the charity says that “one quarter of England’s councils plan to cut vital support for deaf children this year”. One fifth of councils are planning to cut educational support for deaf children, and 16 areas have confirmed cuts to speech and language therapy services.
“For a second year, deaf children across England are seeing the support they rely on to learn and communicate taken away”, says Jo Campion of the NDCS.
Ms Campion also criticised the Government saying its ambitious reforms for SEN support “are inconceivable given the reality of local cuts”.
The NDCS has called on ministers to hold local councils to account over cuts to services. It has also launched a petition with the aim of forcing a parliamentary debate on specialist services for deaf children.
To download the Stolen Futures report or to sign the petition, visit: