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Scottish AAC Legislation

In 2016, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation which entitles people with communication difficulties to be provided with communication equipment and support. Referred to as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), this equipment includes communication aids and accessories, as well as other non-electronic aids such as symbol communication books and covers children, young people and adults. The duty to fulfil the legislation lies with NHS Boards and Integration Joint Boards throughout Scotland.

The commencement of the law took effect in March 2018.

The legislation says:

46A Provision of communication equipment

The Scottish Ministers must, to such extent as they consider necessary to meet all reasonable requirements, provide or secure the provision of —

  1. communication equipment, and
  2. support in using that equipment,

to any person who has lost their voice or has difficulty speaking.

Find out more from the CALL Scotland blog (March 2018)

The legislation is contained within an amendment to the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 (part 4), which can be viewed on the UK Legislation website.

Guidance, published in May 2018, was written to accompany the legislation, containing an AAC vision, principles of communication and support, practical information and references..

An easy read version of the guidance is available.

A National AAC Pathway was developed, to be read in conjunction with the guidance. This is intended as a reference guide for Health Boards and all services who in partnership across Health, Education, Social Care and third sector deliver the provision of communication equipment and support in using that equipment. This can be cross-referenced with specific AAC pathways implemented by local services.

A Progress Report looking at the implementation of the provisions of the Act relating to Communication Equipment and Support was published in February 2020.