DEX used the principles of Best Value as a tool to monitor and evaluate services. We developed methods set down by the government. This allowed us to develop a good practice strategy to be used in deaf mainstream education.

By conducting a Best Value Review we led the way forward for local authorities and health services. This was in line with Best Value statutory guidance, still being followed by local authorities: “The Duty of Best Value is important because it makes clear that councils should consider overall value – including social value – when considering service provision” (2011). In 2000 the whole process of service evaluation was subject to outside audit and inspection.

For our audit we had the support of the Local Government Association, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Audit Commission (IDeA) in identifying seven performance standards which we use to measure good practice.

These standards are based on UK legislation, international guidelines and deaf children’s needs:

  • All deaf children to access Sign/English bilingualism service provision
  • Access a significant deaf peer group and deaf culture
  • All deaf children to have same education as hearing peers and access to hearing children and staff
  • All deaf children to have a positive deaf identity
  • Deaf children to have access to leisure, recreation and cultural activities in education
  • Deaf children to be protected from abuse of rights
  • Establishment and sustainability of a Sign/English bilingual service for all deaf children.

The BVR was assessed by Boyle et al (2007) eminent auditors of public services, as being good practice as it is a deaf-led audit.

DEX wants the government to be accountable to deaf people in the way deaf children are educated.

The Deaf Toolkit: Best Value Review of deaf children in education report is available from Action Deafness Books: