A number of ready-made phonological assessment procedures have become available to the clinical and educational professions over recent years. It is suggested that the scope of most procedures is unnecessarily narrow; there is no justification for the continuing omission of vowels and prosodic systems from such assessments. The impressionistic transcription on which assessments are based is subjective, imprecise and unreliable. The usefulness of the results, particularly with regard to the measurement of intelligibility and the differential diagnosis of disorders, is much exaggerated. Concern is expressed that clinicians' disillusionment over assessment procedures failing to live up to the claims made for them might lead to a reaction against clinical linguistic procedures in general.