20.7.2012: Value for Money review launched

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Ms Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health & Older People today (20 July 2012) published the Report of the Value for Money and Policy Review of the Disability Services Programme.

The Review recommends a significant restructuring of the Disability Services Programme through:

  • migration from an approach which is predominantly organised around group-based service delivery towards a model of person-centred, individually chosen, supports; and
  • implementation of a more effective method of assessing need, allocating resources and monitoring resource use.

Through this restructuring, the Review points the way towards the achievement of optimal effectiveness and efficiency within the existing substantial resources expended on health and personal services for people with a disability. The Minister has welcomed the recommendations in the Review as providing framework for the development of effective and accountable services and expressed her unequivocal commitment to the model of person-centred supports recommended in the Review.

In the context of delivering a more person-centred service, and in line with commitments in the Programme for Government, the Minister intends that the actions recommended in the Review will lay the groundwork for a system of individualised budgeting, once sufficient analysis of the benefits is carried out in the Irish context and adequate financial management, resource allocation and governance structures are in place to ensure its long-term viability. Individualised budgeting, the Minister explained, is an approach whereby a monetary value is placed on the supports required by the individual to live a fully included life in the community. It may be implemented in many ways, but the essence of individualised budgeting is that the individual is given more choice and control over how the money allocated to meet their needs is utilised. This approach must be underpinned by a standardised needs assessment to ensure fairness and transparency in the way in which funding is allocated.

The Minister commended the Chairman, Mr Laurence Crowley, and the members of the Steering Group, the Project Team and the Policy Expert Reference Group for their sterling efforts in delivering this important report. The Minister also had a special word of thanks for the many service providers, both in the HSE and the voluntary agencies, who co-operated with, and provided assistance to, the Review. The Minister said "Although the Review points to a new way of delivering services we must never forget the debt we owe as a society to the dedication and commitment of voluntary agencies the length and breadth of the country that have provided services for people with disabilities for almost a century. I know that they will now demonstrate the same dedication and commitment in re-shaping our disability services to meet the challenge of providing a more person-centred and outcome-orientated service" said the Minister. She continued "I believe that the statutory authorities, working in partnership with service users, their families and the non-statutory service providers, will prove equal to the challenge. I am confident that by working together we will realise the vision of a more inclusive society for people with disabilities, where services and supports will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual citizen, and not the other way round"

The Minister went on to say "I fully endorse the re-articulated vision and goals proposed in the Review, as an expression of a revitalised and re-orientated Disability Services Programme." "I have asked the HSE to liaise with service providers immediately to commence the process of implementing the recommendations in the Review, in conjunction with my Department." she added.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland intends to review the report closely in terms of its implications for people with neurological disability.

Download the report here


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