7.11.2012: NAI welcomes report on disability services

The National Economic and Social Council have launched a report entitled "Quality and Standards in Human Services in Ireland: Disability Services". The report is the seventh in a series of eight reports examining Irish public services.

The report examines how to drive standards and improve quality in disability services in Ireland. Specialist disability services are delivered to 6 per cent (approximately 50,000) of Irish people with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities. The report highlights the high proportion of Irish people with disabilties accomodated in congregated settings, in comparison with other European countries.

The report outlines the lack of a single regulatory authority for disability services and the lack of a uniform set of standards accross the sector. The report highlights the "excellence and internationally recognised quality provision by some voluntary providers who have brought in their own quality assurance procedures in the absence of any State involvement".

The report notes that the policy context for disability services is changing, with clear recognition that quality assurance is needed and people with disabilities need to more involved in decisions about the services they receive.

In conclusion, the report points to a way forward for Irish disability services, with greater committment to quality, agreement on a set of outcome measures for disability services and policy and increased service user involvement in the design and delivery of services

The NAI welcomes the publication of the report as a key insight into the disability sector and a recognition that many organisations in the not for profit sector have long been committed to the kind of changes now being introduced at policy level.