Review of disability policy recommends individualised funding

by Siobhán Kane, Communications and Information Manager, Inclusion Ireland

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The findings of a public consultation process undertaken as part of a value-for-money review of Disability Services were published on 3 December 2010- Some of the main findings include:
— Almost three-quarters (73%) of people consulted felt that the best option for meeting the needs of people with disabilities would be for them to have a choice to get different elements of service from different providers;

— Exactly half of respondents said that people with disabilities should get to choose and manage their own services;

— Many felt that access to services and information about services was not adequate and that there are inequities in how resources are distributed within the system.

— Also published was a summary of the key proposals from a Review of Disability Policy. The policy review, undertaken by an Expert Group, was commissioned to inform the value-for-money review of Disability Services, which is due to be completed in 2011.

Inclusion Ireland CEO Deirdre Carroll was part of the Expert Group. The Expert Group proposes a reframing of disability services towards a model of individualised supports, underpinned by mainstreaming of all public services. State funding would be allocated based on an independent assessment of individual needs. Following the needs assessments, individual support plans would be drawn up and individualised budgets allocated from which the supports and services needed would be purchased. A number of mechanisms are proposed to achieve this, including direct payments or a broker system.

It is expected that the full report of the Expert Group will be the subject of a formal consultation process in the first half of 2011. All documents are available through Inclusion Ireland’s website www.inclusionireland.ie