Newsletter August 2012

Issued on August 13 2012

Value for Money & Policy Review – Overdue and Incomplete, but Welcome

Twelve years ago, in 2000, the Government officially adopted the policy of “mainstreaming”, the inclusion of people with disabilities in everyday life and in all public services. The National Disability Strategy (NDS) further embedded this policy objective, four years later.

Although people with disabilities, and their voluntary organisations, have actively promoted the implementation of mainstreaming, public services haveoften been slow to respond. This has been the case for health and personal support services which, of course, are critical to enabling people to get on with their lives. The Value for Money & Policy Review, which examined HSE disability services, has now made explicit the purpose of those services:

"The following vision statement should be adopted as an expression of a revitalised and re-orientated Disability Services Programme:
“To contribute to the realisation of a society where people with disabilities are supported to participate to their full potential in economic and social life and have access to a range of quality personal social supports and services to enhance their quality of life and well-being.”
[Recommendation 7.6]

Unfortunately, the Review was unable to evaluate, against this vision statement and related goals, all of the services and supports delivered under the Programme, because key information was lacking. In particular the many community-based activities offered by voluntary organisations, such as family and peer support groups, self-management plans, help lines, etc, were not examined.

The Review would have been much stronger if it had considered what was needed for communities to be effective in welcoming and including people with disabilities. It is understandable, therefore, if people are cynical about the Review. Is it a cost cutting mechanism in the middle of the recession, or a sincere attempt to improve the lives of people with disabilities? Action taken over the coming months will answer these important questions.

Meanwhile it is in everyone”s interest to study the Review. It contains many recommendations,including information reporting, operational auditing and needs assessment, which will affect all organisations funded under the HSE Programme. DFI stands ready to support people with disabilities and the voluntary sector to make the most of the opportunities created by this Review.

John Dolan, CEO


DFI Series of Two-day Courses with the Charities Evaluation Service

DFI will host a series of two day courses in 2012 which will be delivered by Consultant Trainers from the Charities Evaluation Services (CES) in the UK, the inventors of the PQASSO Programme. This series, hosted by DFI, is the only one in Ireland delivered by CES.

Course: CAPU training - How to Collect, Analyse, Present and Use Data

This two day training course for community and voluntary organisations will take place on Tuesday & Wednesday, 9th & 10th October 2012, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the DFI Offices, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8

Course Summary

This course will guide you through the next steps to take once you are clear about the monitoring and evaluation information that you need to collect. You will explore different ways to collect information and have the opportunity to carry out basic analysis of data. A range of options for communicating your information effectively will also be examined.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course participants will have:

  • A better understanding of the basic differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches to research and evaluation.
  • A clearer understanding about what information needs to be collected, and how to collect it.
  • More knowledge about the pros and cons of using interviews, focus groups and questionnaires.
  • Increased knowledge of participatory, creative and visual information collection techniques.
  • Ability to undertake simple analysis of quantitative and qualitative data including producing descriptive statistics (e.g., frequencies and averages) and carrying out thematic content analysis.
  • A clearer understanding about what information to present, when, to whom and how.
  • Increased understanding of how to make effective recommendations.
  • Understanding of how to structure and present an evaluation report.
  • Skills to explore ways to get your evaluation findings used both internally and externally.
Is this course for you?

If you are ready to collect monitoring information for your project but are not sure what tools to use, how to analyse the information and how to turn it into an appealing and useful evaluation, this course is for you!


Places are limited so early booking is advisable.

If you would like to register for this course, please email Eleanor Reece on or if you would like more information on the course or on PQASSO, please contact Dermot O”Donnell, Support Officer for Organisations and Licensed PQASSO Mentor on 086-7808639 or by email on

Registration Fee and Terms and conditions

Fee for the 2 days Training course is €275 per place. Tea, coffee, scones, and lunch is provided within the fee. All places will be confirmed in writing.
Bookings cancelled within 5 working days of the training taking place will incur a 50% cancellation fee. Cancellations must be made in writing and cancellation charges will apply whether or not payment has been received. Please note that non-arrival at a course, with or without notice, counts as a cancellation. Bookings may be transferred to another course date.

Please note that DFI reserves the right to cancel any course and in such cases, a full refund of course fees will be made.
For more information, please visit the DFI website here:

Further CES Training in this Series

Implementing PQASSO Tuesday and Wednesday13th November & 14th November 2012
How to Demonstrate Outcomes Wednesday 5th December & Thursday 6th December 2012

HR & Employment Law Update

Adare Human Resource Management provides HR and Employment Law Support Services to a large number of Organisations within the Community and Voluntary Sector. Adare Human Resource Management aims to enable organisations to focus on their core operations, by providing management with the knowledge and support to assist them to deal effectively with people management and organisational change. We support organisations through minimising the risk of exposure to legal challenges by ensuring legal compliance for organisations in their practices as well as policies and procedures.

Disability Federation of Ireland, in conjunction with Adare Human Resource Management, has in place a support structure for member Organisations to avail of discounted Human Resource and Employment Law Support Services exclusively for DFI members.

Unfair Dismissal

The Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007 provide for a number of grounds under which a dismissal may be considered unfair:

  • Membership or proposed membership of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities, whether within permitted times during work or outside of working hours
  • Religious or political opinions
  • Race, colour, sexual orientation, age or membership of the Traveller community
  • Pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding or any matters connected with pregnancy or birth
  • Availing of rights under legislation to maternity leave, adoptive leave, carer's leave, national minimum wage, parental or force majeure leave
  • Unfair selection for redundancy

In order to justify a dismissal an Employer must demonstrate that it either resulted from one or more of the following causes;

  • the Employee”s capability (ability to fulfil the terms of the contract of Employment)
  • the Employee”s competence (performance)
  • the Employee”s qualifications (lack of necessary qualification)
  • the conduct of the Employee
  • redundancy
  • the fact that continuation of the Employment would contravene another statutory requirement

In a case of Unfair Dismissal, the onus is on the Employer to prove that the dismissal was fair. It is of utmost importance to ensure that fair procedures are followed in any dismissal so that the Organisation can ensure that they have a defence should a case be taken against them.

If you have any questions relating to dismissal, do not hesitate to contact us.

For further information on the HR Support Services provided click on the link below: \

New Social Innovation Fund, National Giving Campaign and Taxation Infrastructure to Transform Irish Philanthropy and Fundraising

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, re-convened the Forum on Philanthropy in June last year, and set for it a task to increase the level of philanthropic and charitable giving, along with developing fundraising capacity and best practice across the sector. These and other findings and recommendations are contained in a report by the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising, launched on July 4th in the National Library of Ireland by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, and Minister Phil Hogan TD

The report contains four main recommendations that will be implemented in the next four years. Those recommendations include:

  1. A National "Giving Campaign"- aimed at the public, high net worth individuals and corporates in Ireland to increase their giving.
  2. Improving the fiscal environment and incentivising greater giving.
  3. Developing better fundraising capacity, education and training among not-for-profits.
  4. Creating a National Social Innovation fund – supported by the Government and the philanthropic sector

Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach said that

"The Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising is very much a public private partnership, bringing together as it does the major philanthropies, fundraising groups, and the relevant Government Departments and Agencies, to help shape and refine a strategy to develop philanthropy and fundraising and increase the investment in good causes in Ireland. While the impetus for this initiative has come from the not-for-profit sector, my Government is more than happy to support and help to drive this important initiative…….. That is why I have provided over €1.1million this year to support the Forum”s agenda. The full potential of Ireland”s tradition of giving will now be realised as the culture and infrastructure of Irish philanthropy and fundraising will be transformed over the next four years."

Chairman of the Forum, Frank Flannery said that "The Forum on Philanthropy has set out a target to increase philanthropic giving in Ireland from around €500m per annum to €800m by 2016." He noted that this may sound like an ambitious target, particularly in the current economic climate, but significant scope for growth in this area has been identified, and there is the added benefit in Ireland of a strong culture of support for the whole notion of helping and support for worthwhile causes, and that support from Government, voluntary organisations and citizens will be vital to success.

The Forum has identified a number of areas that can be improved on, and points to the benefits of this more structured approach, by encouraging a system of planned donations which are on average five times larger than spontaneous donations.

New Cloud Computing Data Protection Guidelines

“Cloud Computing” refers to the processing and storage of your organisation”s data, on computers and data centres, located away from your own premises.
Ireland”s Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, has issued new cloud computing guidelines for data controllers in organisations. The guidelines clearly point out that the same issues apply whether data is stored on site or in the Cloud.

The guidelines can be read in full online .

The guidelines include instructions on the level of care that data controllers must take to ensure all precautions are in place to safeguard the security of the data.

"The Data Protection Acts (Section 2C (3)) place responsibility for data security squarely with the data controller who is accountable to the individual data subject for the safeguarding of their personal information. A data controller must, therefore, be satisfied that personal data will be secure if it is outsourced to a cloud provider," the guidelines read.

The guidelines also expand on data location.

"Personal data that is held within the European Economic Area (EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) benefits from a common standard of protection laid down at EU level. When data is transferred outside of the EEA, special measures must be taken to ensure that it continues to benefit from adequate protection," the guidelines insist.

If you would like further information please contact Denis Cadogan, .


New Government Policies

A considerable number of health-related policy documents were released over the last month. A busy autumn agenda can be anticipated for voluntary organisations.
The report of the Value for Money & Policy Review of the HSE”s Disability Services Programme was published on 20th July, . DFI responded with a press release and an initial analysis, While the Review was welcomed, DFI pointed out that areas critical to many people with disabilities were not properly addressed, because of significant information deficits.

The National Carers” Strategy was published by the Department of Health on 19th July. DFI will be consulting with others, such as the Carers Alliance, about the Strategy. The Strategy is available at

The Sixth Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Group for A Vision for Change was published in July by the Department of Health. The Report is available at:

The Report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency, established by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs, was published in July, . Thefindings will have implications for voluntary disability organisations that work with children.

HSE Consultative Fora

The National Consultative Forum (NCF) is actively seeking to implement the new policy direction identified in recent Government documents, while at the same time seeking to stretch resources by maximising on efficiencies. At the meeting of the Forum in July, in addition to considering planning for next year”s school leavers and for meeting the needs of people with complex physical and sensory disabilities, the HSE reported that it was collecting data on the use of Personal Assistant services, as well as other types of home-based personal supports, with the aim of preparing a paper in September.

The NCF advanced its work plan on a number of fronts. It considered how it could contribute, from a disability perspective, to the formation of the Social Care Directorate. It set up a working group on New Directions , the policy report on day services. It agreed membership criteria for the Local Consultative Fora, to be reviewed after one year. The local fora will have limited membership but will have a sub-group attached to them that has an open membership to facilitate inclusion and feedback.
The NCF working group on efficiencies has been developing a toolkit for organisations to identify and progress savings in 2012 and beyond. Realising efficiencies is seen as critical given the demographically-driven growth in demand for services in the context of austerity. The three umbrella bodies have each been working with members to identify savings made, good practice, and potential further savings. DFI will be looking for further information from some members, building on the learning gained at a previously held roundtable, at which several organisations contributed.

DFI and Not for Profit Business Association (NFPBA) Research on Community Based Disability Services

Recent reports on the HSE”s Disability Services Programme are guiding decision-makers on the reform agenda, adopting a very welcome person centred approach to services.

DFI and NFPBA are concerned however, that the analysis of the challenges for reform is based on an examination of only a portion of the health and personal support services on which the population who have disabilities relies. To address this gap in information, DFI and NFPBA have initiated a research project to capture the nature, scope, quality and value of the community based services provided to people with disabilities and their families by voluntary disability organisations. The research will explore the approaches to the provision of services and supports, the specific knowledge, and expertise voluntary disability organisations possess, and the linkages/pathways to mainstream services they facilitate as well as their funding sources. The research also seeks to fill in the gaps in information in terms of the recent Value for Money and Policy Review, in mapping out these community based disability services and demonstrating the value provided by them to people with disabilities.
For further information, contact: Joan O”Connor,

Mental Health Law Reform

DFI attended a conference, "Mental Health Law Reform: New Perspectives and Challenges" hosted by Amnesty International and the Centre for Disability Law and Policy in NUI Galway in June. The conference explored the new challenges and perspectives that the recently published “Interim Report of the Mental Health Act 2001” will bring in the context of reform in mental capacity legislation and Ireland”s signature of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Practical applications from other countries were also discussed on the day.

The State”s signature of the CRPD and the changes required for ratification have now become a key driving force behind mental capacity reform as well as being a key basis for the review of the Mental Health Act. The intention is that Ireland will develop a human rights framework to address issues related to mental health and mental capacity. Some key points arising from the day were connected to the impact of the UNCRPD in the field of mental health, and the challenges that arise in attempting to reform Ireland”s dual model system of mental health law and mental capacity law. In this regard, it was highlighted at the conference that the dynamic between the mental capacity legislation and the mental health amendments may have changed and that capacity legislation is now expected to be the more conservative piece of legislation.
It was emphasised by one international speaker that the altered construction of legal capacity in the UNCRPD should guide mental health reform, and that post CRPD mental health law reform needs to be different from the incapacity driven pre-CRPD approach. The new paradigm of legal capacity (post CRPD) emphasises equality and non-discrimination and that reasonable accommodation and real choice needs to drive mental health law reform. Real choice means the existence of a choice or choices, and involves a State”s optimum performance of its obligation to create choice. In terms of exploring equality possibilities, the need to see the commonalities between persons with and without disabilities was stressed, for example, we all need support and care, but care is more forthright or obvious for people with disabilities. In terms of mental health care, another speaker from Monash University, in Australia emphasised that we need to use the UNCRPD to argue for voluntary treatment wherever possible, with proper supports for people; inclusion of positive rights; and more pressure on governments to provide adequate mental health services. Information: Joan O”Connor,


NDS Implementation Group

The Government has begun to draft a National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan, which is now expected to be completed in the autumn. Drafts are being discussed at meetings of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG), which last met on 18th July. The Group consists of senior officials from a range of Departments, members of the Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG) and representatives from the National Disability Authority (NDA) and the Local Authority Managers Association. It is chaired by Minister Kathleen Lynch TD

Framework for the implementation plan

The framework adopted is based on work by the DSG and the NDA. Four person-centred high level goals are the basis for commitments and for monitoring. The four goals for people can be summarised as:

  • Equal citizens
  • Independence and choice
  • Participation
  • Maximise potential.

Under each goal a number of specific objectives are set. For example under the goal for “independence and choice” an objective is for people with disabilities to have adequate income. Individual departments are to name actions for each objective and the outcome anticipated in leading towards the objective. Performance indicators are to be identified for each action and the responsible entity named as well.

The drafting process

The draft plan framework has only begun to be completed. The draft plan lays out a process that potentially could stimulate the collaborative working that is critical to the kind of supports that enable people with disabilities.Already it is evident that specifying meaningful actions, outcomes and indicators can be challenging.

As a member of the DSG, DFI will be looking for truly progressive actions in the plan, rather than re-articulations of the status quo. We contributed a number of suggestions at the NDSIG meeting in July. We will continue to work with colleagues in the DSG and our members to get as strong as possible an NDS implementation Plan from Government.

National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability - 2011-2016

The National Implementation Framework was published on 20 July and is available at and at . DFI will be involved in this initiative at a national level through representation on the Implementation Monitoring Committee and the HSE”s Congregated Settings Implementation Group, but also at regional and local levels through participation in local fora.

Those interested in the implementation of the Strategy, please contact

Value for Money & Policy Review of HSE Disability Services

The Review, announced in 2008 and published in July 2012, involved an evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of HSE spending under its Disability Services Programme (DSP) as well as a review of the policy objectives behind the Programme. It sets goals for the Programme with which those in the disability sector would strongly agree, namely the provision of person-centred supports that facilitate the full inclusion and self-determination of people with disabilities.

Unfortunately the Review could not determine where Programme funds are being directed to this end and how the inclusion of people was achieved. The fact that HSE data was largely confined to statistics on residential and day services places meant that the investigation mainly centred on traditional services. In this regard the Review recommends changing to a different model that supports living in the community.

DFI is calling for further work to be done, pointing out that many people with disabilities and their voluntary organisations are already embedded in the community. Government action to increase their capacity and recognise their role is critical in our view.

The Review includes many recommendations which will affect organisations, whether they offer traditional or community-based services and supports. Given the information problems the Review encountered, renewed efforts to collect relevant data in a standardised format is at the top of the list. But there are other recommendations aiming to promote efficiency and effectiveness that relate to an organisation”s operation.

The Review and DFI”s initial analysis of it are available on our website, . DFI is developing further ways of assisting organisations to come to grips with the Review and its implications.


Volunteer Ireland Inspiration Days

Do you need a team of volunteers to refurbish your building, transform a garden, or to simply help bring new energy to your community project?

Volunteer Ireland is pleased to announce a new service called Inspiration Days which matches teams of company volunteers with not-for-profit groups for unique and meaningful volunteer experiences. Inspiration Days create a shared ownership of community wellbeing and has positive outcomes for companies, individuals and communities.

Not-for-profit groups can benefit greatly from an Inspiration Day because it can offer the chance to promote awareness of your cause, raise awareness of your activities, acquire new ideas, access professional skills and explore the potential for long-term partnerships with companies and employees.

If you would like to involve a team of ten volunteer employees in your organisation, please contact Volunteer Ireland. If you need support in developing an Inspiration Day, please get in touch, and Volunteer Ireland can help you plan, develop and deliver a day of collaboration and creativity!

More information available from
Annemarie Ni Churreáin, 01 636 9446
E: ,

Approaches to Migraine Management

As one of the key events during Migraine Action Week,the Migraine Association of Ireland will hold a free information seminar in the Ballsbridge Hotel on Saturday 15th September 2012. Sponsored through an unrestricted educational grant from ElectroCore, the event is entitled Approaches to Migraine Management, and takes place from 10.30a.m.until 4.00p.m.

The event will centre on a multi-disciplinary approach to managing migraine—we will have expert speakers before and after lunch, followed by practical workshops in the afternoon.

In addition there will be a number of exhibition stands designed to offer topical and relevant information to migraine sufferers and health professionals alike.

Further information:

Research on Hate Crime Legislation in Ireland

Researchers at the University of Limerick are looking for participants for a study which seeks to map the views of non-governmental organisations, working with groups who are impacted by hate crime, regarding the current state of hate crime legislation in Ireland.

The researchers consider a hate crime to be a criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person”s real or perceived race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, membership of the Traveller Community or disability.

Anyone interested in this research can contact Jennifer Schweppe at

World Blind Union”s Toolkit for the Disability Rights Convention

An easy-to-read guide, on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, highlights features of particular interest to people with visual impairments and their voluntary groups. However it would be useful to others as well.

The publication explains the significance of the Convention as well as the meaning of each of its 33 Articles. There also are links to back-up resources and practical advice on advocacy.

An international perspective is highly appropriate at this juncture when Ireland is moving towards ratification of a Convention that the European Union and most European counties have signed up to.

For further information, please click:

Disability Federation of Ireland ICT Recycling Programme

The Disability Federation of Ireland has made a commitment to pass on out of date or unused computer or electrical equipment so that the life of this equipment can be prolonged and it can be made more accessible.

The Disability Federation of Ireland as part of our ICT recycling programme donated 19 mobile phones to the Jack and Gill foundation. Each year The Jack & Jill Foundation continues to advance its mission of ensuring they have in place the necessary funding needed to care for any baby suffering with developmental delay. Since 1997 they have seen many lives changed for the better and through our ICT Recycling Programme DFI hasnow contributed directly to that change.

The Disability Federation of Ireland as part of its ICT recycling programme also donated 1 Server, 15 Laptops,9 Desktops and 8 Screens to the Rehab Group as part of the Promise it to Rehab programme. In committing to Promise it to Rehab Recycle, DFI are supporting sustainable & meaningful employment for adults with disabilities, and supporting charities, schools, community groups & start up companies with greater access to affordable computers& electrical equipment.


For information please contact the relevant organisation directly


National Office
Fumbally Court Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 454 7978 Fax: 01 494 7981

Dublin Mid-Leinster
Anthony Carrick
Dun Laoghaire, Dublin South East, Wicklow (Dublin Office),
Mobile: 086 8206736

Louise McCann
Dublin South City, Dublin South West, Dublin West, Kildare, West Wicklow (Dublin Office)
Mobile: 086 9189750

Jacqueline Grogan (Dublin Office)
Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath
Tel: 01 454 7978 Fax: 01 494 7981

Lillian Buchanan
Support Officer – Policy and Research (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01 424 0127

Joan O”Connor
Policy and Research Assistant,
Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4250121

Dermot O”Donnell
Support Officer – Support for Organisations (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01-4250125

Dublin North-East
Joan O”Donnell
Meath, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan (Dublin Office)
Mobile: 086 3834587

Martin Naughton
Dublin North Central, Dublin North, Dublin West
Mobile: 086 8207196

Michael Corbett,
Galway, Mayo, Roscommon
C/O DFI, 8 Acres Grove, Newport, Co. Mayo,
Tel: 098 41919,
Mobile: 086 3804750,
Fax: 098 41065,


Jennifer Van Aswegen
Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal
Disability Federation of Ireland
Model Niland, The Mall, Sligo
Co Sligo
Mob: 086 3811261

Toni Gleeson,
Limerick, North Tipperary, East Limerick, Clare
DFI, The Forge, Croke St. Thurles, Co Tipperary
Mobile: 086 6004526

P.J. Cleere
Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford
DFI, Tinryland, Carlow
Tel: 059 9179431
Mobile: 086 3811064

Alison Ryan
Cork, Kerry
101 North Main Street, Cork
Tel: 021 4271752 Mobile 086 3816323


The Disability Federation of Ireland ( DFI)represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society. It comprises organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI”s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives.

There are over 130 organisations within membership, or as associates, of DFI. DFI also works with a growing number of organisations and groups around the country that have a significant disability interest, mainly from the statutory and voluntary sectors. DFI provides:

  • Information
  • Training and Support
  • Networking
  • Advocacy and Representation
  • Research and Policy Development / Implementation
  • Organisation and Management Development

DFI works on the basis that disability is a societal issue and so works with Government, and across the social and economic strands and interests of society.
For further information go to
Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4547978, Fax: 01-4547981
Email: Web:

Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities trading as The Disability Federation of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital, registered in Dublin. Registered No. 140948, CHY No 6177