Current Issues

December 1 2002, 09:02am


European Year of People with Disabilities

2003 has been designated the European Year of People with Disabilities. During the year EYPD 2003 thousands of events will be carried out throughout Europe to promote the rights of more than 37 million people with disabilities and to raise awareness on the barriers daily faced by disabled people in society. The themes adopted for the year by Ireland are:

  • Awareness
  • Employment
  • Rights, Responsibilities and Partnership
  • Youth and Disability

At the National Co-Ordinating Committee Meeting of October 12th it was agreed that the Chairperson would establish sub-committees to progress the four themes and to manage the work of the NCC. DFI is represented on the National Co-Ordinating Committee and on the Rights, Responsibilities and Partnership (RRP) Sub-Committee by John Dolan. One of the tasks of the RRP has been to identify and award grants to suitable initiatives and projects which emerge from the Public Sector under the theme of 'Rights and Responsibilities' which can be co-ordinated with the committees work.

The EYPD is an opportunity to celebrate diversity. It is an opportunity to challenge the barriers that prevent people with disabilities participating fully in all aspects of society. DFI has a working group on mental health. The group meets bi-monthly and offers organisations an opportunity to network together and to find common ground on issues of concern. The group are currently working towards a Government review of mental health policy.

Disability and Ageing

DFI are working with Age Action Ireland to identify the wide range of issues relating to disability and ageing. These issues include

  • How prepared are our current systems of services planning and delivery for an ageing population of people with disabilities?
  • Do people require different health and social services as they age with a disability?

Local Government Reform

Following on from a presentation on Local Government Reform at the DFI AGM 2002, DFI are compiling a report entitled

"Engagement between the Disability Sector and Local Government." (Link to DFI CDB Report)

National Standards for Disability Services

The National Disability Authority and the Department of Health and Children have published "Draft" National Standards for Disability Services (LINK) (January 2003). It is intended that the national standards will apply to disability services for children and adults with autism, intellectual, physical and/or sensory disability, funded by the Department of Health and Children and provided by both statutory and non statutory agencies.

The proposed standards will more than likely have implications for organisations in relation to governance, structure, organisation, management and operations.

Following on from a consultative meeting on Friday 31st January 2003 in Tullamore the National Disability Authority held further regional consultative meetings in Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Galway.

Further information is available from the National Disability Authority, 25 Clyde Road, Dublin 4, tel. 01-6080400 or e-mail

DoHC Draft Code of Practice for Sheltered Occupational Services

In April 2000, the DoHC established a Working Group which was tasked with developing a Code of Practice for Sheltered Work. This Working Group has been established with in the context of Framework III (paragraph 23, page 101) of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness which states that the DoHC will set up a Working Group to prepare a Code of Practice for Sheltered Workshops. This Code has addressed workplace conditions and relations, and specifically contractual status and remuneration. DFI has submitted responses draft Codes of Practice for Sheltered Occupational Services which were circulated in May and July 2002, and have yet to see the following issues addressed.

Personal Development

The pursuit of opportunities for further education/development has a direct or indirect cost associated with it, which must be acknowledged. Where will the extra resources come from?

Occupational Allowance

A consultation process with stakeholders is necessary to arrive at an agreed rate for a Sheltered Occupational Allowance.

Disciplinary Procedures

If it is implied that a person can be terminated from a Sheltered Occupational Service, there are extra resources required, which might not always be able to be provided through the service provider. How will they be supported outside the programme?

Financial Management

There is a responsibility on the funder to pay fully and regularly. A service contract should be agreed between service provider and funder.