Quality and Innovation in Voluntary Disability Organisations Highlighted at UL/DFI Symposium

December 12 2013


Media Release

5th December 2013

On Friday the 29th of November in the Pavilion, University of Limerick, the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) and the Enterprise Research Centre, University of Limerick (UL) jointly hosted a symposium focusing on the impact of quality and innovation initiatives in the voluntary, disability and community sector.

This event also highlighted the positive outcomes that can be achieved by implementing quality systems within the providers of services for people with disabilities. Based on post-graduate research in UL, the symposium examined the challenges, opportunities and achievements in this area from an Irish perspective.

Marie Kehoe O’Sullivan, Director of Safety and Quality Improvement at HIQA, presented at the Symposium, highlighting the relevance of the DFI-led PQASSO initiative and other self-assessment tools for organisations as a means of preparing for the implementation of the National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities.

Other speakers at the event included Dr. Ann Ledwith, Director of Continuing & Professional Education in UL, Professor Eamonn Murphy of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in UL, and Dermot O'Donnell and John Dolan from DFI. Prior to the symposium, John Dolan, CEO of DFI stated, “Voluntary disability organisations face a number of challenges in operating effectively within a recession and DFI members are continuing to proactively embed quality within the work that they are doing. In this way can deliver more sustainable and beneficial outcomes for people with disabilities.”

Michael Hennessy, Education Programmes Manager for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Limerick, said “This symposium is the result of the partnership approach between DFI and UL in supporting the development of quality and innovative systems within voluntary disability organisations. The event marks three years of partnership exploring, developing and implementing systems for improved quality across the community and voluntary sector.

This symposium also marked the completion of the UL/DFI course “An Introduction to Quality Management for Community and Voluntary Organisations”. Following on from the success of this course, UL will be running this again in January 2014 and have produced a new course, ‘Innovation for Community & Voluntary Organisations’, geared towards those who are active in the community and voluntary sector which will also start in January 2014.


For further information, please contact:
Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO - 086 8502112
John Dolan, CEO - 086 7957467

Notes to the editor:

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) represents the interests and rights of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society. It embodies over 120 organisations, which support people with all types of disabilities and disabling conditions, as members or associates. 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. Visit www.disability-federation.ie for more news and information.

Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), based in the University of Limerick, is committed to conducting leading edge research on the challenges facing current and next generation enterprises. Over thirty journal publications and more than 120 conference papers have been delivered by researchers at the ERC to date. The University of Limerick (UL) itself is an independent, internationally focussed university with over 12,000 students and 1,400 staff. Its mission is to promote and advance learning and knowledge through teaching, research and scholarship in an environment which encourages innovation and upholds the principles of free enquiry and expression. Particular attention is paid to the generation of knowledge which is relevant to the needs of Ireland’s continuing socio-economic development. UL is committed to research that will enable Ireland to transition towards a knowledge-based economy while supporting the societal implications of such transition. For further information, visit http://www.enterpriseresearch.ie and http://www.ul.ie