2010 Annual Review

Issued on June 1 2011

Published June 2011








Acronyms contained within the document
AcronymFull Phrase
CEO Chief Executive Officer
CIB Citizens Information Board
CIL Centre for Independent Living
CMS Critical Mass Sites
DFI Disability Federation of Ireland
DSG Disability Stakeholders Group
EASPD European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities
EIT Early Intervention Team
EU European Union
HIQA Health Information and Quality Authority
HR Human Resource
HSE Health Service Executive
MPP Management Performance Project
MDP Member Development Programme
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
NAI Neurological Alliance of Ireland
NDS National Disability Strategy
NDSSMG National Disability Strategy Stakeholders Monitoring Group
NFPBA Not for Profit Business Association
NPSDD National Physical and Sensory Disability Database
NSAI National Standards Authority of Ireland
PQASSO Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations
PWDI People with Disabilities in Ireland
UN United Nations
VFM Value for Money


Chairperson’s Report

DFI’s Annual Plan for 2010 stated that ‘The year ahead will be challenging for our member organisations. Our experience last year has led us to understand that we need to be more assertive and directional in relation to providing supports to our members.’

In implementing our 2010 Annual Plan we were acutely awareof the importance of planning and monitoring our own activities, to ensure that resources were used optimally to support member organisations, and to protect and promote continued progress on the implementation of the National Disability Strategy at local and national levels.

Funding for voluntary disability organisations, both statutory and independently raised, was decreasing cumulatively throughout the year. Budget 2010, the National Recovery Programme and, in particular, the Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2008 – 2011, were prompting major changes along with the impact of the Charities Act 2009 and the greater emphasis on good governance. Fundamental questions were raised for organisations in terms of how best to position themselves to provide services and supports for people with disabilities.
In the face of considerable uncertainty, especially about funding during the early months of the year, DFI has vigorously implemented its two-pronged approach to promoting a society that is fully inclusive of people with disabilities. On the one hand we pursued every avenue available to policy makers and practitioners, highlighting the acknowledged priority for disability policy as well as the excessive burden imposed on people when disability supports and services are not protected. As we drew towards the end of the year there was a pressing danger that there would have been deep cuts to funding. However due to the efforts of DFI, working with others, we were greatly relieved that the eventual cut was in the order of 1.8%. This is an enormous achievement in the context of the current economic situation. On the other hand we worked to rationalise and deepen our support for member organisations. We knew that member organisations had to adapt to a changed, more mainstream policy environment while at the same time managing on fewer resources and withincreasing demand for services.

Substantial progress was made in developing the Service Suite, and development commenced on a Member Development Programme to enhance our engagement with member organisations. We also held a conference in November , ‘Quality in the Mainstream’ for organisations providing services, and those setting and enforcing standards, to anticipate the changes that need to take place when people with disabilities are active community members and requiring services in that context.

DFI engaged in intensive work with the Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG) and others, aimed at sustaining implementation of the National Disability Strategy through the recession and building a platform for renewed momentum when the recovery commences. We also strengthened our engagement with the statutory health authorities and the Community and Voluntary Pillar to influence key Government departments and protect services for people with disabilities. We engaged in the 2011 Budget process to try to promote disability-proofing of any cutback plans. DFI has constantly pointed out the double hit endured by people with disabilities, when they face both reductions in disability benefits and services and reductions in the general services and facilities such as transport, health care, and housing, on which they rely.

In addition to the broader policy work, an over-riding priority in 2010 was to develop our agreed engagement with the Department of Health and Children and the HSE to jointly address the concerns of people with disabilities. Issues included the regional consultative committees, SLAs and database development. The Value for Money and Policy Review of the HSE’s Disability Services Programme was another key area where DFI worked to assist organisations to be well placed to reposition theirwork.

Internally, DFI’s Board Governance Manual was completed and adopted by the Board at its December meeting. Work began to identify actions that need to be taken to ensure compliance with all aspects of Board governance, as specified in the manual.

At Board level, engagement changed considerably through greater use of sub-committees, and with the ‘Board Governance Manual’ there is now a clear understanding of the standards, expectations, roles and responsibilities across the organisation to guide the Board. Arising out of the Manual two Board sub committees have been set up namely the Finance and Audit Compliance sub-committee, which takes over from the Finance committee, and the General Compliance sub-committee.

There was progress on a programme of work, including the development of a staff competency framework and the development of a system of information management, the Information Management Performance Project (IMP).

DFI proceeded with the preparation of a new Strategic Plan 2011-2016, and the process of consultation with key stakeholders, a project critical to the future orientation of the organisation. All of these internal work areas are seen as critical for the proper management and strategic direction of the organisation so that it is best placed to give the leadership, direction and support necessary to deliver on the vision and mission of the Disability Federation of Ireland. The development of the new Strategic Plan was a constant area of consideration by the Board during the year, and a full day meeting of the Board took place in April. We are now looking forward to presenting the Strategic Plan to the National Council for approval.

It has been a difficult year, but the resolve and commitment of everyone involved in DFI, member organisations, National Council, Board, staff and volunteers, has been impressive, and it is appreciated. Our country has a difficult journey ahead and we will continue to face serious issues and challenges in protecting and enhancing the much needed services for people with disabilities.

In conclusion I wish to thank my fellow Board members for their contribution and commitment to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities in their role as Company Directors on behalf of the National Council. Fellow officers and members of sub committees, in particular, took on extra work on behalf of DFI and I wish to thank them in that regard. Equally the CEO and the staff have again shown enormous commitment to the work of the organisation and they too are to be acknowledged and thanked.

Paul Ledwidge

Chief Executive Officer’s Overview

Particularly in these times, it is important to put the year into a wider perspective in an attempt to give a better understanding of the longer term significance of what was done during the year.

As we started the year we were conscious of two areas where there were challenges to our member organisations namely at the organisational and governance level and in resourcing services and supports for people with disabilities and their families. Similarly we were concerned to ensure that systems and structures were working well at the national level to maximise the effectiveness of the NDS implementation and in parallel acknowledging that much development needs to take place at the regional and local levels. Around this was an understanding that our own ways of working and operating needed to change.

By year end there were a number of observations that could be made. There was relief that expected funding cuts were curtailed to 1.8% and concern that the momentum created at midyear, through renewed engagement with the HSE and the Department of Health and Children, would be fully sustained. Our insight, in early 2009, that the State needed to have a plan in place to ensure the prioritisation and protection of the NDS throughout the recession has been endorsed by the last Government and the current Government as well as by the membership of the Disability Stakeholder Group, (DSG). Unfortunately it was not delivered during 2010. Allied to this we continue to progress significant work at local and regional levels to deepen the implementation of the NDS.

Our work with Government during this year was influenced by a number of key issues. These include, the importance of public service reform for the successful implementation of the NDS, the critical role of voluntary disability organisations inprogressing mainstreaming, the need to ensure that decisions made across Government are ‘disability proofed’ to protect people with disabilities from the double hit of cuts to income and services during the recession, and the demographic challenges . We have identified the necessity of protecting and re shaping the services that currently exist and ensuring that immediate and significant progress is made as our State moves out of recession.

The continued operation of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with key organisations was heartening and valuable and we commenced operation of a new Memorandum of Understanding with CIL Carmichael Centre and the Carers Alliance of Ireland.

Going back a number of years we identified the need for substantive attention to be given to organisational capacity and governance issues in organisations and this has moved on significantly over the past year, in particular, with many boards engaging in the “Organisational Health Check” and increasing commitments to undertake the PQASSO quality assurance system. We have also developed a Membership Development Programme which will allow us to better co-ordinate the growing number of capacity building supports we offer organisations and to ensure that they get the most from these supports.

Internally we substantially moved on work in relation to a comprehensive management information system and commenced work to develop a staff core competency framework. Work continued, with on-going participation from staff, to progress the repositioning of DFI and its work to better meet the challenges and opportunities ahead. We substantially deepened our own governance processes by adopting a board governance manual and extensive time was given, throughout the year, to considering the best strategic orientation for DFI through the work on developing the next strategic plan. We also commenced work on the introduction of the PQASSO quality assurance system to DFI. During the year we significantly increased our external engagement and relationship building beyond our membership.

We are improving governance and management information systems as well as repositioning how we do our work, we are setting out the core competencies for all staff and preparing for the next strategic plan. We view DFI as an organisation that is in a critical leadership position on behalf of the interests of people with disabilities and their families where we work with the many and varied disability and mental health organisations across the country. We are established withiln the consciousness of Departments and public bodies along with Oireachtas and Government as a competent and knowledgeable entity working to get full inclusion for people with disabilities. We have a strong body of work and track record of delivery in relation to policy implementation and organisational capacity building for our sector.

These all give an insight into the change and development agenda being progressed by DFI but the real issue is their relevance to the period ahead. As stated by the Chairperson, our country is in a difficult place and will be for some time to come, so how are we positioning and preparing ourselves?

We continue to work in “the moment” with our organisations and the State, while equally keeping an an eye to the future. We will be fully setting out, with the support of our membership, what that future must look like for people with disabilities and how it can be achieved if our new Government delivers its disability commitments. I am setting out broadly an overview and understanding around the work that we have done in the past year but I am acutely aware of the very difficult situations that exist at present and there is serious concern that even before next year’s budget that there will be further cuts and curtailment to services. These are the day to day realities but in the medium to long term this recession will eventually end and we must also be actively considering where we want things to be at that point and so working in a meaningful and hopeful way to achieve that objective. This is about taking decisions, and undertaking actions, in the short term that also have long- term logic.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the work and effort of a number of distinct groups within DFI. The National Council and Board set out policy, provide our governance and oversee our management. Within that context, the staff team works to further the objectives of DFI. Members of the National Council and Board all operate on a voluntary basis. Board Members are involved in reporting to the National Council. Board Members meet monthly, and are often called upon to give additional time and expertise. This has been particularly so over the past year with an intensification of work and consideration necessitated by the current situation. For this I am very grateful. Board Officers have specific roles and responsibilities, as do those on sub-committees and I want to acknowledge this work on behalf of DFI. We also have other volunteers who represent DFI’s interests on a range of working groups and committees. They too play an important role on behalf of our membership.

It is also right that I acknowledge and thank our staff for ensuring that the work is carried out, and in doing so, to recognise their valuable input into developing the work and future of DFI. They individually and collectively play a key role in enhancing the reputation of the organisation. I want to thank Board Members and staff for the commitment and professionalism that they have brought to their work on behalf of DFI, it is much appreciated by me.

John Dolan
Chief Executive Officer


Building a National Platform


Our Annual Plan for 2010 stated:

“In light of the currentclimate our work through Objective 3(Building a National Platform) must continue to build relationships and foster an awareness across our organisations and beyond of the need for us all, voluntary and statutory, to be positioned to work effectively in the context of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) where there are very different understandings, and expectations of each other and this at a time when we are consumed by the immediate issues that confront us. Our member organisations need assistance to work through the "recession issues" that are confronting them on an almost daily basis while also ensuring that they pay attention to the necessary repositioning that they need to achieve to be relevant and dynamic agents to promote the delivery of the NDS, This is our overarching leadership challenge. As never before the strategic capacity of organisations is going to be tested and this brings the role and capacity of Boards centre stage. The decisions that we take now have to be set within the understanding of a hugely different operating environment that our organisations have to successfully operate.”

The work focussed on four areas throughout the year, namely:

  • Supporting organisations in the new and emerging operating environment.
  • Protection and progression on the implementation of the NDS, particularly at local level.
  • Deepening relationships and work with organisations with whom we have a Memorandum of Understanding and other structured relationships, and
  • Deepening engagement with the Government and the political system.

Through all of this there was the overarching consideration that we continue to make decisions and take actions that relate to the current situation, but which also make sense in the long term, in that they focus on the situation of disabled people at the end of the recession and the start of the growth period. The achievement of this objective is dependent on the work that is undertaken to pursue the other strategic objectives of DFI.

The first two areas, set out above, supporting organisations in the new and emerging operating environment, and the implementation of the NDS, relate directly to ‘Objective 1. Support and Service Provision’, and ‘Objective 2. Influencing Policy’. The third and fourth areascentre on relationships and engagement with outside entities, organisations in the voluntary and disability sectors, and the Oireachtas and public administration.

I will now set out briefly progress made throughout the year, and provide some assessment. We understand that the four areas do not stand alone, and therefore any work done during the year by staff was undertaken in the knowledge that, for example, there is a relationship between governance and management capacityand effective implementation of the NDS. Furthermore, we must all now work as much outside of our organisations as internally, thereby developing relationships and deepening engagement with others. This is critical.

Supporting organisations: The new and emerging operating environment We significantly stepped up our work with organisations, as you will read elsewhere in this review, and webroadened ourMembership Development Programme. We also added a strategic orientation component to the ‘Organisation Healthcheck’. There were also ongoing briefings and supports to organisations to assist them to reposition and reconfigure their work.

Protection and progression on the implementation of the NDS, particularly at local level While it is disappointing to note that the NDS Recession Implementation Plan was not put in place by the end of the year, it was heartening to see that the call for the Plan, first made by DFI in 2009, was taken up by the outgoing Government and the rest of the membership of the Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG). With the renewed commitment of the new Government, we are well placed to move this on. Concerted action has taken place at regional and local levels, supported by DFI, in bringing the various statutory and voluntary organisations together and building effective representation and engagement capacity, primarily across our membership. CIL Carmichael House has been a significant partner in this work during the year. We also sought participation from PwDI in progressing this work.

Deepening relationships and work with organisations with whom we have Memoranda of Understanding and other structured relationships At the end of 2009 we signed our MOU with CIL Carmichael House, and, early in the new year, with the Carers Alliance of Ireland. Along with the work described above relating to CIL, we hosted a joint seminar with the Carers Alliance as part of our agreed work plan with them. There was an intensifying of work between ourselves and NAI during the year, with the implementation of a significant project centring on the full inclusion of people with disabilities within the development of the primary care model. This DSE is also actively involved in this.

We continued our work plan implementation with The Wheel and the Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups, covering a range of sector wide issues, from civil dialogue with Government, to governance and organisational capacity issues. We centred our engagement with Irish Charities Tax Research in relation to regulatory matters for the sector.

There was strong collaborative engagement between DFI, the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, the Not for Profit Business Association and the Department of Health and Children and the HSE,in relation to funding and service provision by the HSE, mainly in the latter half of the year.

There was ongoing engagement throughout the year with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, and Amnesty International Ireland, which centred on progressing the implementation of the NDS. Similarly we had engagement with the members of the Community and Voluntary pillar, the Disability Stakeholders Group, the NDA and CIB.

Deepening engagement with Government and the political system Throughout the year there was ongoing engagement with Government Departments and the Oireachtas, through which we sought to protect services, gain understanding of the increasing demand and need for Government to have a coherent plan to protect the NDS, with a view to ensuring its sustainability and its capacity to make strong progress upon return to growth.

Conclusion This was the final year of the 2004-2010 Strategic Plan, and it demonstrates the progress made by DFI over that time on Strategic Objective 3. We have deeper and more meaningful engagement and influence as an organisationprovides leadership, support and direction for the purpose of ensuring the full inclusion of people with disabilities. This puts us in a strong position in relation to our next Strategic Plan.

Policy Developments


Our dual focus in 2010 was on the Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2008 – 2011, and on protecting the National Disability Strategy (NDS) as much as possible against the fallout from the recession. In the continuing difficult economic environment we worked to strengthen engagement with the statutory health authorities, to protect services for people with disabilities, and, through the Community and Voluntary Pillar, to influence other key Government departments. We highlighted the challenges to the implementation ofthe NDS, and we also identified concrete actions that could be taken to sustain the National Disability Strategy, even in the current economic climate.


Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2008 – 2011 DFIcontinued to highlight to member organisations the likely implications of this Review for public funding of disability services.A number of seminars were also held to inform member organisations of the Terms of Reference of the Review, and the challenges to organisations providing services as a result of the anticipated changes in funding arrangements and performance monitoring. We emphasised how important it was for organisations to identify and value the outputs and outcomes they achieved through their HSE contracts, including the supports and services that enable each person to access mainstream options and general health services. Throughout the year, DFI provided information on the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services process, and its implications for disability organisations, through presentations, a survey of member organisations, communications with member organisationCEOs, Newsletter features, and Management and Support Officer briefings with individual organisations.

Grant Aid and Service Level Agreements As well as supporting organisations to complete the Agreements, DFI gathered information on the issues that arose, and continue to arise, for organisations in relation to the Agreements, and we sought commitments from the HSE Service Level Agreement Oversight Implementation Group in this regard.

National Physical and Sensory Disability Database DFI continued to participate on the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD) National Advisory Committee, and on the NPSDD Registration Committee. We encouraged and supported our members to register on the database and continue to support the Direct Access Project. DFI facilitated the Health Research Board to take a more targeted approach to encourage participation in the Direct Access Project. The NPSDD Report for 2009 was published in December 2010.

Neurological Alliance of Ireland and DFI Primary Care Team Project DFI and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) held a seminar to explore ways of developing structures of engagement between voluntary disability organisations developing primary care links, and the project developed from this. A work plan for 2010 was agreed between DFI and NAI, and the Training Sub-Group has been set up. Other areas for action were the need for a website option,training for organisations, a questionnaire for Transformation Managers within the HSE, and accessible contact details for local resources. The tender process for the website has been completed, and DFI and NAI will be applying for National Lottery funding to finance the work.

Relationships with the HSE and Department of Health and Children DFI, jointly with the Not for Profit Business Association (NfPBA) and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies (FedVol), obtained agreement for a three-tiered structure of meetings with health authorities and the Office of the Minister for Disability and Mental Health. Although a number of meetings took place during 2010 under the three tiered structure, the fourth quarter meetings with the group, involving the HSE Regional Directors of Operations and the HSE Interim National Care Group Lead - Disability Services for Disability Services, were cancelled. The HSE’s redundancy and retirement scheme resulted in personnel changes late in 2010, and this adversely affected previously established relationships. DFI has developed core messages to deploy throughout its engagement with the health authorities. These includeprotecting essential services for people with disabilities in HSE’s budgeting decisions, and progressing cross-agency collaboration, for example, between health, education, and social protection, for which the Minister holds particular responsibility. In addition, the value of voluntary organisations for supporting mainstreaming was highlighted.

DFI developed a framework document to capture information relevant to our dealings across the new engagement structure with the health authorities. The framework document was designed to gather information through the DFI Support Officers at national level, and also to accumulate local data on health issues. It will be implemented in 2011.

Health Groups DFI is a member of a number of National Health Groups, including:

  • High Level Meetings between DFI, Minister for Disability and Mental Health, and HSE.
  • Oversight Implementation Group onService Arrangements and Grant Aid Agreements.
  • National Co-ordinating Committee for Progressing Services to Children and Young People.
  • Department of Health and Children Disability Advisory Committee.
  • National Physical and Sensory Disability Database Committee.
  • Quarterly meetings with the National Care Group Director for Disabilities.
  • Community & Voluntary Pillar Health Consultative Committee.
  • Department of Health and Children Working Group on Congregated Settings.
  • Family Carers Research Group.
  • Regional Disability Services Local Planning Groups.

National Disability Strategy Early in 2010, the Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG) met with the National Disability Strategy Stakeholders Monitoring Group (NDSSMG) to discuss the National Disability Strategy (NDS) and concerns around monitoring the implementation process. Key issues for the DSG included protection of the NDS during the recession, as promised in the Renewed Programme for Government, reporting progress against the long-term goals, as detailed in ‘Towards 2016’, budgetary issues, disability proofing for initiatives going to Cabinet, the scope of the operational review of the Disability Act 2005, andspecific Departmental issues identified by the DSG.

In its submission to the review of the Disability Act 2005, DFI identified weak ‘whole of Government’ leadership as contributing to lack of progress in extending Part 2 of the Act regarding entitlements to Assessment of Need, Service Statements and Redress, beyond the 0-5 year old cohort, and to the disappointing results around cross-departmental working under Part 3. While a report on submissions to the Review was published, Government officials did not present their draft Review to the NDSSMG in 2010.

Later in the year DFI and the DSG began negotiations with Government officials about the content of a NDS Recession implementation Plan. While predicated on the fact that resources were severely constrained, the Plan was designed to strengthen the structures and processes that underpin progress, as a prerequisite to identifying priority actions and performance measures to guide stakeholders as conditions eased. Although a Plan was not agreed in 2010, understanding of the issues significantly improved as a basis for completion in the near future.

DFI and a number of the DSG sub-groups were active in relation to the completion of the Sectoral Plan reviews and progress reports. Significant efforts were also made to involve the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources as a full participant in the NDS processes, and to secure mechanisms for engagement with the Department of Education and Skills. The DSG sub-group on education initiated meetings with Department officials on special needs education issues such as teacher training. A sub-group on the Department of Social Protection also agreed a work plan to support progress on key priorities, notably Income Support, Activation, Carers, and Advocacy.

At a major conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held in Galway in December 2010, DFI highlightedthe importance of the Disability Stakeholders Group increasing its effectiveness in monitoring the NDS within the context of the UN Convention. DFI took the view that the DSG has failed to insist on essential actions l to achieve real progress and, moreover, has not succeeded in having performance evaluated against the long term goals agreed for people with disabilities. DFI proposed that the DSG adopt certain measures that would give better direction and momentum to the implementation of the NDS.

Guide to Government Policy on Disability for Voluntary Organisations The DFI ‘Guide to Government Policy on Disability for Voluntary Disability Organisations was published in the autumn. It describes, in accessible language, the key legislative and policy developments incorporated in the National Disability Strategy that underpin the right of people with disabilities to equal citizenship. The Guide will assist stakeholders to understand the changes in Government policy on disability, and to identify the monitoring systems in place to ensure delivery of this policy. The Guide will also support voluntary disability organisations orient their work to achieve full inclusion for people with disabilities.

Supporting Access to the Mainstream DFI made an application to Genio for ‘Listening and Changing’, a project to support disability organisations in the mainstream.The application was successful. The aim of the project is to enhance the capacity of people with physical, sensory and neurological disabilities, and their representative organisations, to advocate for access to general community services and facilities. It will support organisations in repositioning themselves to progress the priorities of their members in the mainstream environment. A facilitator was identified and work was started on the project.

Supporting the Lifecycle Framework

Children There were significant national policy developments in the provision of children’s services, including initiatives by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, advancing a tailored universal services agenda and the roll out of Children’s Services Committees at county level, with the aim of integrating services for children at risk of exclusion. In addition, the HSE established a National Group for Integrating Health Services for 0 – 18 year olds(now called the National coordinating Group for Progressing Services to Children and Young People), with a focus on making Early Intervention Teams (EIT) or School Age Teams the point of entry to health services. There is continuing collaboration between DFI, the HSE and DES on supporting disabled children and streamlining transition into school. A National Early Years Access Initiative has been established as a collaborative funding initiative, which aims to stimulate integrated mainstream services for children.

DFI held a Children’s Services Seminar in Limerick in November, to provide information on policy implementation and encourage relationship building amongst stakeholders. This event was attended by voluntary organisations, community children’s services providers and parents. By alerting them to the changing environment and how best to work within it, the seminar helped individuals and organisations to facilitate children with disabilities to benefitfrom mainstream initiatives. DFI began developing an email list of interested parents to keep them up date them on developments at national and local levels, and inform DFI’s parent representatives on national committees.

Adults of Working Age DFI participated in a health stakeholders group organised by the Office of the Minister for Disability and Mental Health to explore ways of integrating the findings of the Adult Day Services Review and supported employment for people with disabilities, provided through FÁS. Critical to the proposal that emerged was the availability of on-going supports to enable people who want to work to do so. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and FÁS were considering the proposal in the context of finalising a comprehensive employment strategy. DFI also participated in the monitoring of an activation projectin the Midlands, led by the Department of Social Protection and jointly funded by the EU. The project worked with people, on a voluntary basis, who were dependent on disability benefits, and examined how best to support their participation, whether in employment or other activities. Although progress on employment and activation programmes has been disappointing to date, the difficult jobs and community supports environment made persistence ever more important. DFI has focused on closer alliances within the community and voluntary sector as one means of creating and protecting opportunities for people with disabilities.

Ageing and Older People DFI maintained an active interest in ensuring that people with disabilities are included in all developments at all stages of the lifecycle, including older age. DFI strengthened connections with the older person’s sector throughout 2010, with the bulk of our activity concentrated on engagement with the Ageing Well Network. We continued as members of the NGO Liaison Group, which feeds into the Positive Ageing Strategy, and we participated at meetings organised by Minister Áine Brady, in Cork and Sligo. We encouraged our members to attend and contribute to these latter meetings to ensure that older people with disabilities have a voice. We have also been in discussion with the Older and Bolder Campaign in relation to the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database. DFI participated in a number of other events relating to ageing and disability, and engaged with member organisations to update and inform them of emerging issues.

Carers DFI, in collaboration with the Care Alliance Ireland, held a seminar in April to explore the inter-connections between the disability sector and the carers sector, disabled people and the families they rely on, as well as how the two strands of policy weave together. A working document resulted which has laid the ground for future discussion between the sectors. In addition to this, DFI has been an active partner with Care Alliance Ireland in planning Carers Week, an annual event aimed at highlighting the valuable contribution that family carers make to the quality of life of disabled family members, older people, and those with long term illnesses. DFI has also been involved in the Family Carers Research Group, as well as a contributor to the Department of Social Protection biannual meetings with the Carers Sector.

Local Implementation of the National Disability Strategy DFI continued to develop an approach for supporting organisations to move towards mainstream service planning and operations at local level. Information compiled by DFI, on the range and work of local structures and committees on which DFI is represented, was used to plan actions in 2010 and 2011 to increase the capacity of disability organisations and people with disabilities to influence local service provision and to monitor progress. The actions currently in progress include the development of briefing documents on bringing policy to local practice, the production of a DVD about local decision making structures, capacity building for representation, and reporting arrangements on local activities. Plans were put in place to roll out a Community Participation Initiative that would focus on mainstreaming in areas of particular concern for adults of working age, such as housing, transport, access and employment.

Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities DFI participated on the National Advisory Group of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government working to develop a draft strategy document. The draft last seen by the Group was wide ranging in terms of the disability groups and housing options considered. The Department has been negotiating with the Department of Health and Children and the HSE to agree on certain funding issues related to de-institutionalisation, with a view to bringing the Strategy jointly to Cabinet following final input from the Advisory Group. DFI also highlighted its concerns in relation to a Departmental consultation paper about new regulations being developed on assessing social housing need that will affect access to local authority housing waiting lists.

Social Inclusion Through the DSG Subgroup, the Department of Social Protection Consultative Forum, and in bilateral discussions with the Department of Social Protection, DFI sought to ensure that opportunities for greater participation are created for people with disabilities without at the same time undermining income security and rights to advocacy supports . The cost of disability as a barrier to participation was highlighted by DFI in these discussions. Work also continued with the TV Access Coalition, of which DFI is a founding member, in addressing social inclusion issues, including working towards ensuring TV access for all through accessible and affordable services, including digital terrestrial television in 2012.DFI made a number of submissions in relation to diverse matters around accessible TV services.

Supporting Mainstream Services DFI continued to support the mainstreaming of services for people with disabilities through its work on a number of fora, includingGovernment departments and consultative fora, other national advisory committees, Partnership Companies, Community and Voluntary Pillar, regional and local Initiatives.

Community and Voluntary Pillar The Community and VoluntaryPillar, a group of 17 representative organisations established in the social partnership process, and on which DFI leads on disability, spoke out forcefullyfor people most at risk in the recession. The Pillarprepared a comprehensive alternative analysis provided proposals which, if implemented, would protect vulnerable groups and prevent the erosion of the social infrastructure. The analysis critiqued the popular perception that public service cutbacks are the main remedy to the crisis, and focused on the low level of tax revenue collected in Ireland and on public service reform. The Pillar’s Communications Sub-Committee promoted the key messages and also worked to promote a better appreciation of the contribution of voluntary and community organisations and groups to the social economy. Pillar members met senior officials of key Departments and certain Ministers. DFI pointed to the disability commitments made by Government, the urgency of sustaining the supports that enable people with disabilities to participate in the economic and community life of society, and the importance of protecting the social infrastructure during the recession.

DFI continued to build mutually beneficial relationships with other Pillar members, particularly in relation to poverty, employment, carers, children and older persons, to strengthen the input on initiatives that affect people with disabilities.

Estimates and Budget 2011 Campaign Through the Newsletter and the activities of our Support Officers, DFI produced information for, and advised our members on, the impact of Budget 2010 and the HSE Service Plan.The DFI Pre-Budget Submission 2011 was published and circulated to all member organisations, members of the Oireachtas and key stakeholders. The launch of the Pre-Budget submission took place on 14th October 2010 in the Mansion House. A pilot project involving media training for people with disabilities was developed, and a short video, interviewing participants on the challenges facing them if cuts are progressed, was shown. Analysis of the information collected in DFI’s 2010 financial survey of member organisations was used at the launch. In addition a number of meetings took place with members ofthe Oireachtas to explain DFI’s position. Analysis of the impact of Budget 2011 was disseminated shortly after the Budget announcement.

European and International Issues

Dóchas Disability and International Development DFI continues to participate on Dóchas Disability and International Development Working Group. Dóchas, the Irish Association of Non-Government Development Organisations, provides a forum for consultation and co-operation between its members, and helps them speak with a single voice on development issues.
European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities (EASPD) Through our membership of the EASPDDFI continues to monitor European and international policy developments and their influence on the Irish policy context. John Dolan, CEO of DFI supports this process through his membership of the Board of the EASPD, and he continued to provide information to the EASPD Board in relation to the impact of the ongoing economic crisis on the disability sector in Ireland. DFI participated in the EASPD conference, held in Skopje, on the topic of‘Community living: Current Realities and Future Challenges’. We were also represented at General Assembly and Policy Group meetings, where there was further consideration of EU 2020, the EU Disability Strategy 2010 – 2020 and Social Services of General Interest.Collaborative work was carried out with EASPD in relation to significant European wide socialpolicy issues, and DFI was the lead partner in a proposal to develop a project on the sectors’ involvement in Social Dialogue (Social Partnership) across Europe.

Submissions and Presentations

DFI made a number of Submissions during the year, including:

  • Submission to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s Local Authority Efficiency Review
  • Submission to the National Education Welfare Board
  • Submission on the Sustainable Transport Strategy Consultation Paper
  • Submission to the Draft Action Plan Priorities for End of Life Forum
  • Pre Budget Submission 2011 to Government
  • Pre-Budget Submission 2011 to Department of Social Protection
  • Submission on Quality Standards for Residential and Foster Care Services for Children and Young People.
  • Submission to the Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2008 - 2011 Disability Services Steering Group
  • Submission to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on its Consultation Document on Assessing Housing Need
  • Submission to Government Departments on The Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011-2013
  • Submission to the Independent Monitoring Group on A Vision for Change
  • Submissionin conjunction with TV Access Coalition,to RTE on the Public Service Statement
  • Submission in conjunction with TV Access Coalition, to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland on Strategic Planning Process
  • Submission, in conjunction with DSG Subgroup, to Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on Transposition of EU Telecoms Package into Irish Law,
  • Submission to the TV Access Coalition on accessible television for people with disabilities and older people
  • Presentation to CIL Council Meeting: ‘Representing Locally Impacting Nationally’
  • Presentation to EASPD Conference: “Towards Community Living: Current Realities and Future Challenges
  • “Advancing The National Disability Strategy: Building On Comparative And International Innovation”: Presentation to Conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Galway in December 2010


During a year characterised by uncertainty and reduced resources, DFI helped to achieve some progress in transforming modern disability policy into practice. This involved active lobbying of statutory bodies, but it also encompassed member organisations, for example, in advising them about the changing policy environment in which they operated, through vehicles such as DFI’s Guide to Government Policy on Disability and ‘Listening and Changing’, the mainstreaming project. In addition DFI’s efforts, along with the efforts of many other organisations, groups and individuals, reduced the funding cuts imposed in some but not all areas. The double hit, on income and services, imposed by the Government’s recessionary measures on people with disabilities was a constant theme in DFI’s communications. Though DFI’s collaborative work to develop an NDS recession implementation plan did not reach a conclusion in 2010, it has established a strong basis for progress in 2011. By year endmuch work had been done to enhance awareness of the implications of mainstreaming in both the disability and Government sectors.

Supporting Organisations


DFI worked to support organisations with their immediate needs, and also continued to encourage organisations to focus on their medium to long term development through engagement with mechanisms such as DFI’s Organisation Healthcheck and PQASSO. We have been greatly encouraged by the active participation of our member organisations in these services throughout the year. Alongside supporting organisations to participate in theValue for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services, we encouraged organisations to actively consider the implications of the Review for their organisations. The publication of the DFI Guide to Government Policy on Disability, with its specific section on the implication of the mainstreaming policy on disability organisations, greatly facilitates our work in this regard.

We took time to review how we internally co-ordinate supports to member organisations, and we plan to make improvements in this area by channelling our supports through an overall Member Development Programme.

Our member organisations have been subject to increasing regulation and accountability, and although we have been actively supporting organisations to respond to this for many years, we had a growing concern that the impact of the pressure to manage quality could inadvertently hamper the development of more mainstream services by disability organisations. To respond to this,we held a Conference, ‘Getting the Balance Right’, (Nov ’10)at which we brought together organisations and the main Government agencies with an interest in regulation. The aim of the event was to start the process of considering ways of finding a balance in the regulation of services, to ensure that innovation and responsiveness to the needs of people with disabilities is maintained.

DFI Service Suite The DFI Service Suite, a range of supports developed in recent years for our member organisations to assist them to improve their capacity, continued to be expanded during 2010. New elements of the Service Suite have been added, and further additions are expected throughout 2011. The Service Suite now includes the following supports:

  • DFI Organisation Healthcheck
  • Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations - PQASSO
  • SKILL Staff Training Programme
  • Garda Vetting
  • Law Compliance Review: Arthur Cox & Co Company
  • Human Resource Support: Adare Human Resource Management Support
  • External Supervision Service for Employees
  • Chairs as Effective Leaders
  • Pensions Advice
  • Employee Assistance Programme through VHI

To support our work in this area, DFI availed of the services of the FÁS Graduate Placement Scheme, which entailed the placement of a marketing graduate within DFI to assist with co-ordination of the Service Suite supports to our member organisations .

DFI Organisation Healthcheck The OrganisationHealthcheck is a diagnostic tool to assist member organisations to evaluate their capacity capabilities and compliance standards, and to review their internal structures. The process examines the organisation across five areas, Governance, Finance and Budgeting, Staff and Volunteers, Policies and ProceduresandStrategic Direction. The Organisational Healthcheck is carried out with the CEO, Chairperson, and Board of the participating organisation, and a DFI Support Officer. On completion of the process, a report and recommendations are produced. During 2010 a further 20 member organisations undertook the Organisation Healthcheck.

Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations – PQASSO PQASSO was selected by DFI as a quality assurance programme suited to the needs of our member organisations in maintaining the improved quality of their service, governance and management systems. A DFI staff member is a licensed PQASSO Mentor and Peer Reviewer. Over 14 DFI organisations have now undertaken implementation of PQASSO, and many others are likely to do so when they complete the DFI Organisation Healthcheck, a precursor to the DFI supported PQASSO implementation process.
Eight DFI staff have also undertaken PQASSO training, together with a number of staff from member organisations and other stakeholder groups. These will become PQASSO champions, and will assist other organisations to begin to implement the PQASSO system.A process of engagement with the HSE also commenced, with the aim of introducing and advising on the benefits of implementing PQASSO in voluntary disability organisations and the Community and Voluntary sector generally,and with the Charities Regulation Unit (CRU) in Pobal to inform them of the impact of PQASSO on quality standards evident in organisations currently implementing the system.

We have identified a need for additional support for organisations, which will be of particular use to thosethat do not have the capacity to move directly from Organisation Healthcheck into fully implementing PQASSO. In this regard DFI has developed a check-list system for smaller organisations.DFI has also worked with The Wheel, and the Carmichael Centre to develop a joint Working Group on PQASSO. As a direct result of this initiative, the Carmichael Spring Training Programme included fifteen training courses which could be directly linked to ten of the twelve PQASSO Quality Areas. We have also been proactive in establishing the Island of Ireland PQASSO Mentor Network, the purpose of the group is to encourage shared learning among PQASSO mentors on how best to support a variety of organisations through PQASSO. DFI also held a National Conference, ‘Getting the Balance Right’, which addressed the subject of standards.

SKILL Staff Training Programme ‘SKILL’ stands for ‘Securing Knowledge Intra Lifelong Learning’. The SKILL Staff Training Programme, a national training initiative aimed at increasing the education, training and development of support staff and their supervisors in the Irish health and personal social services areas. The role of DFI is to provide administrative, financial and co-ordination support to member organisations in the placement of staff onto the SKILL Programme.

  • 19 DFI member organisations were recruited in September 2009 to commence a new year of training.
  • Since 2006, this brings the total participation to 1,174 staff from 33 DFI member organisations registered for training on SKILL.
  • 228 staff from DFI participating member organisations graduated in ceremonies throughout Ireland during 2010. Awards were conferred in Health Service Skills FETAC Level 5 and Advanced Certificate in Supervisory Management Skills FETAC Level 6.
  • 5 new Critical Mass Sites (CMS) in Galway, Mayo and Dublin were agreed upon by SKILL and rolled out in 2010. CMS allow the disability organisations to be more involved in the delivery of the training to their staff through SKILL. One CMS has been established by DFI in conjunction with Deafhear.ie, the Catholic Institute for Deaf People, and the Irish Wheelchair Association. This has ensured the uptake of 9 staff with hearing impairments into SKILL training for September 2010. This is the first time that training of this nature has ever taken place for people with hearing impairments within Ireland and has been possible largely due to the strong support from SKILL for the initiative in ensuring sign interpreters were provided.

Garda Vetting The Garda Vetting Project was developed by DFI to assist member organisations who experience difficulties in securing Garda vetting for their staff and volunteers. After consultation with organisations, DFI developed a system whereby six member organisations were identified to act as lead organisations to administer the Garda vetting process for those organisations in its network. To date 49 organisations, 35 of which are DFI member organisations have been assigned to and use Garda Vetting Networks, and over 560 applications have been processed since the networks have been established. DFI is very aware of the ongoing difficulties still experienced by disability organisationsin accessing Garda vetting, such as the long delays in processing applications, and we are working to have these issues addressed.

Law Compliance Review for Member Organisations DFI has worked with Arthur Cox & Company on the development of a new product which will supports member organisations in reviewing their legal compliance. Advice will be provided on governance and in tailoring Articles of Association to be fit for purpose. This service was launched in November, and is available at a fixed price to DFI member organisations.

Human Resource Supports for Organisations Adare Human Resource Management offer a tailored package of supports to DFI members. They also contributed regularly to the DFI newsletter in relation to changes and developments in HR practice.

External Supervision Service External Supervision provides a dedicated space away from the workplace to reflect on one''s work, with an objective, experienced professional, in a confidential, one-to-one setting. Making space for discussion, reflection and “thinking outside the box” can reduce day-to-day stress levels and provide long-term gain for the organisation. Maeve Halpin, MA, M. Phil., Dip. Couns. Psych. is partnering with DFI to provide External Supervision exclusively to employees and directors of DFI member organisations, as part of the DFI Service Suite.

Chairpersons as Effective Leaders Project The Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups and DFI jointly funded the re-printing of the very popular publication relating to the Chairpersons as Effective Leaders project. This coincided with the development of a training course, based on the above publication, and developed and delivered by the Carmichael Centre.

Membership Development Programme To improve our support to our members, DFI has developed the Membership Development Programme (MDP). The MDP encourages organisations to avail of the DFI Organisational Healthcheck, and to useour other services in a more systematic and co-ordinated way, addressing potential problems and issues before they arise.

Charities Legislation Since its enactment in 2009, the Charities Act still awaits the appointment of a Regulator. Two aspects of the Act came into force during 2010, Section 4 which allows the Minister to make orders or regulations where specified under the Act, and Section 90 which grants power to the Courts, in the event of proceedings against a charity trustee, to grant relief to such trustees from personal liability for breach of trust, where it appears to the relevant Court that the trustee acted honestly and reasonably. Through our interactions with member organisations throughout the year, we have sought to make them aware of the imminent reporting requirements laid out in the legislation.

DFI Regional Meetings, Platforms and Activity Events At regional level, DFI hosted meetings on a wide variety of topics. There have been fewer meetings in 2010 than in previous years, often due to travel restrictions and competing demands on staff and volunteers. In response, we are using local bulletins to a greater extent to keep organisations informed about developments in the regions, and we have been experimenting with using information technology to hold meetings in different formats.

A very successful pilot live web streaming of an Eastern Regional Platform Meeting took place in March, where, along with 30 attendees who were physically present, a further 12 people participated from their offices, many of whom texted in questions to the event. Work is continuing on developing this facility for our members. When this is fully operational, it will provide an alternative access to meetings, which will reduce travel and increase attendance. A further successful pilot project took place for the Eastern Region Platform Meeting in December, and it is hoped that more of these will follow in 2011.

Agenda topics covered by platform meetings in the Eastern Region related to the Value for Money and Policy Review, Carmichael Centre Training Programme, and a presentation by Mental Health Ireland.In the South East, Platform meetings were expanded into Community Lunches, and approved through the Local HSE structures. Participants from the disability sector, statutory sector and the broader community and voluntary sector attended. Meetings were held in Wexford and Carlow throughout the year. These resulted in a cooperative project between a number of organisations and the local authority in Wexford, and a number of collaborative projects with the local authority in Carlow. External experts were also invited to make presentations and community venues were used to showcase activities and opportunities for interagency engagement.

Following on from a successful event, to highlight disability services in the North West, a dedicated information website for the North West, www.disabilityinfonorthwest.com was established.

Collaborative Engagement DFI was proactive in supporting collaboration between disability organisations, and also with community and voluntary and state organisations. A list of the wide variety of projects across work with local Government, shared office accommodation, advocacy projects, social inclusion and other projects that were developed in a collaborative way can be found in the Appendices.

DFI National Conference: Getting the Balance Right

DFI‘s National Conference 2010was held in November,with the co-operation of our colleagues in the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). The aim of the conference was to explore the meaning of ’quality service‘, when the objective is to enable full inclusion for people with disabilities. Speakers and attendees considered how voluntary disability organisations can deliver quality disability-specific services in the mainstream.

The opening address was given by Maurice Buckley, CEO of NSAI. Patsy Fitzsimons of the Office of the Ombudsman spoke on ‘User‘s Perspective: the Need for Quality’, Terry Dunne, of the Charities Regulator Unit spoke on the topic of ‘Regulator‘s Perspective: Regulatory Standards & Charities Act.Ann Kennelly, Interim National Care Group Lead, Disability Services, HSE, spoke from the funder‘s perspective on ‘Quality and Disability Services’, and Professor Eamonn Murphy, University of Limerick, gave a presentation on ‘Introducing Quality Systems: Lessons from other Sectors’.

Niall Byrne, Deputy Director of Social Services Inspectorate, HIQA spoke on the theme of ‘Governance and Risk’, and DFI Support Officer for Organisations, Dermot O‘Donnell spoke on the development of ‘Organisation Healthcheck & PQASSO: DFI Supported Model’, and how DFI can support organisations to focus on and introduce quality for their services.
The Conference was an initial first step, but the issue will need ongoing attention

HIQA Standards for Residential Services for People with Disabilities Two further events were also held in October, at which organisations were informed about the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) Standards for Residential Services for People with Disabilities. Discussions also took place with HIQA around standards that they are developing in relation to ‘Safer Better Healthcare’.

DFI Seminar Series on the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services During the year DFI held a number of Seminars and a Round Table Discussions for member organisations in relation to the ongoing Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2008 – 2011 (VFM and Policy Review of Disability Services). The Review looks at the cost of servicesbeing provided, and whether or not those services are appropriate in the context of Government policy on mainstreaming. The aim of the Seminars, was to highlight to member organisations the likely implications of this Review for funding disability services. The events provided an opportunity to hear fromour members and to provide a platform for discussion about how best to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the consultations to influence the findings and recommendations of the Review process, and to explore different ways of working to support people with disabilities to participate to the greatest possible extent in communities. Hopefully this will contribute to a more sustainable set of relationships and a more receptive environment within which to implement the National Disability Strategy in the key areas of health and personal support services. Bairbre Nic Aonghusa, from the Office of the Minister for Disability and Mental Health, addressed one of the very well attended events.


Our engagement with the boards and those managing our member’s organisations is growing steady each year. We have responded to the immediate needs of our members, but also progressed the Organisational Healthcheck and PQASSO with a growing number of organisations. We are working to support organisations to consider how they position themselves in relation to the provision of services to people with disabilities. The introduction of the Member Development Programme will enhance our ability to co-ordinate the supports we offer members and to assist members to get the most out of the supports and services we offer.


Introduction During 2010 our focus was again on managing our finances,governance, andtherepositioning needed, particularly in the context of the new operating environment. As the effects of the recession deepened, and in particular as the impact on organisations of the fiscal adjustments became clearer, we became ever more aware of the challenges to DFI. Our focus, therefore, was on ensuring that DFI, the organisation, would be ready for what lay ahead, and ready to provide the support needed by our member organisations and stakeholders.

Finance Our focus at the beginning of the year was on financial issues within DFI, in particular the 2009 Audit and the 2010 Budget. Considerable planning work was necessary, particularly in light of uncertainty in HSE funding and the consequent risk planningrequired. Our preparations for the annual audit were facilitated by the new Board Finance sub-committee.We have developed more efficient reporting and purchase order systems after seeking independent expert advice on strengthening our processes.An excerpt from our Audited Reports and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2010 can be found in Appendix 1.

Development of Strategic Plan and Operational Plan 2011 – 2016 The development of the new Strategic Plan 2011 – 2016 was the focus of our internal planning during 2010. To support this process, an external facilitator met with staff, member organisations and other key stakeholders, including Government departments and other organisations. In addition to the Strategic Plan work, a 6 month plan was agreed for early 2011 while we were in transition from our old Strategic Plan to our new one.

Governance Significant progress was made during the year on governance issues. New processes were put in place to support the Board, including the completion of the Board Governance Manual. Independent expert advice was sought during the creation of this manual, which will provide significant structure and help to the Board of DFI and guide them in their duties and responsibilities to the organisation. Along with the establishment of the Board Finance Committee, two other committees continued to operate, namely, Premises and Board Governance Manual.The Premises sub-committee continued to address the overdue need for appropriate working and meeting spaces. The Governance Manual sub-committee completed its work by providing a draft document for the Board. An information ‘pack’ was also developed for Board members, which was also made available through an on-line portal for easy access. DFI also actively engaged with the HSE to complete our Service Level Agreements. We did significant work to build a better and more structured corporate relationship with the new disability services staff in the HSE.

The Board completed and accepted the recommendations of the DFI Organisational Healthcheck and as a result of this the Board has agreed to commence implementing the PQASSO quality assurance system.

Health and Safety A Health and Safety Report for 2010 was presented to the Board in September. While it was recognised that considerable improvements had been made in this area, two areas for further attention were identified, and discussions have commenced to develop the most appropriate training for key staff in 2011. The Board was satisfiedwith the safety standards in place in DFI, and signed off on the Health and Safety Report.

Membership DFI’s membership has been consistent during 2010, with 126 Members and Associates. While a small number of organisations have left membership, a number of new members joined during 2010. Further details on membership is available on thewebsite: http://www.disability-federation.ie/index.php?uniqueID=138

Information Management Performance Project (IMP) Significant development work on our Information management took place in 2010. DFI set up the Information Management Performance Project (IMP) committee, and an initial knowledge audit was carried out with all staff. The key objectives of IMP are to assist DFI in identifying relevant and enhanced information and knowledge needed to better manage our work and enhance our performance, and to providegreater value for money to our funders and present aclear image and record of DFI’s performance and relevance.

Information and Communications Technology A major network upgrade took place throughout the year, to ensure that our ICT infrastructure is capable of managing our information needs. We upgraded our wireless network to allow seamless private and public access throughout the DFI main office. This has increased access speeds to our systems, which will be of benefit to staff and visitors. This project reduced the number of servers needed, which will have a positive impact on value for money in the current environment. Further work was carried out creating more accessible videos which assists with publicising DFI’s message. Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 has been tested and implementation will be completed during 2011. All software applications in DFI are purchased through the encludeIT program, further information on which can be found www.encludeit.org .All laptops and desktops are purchased through the Government Framework, which has helped DFI keep ongoing hardware’s costs to a minimum. More information can be found at http://ictprocurement.gov.ie/

A helpdesk system was also developed to support DFI staff having ICT issues, and this has proved very useful for staff. We are also steadily developing our video streaming capabilities around events and meetings. In July we began work investigating the use of smart mobile phones as a tool for delivering information to staff while on the move, and we hope to be able to provide central email, calendar and contacts through a smart phone, and in the long run access to other key information management systems. This project will have many benefits for DFI and the organisations we support.

Staff Structures, Changes and Training There were no changes in the staff team in 2010. However we have continued to assess how we deploy our staff resources in the context of the environment in which we are working, and the needs of our member organisations.Our training around PQASSO continued in 2010, with further workshops for staff and members taking place. We also carried out training in the areas of Managing Change, and Collaboration. These events were attended by DFI staff and staff from our membership. Further training took place around our website content management system. Wefound that inviting staff from our membership to be very beneficial for both DFI and our members. We commenced work on the development of a set of Staff Core Competencies.

DFI Information Services

Newsletter The DFI Newsletter is published monthly and has a wide circulation, as well as being available on the website. During the year we also published a special newsletter around the 2010 budget. The Newsletter continues to be an important information source for our member organisations and other stakeholders. DFI is conscious of the need to provide up-to-date and relevant information, particularly in the current environment, and the Newsletter is a valuable conduit for this process. The newsletter is still posted to 75 people in a variety of organisations in Ireland. We also use email to send it to almost 600 people. The newsletter section on our website is accessed on average 500 times ever month.

Website We worked towards ensuring that the DFI website is a key reference facility for member organisations and other stakeholders, and that it provides easy access to the monthly DFI Newsletter. The website is AAA accessible, and continues to expand and grow. The content of the website continues to be maintained and developed to meet the information demands of our stakeholders. Our website allows for detailed search functionality, including our newsletters and other uploaded documents.The introduction of the content management system in 2009 has proved a great success. It allows us to publish timely information while keeping our overall communication costs down.The use of the website continues to grow with over 90,000 visits in 2010 and 70,000 unique visits. It was also noted that the two most popular sections people visited are the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages.This shows a strong interest in our organisation and our work, but it also appears from this that the site is used as a way of making direct contact with staff.

Conclusion Corporate services development work in the areas of strategic planning,governance, finance, staff training and information services has ensured that DFI was well placed during 2010 to address the many and increasingly challenging issues that face the disability sector. Our continuing work in developing and updating our processes will ensure that we will strengthen DFI’s own ability to perform and support our members.

DFI Board 2010

Paul Ledwidge

(St Michael’s House)

Maurice O’Connell
Vice Chairperson

(Alzheimer Society of Ireland)

Anne Winslow

( MS Society of Ireland )

Anne Coffey

Don Bailey
(Vantastic Ltd)

Mike Glynn

Desmond Kenny

Kieran Loughran (to May 2010)
(Headway Ireland)

George Kennedy
(Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland)

Cliodhna O’Neill
(Rehab Group )

Joe T Mooney
(Muscular Dystrophy Ireland)

Joe Lynch (from May 2010)
(Parkinson’s Association)

John O’Sullivan (from May 2010)
(Enable Ireland)

National Council Member Organisations 2010

  • Action for Mobility
  • Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
  • Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  • APT
  • Arthritis Ireland
  • ASPIRE – Asperger Syndrome Association
  • Asthma Society of Ireland
  • BRAINWAVE – The Irish Epilepsy Association
  • BRÍ – Acquired Brain Injury Assoc.
  • CASA – Caring and Sharing Association
  • Central Remedial Clinic
  • Centre for Independent Living Mayo
  • Centre for Independent Living Tipperary
  • Centre for Independent Living Carmichael House
  • Cheeverstown House Ltd
  • COPE Foundation
  • Co Roscommon Support Group for People with Disabilities
  • Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland
  • DeafHear.ie
  • DEBRA Ireland
  • Disabled Drivers Association
  • Disabled People of Clare
  • Doorway to Life Ltd
  • Down Syndrome Ireland
  • Dyslexia Association of Ireland
  • Enable Ireland
  • Fighting Blindness
  • Focus Ireland (resigned August 2010)
  • Friedreich’s Ataxia Society of Ireland
  • Genetic and Rare Disorders Organisation
  • HAIL Housing Association for Integrated Living
  • Headway Ireland
  • Huntington’s Disease Association of Ireland
  • Irish Deaf Society
  • Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Irish Haeomophilia Society
  • Irish Kidney Association
  • Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association
  • Irish Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Society
  • Irish Society for Autism
  • Irish Wheelchair Association
  • Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation
  • KARE
  • Leitrim Association of People with Disabilities
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland
  • Muscular Dystrophy Ireland
  • NCBI
  • National Federation of Arch Clubs
  • Neurofibromatosis Association of Ireland
  • North West MS Therapy Centre
  • Parkinson’s Association of Ireland
  • Post Polio Support Group
  • Reach Ireland
  • Rehab Group
  • Royal Hospital Donnybrook
  • SHINE (Schizophrenia Ireland)
  • Sophia Housing Association Ltd
  • Special Olympics Ireland
  • Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland
  • Spinal Injuries Ireland
  • St Catherine’s Association
  • St Gabriel’s School and Centre
  • St Michael’s House
  • Vantastic Ltd
  • Vergemount Housing Fellowship
  • Walkinstown Association
  • Western Care Association

General Members

  • Ability West
  • ACTS (Accessible Community Transport Southside)
  • Anne Sullivan Centre
  • Arklow Disability Action Group
  • Bluestack Special Needs Foundation
  • Bodywhys
  • Camphill Communities of Ireland (Joined 20/10/2010)
  • Care Alliance Ireland
  • Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups
  • Centre for Independent Living Blanchardstown
  • Centre for Independent Living Carlow
  • Centre for Independent Living Cork
  • Centre for Independent Living Donegal
  • Centre for Independent Living Dublin 7
  • Centre for Independent Living Kilkenny
  • Centre for Independent Living Galway
  • Centre for Independent Living Offaly
  • Centre for Independent Living Sligo
  • Centre for Independent Living Waterford
  • Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP) (joined 9/2/2010)
  • Centre for Independent Living Wexford
  • Cheshire Ireland
  • Children in Hospital Ireland
  • Cork Accessible Transport
  • Crosscare Cedar Programme
  • Diabetes Federation of Ireland Southern Region
  • Dyspraxia Association of Ireland
  • Express Yourself Ltd
  • Extra Care
  • Féach
  • Fibromyalgia Support Group (Midlands)
  • FICTA - Federation of Irish Complementary Therapy Associations
  • GROW
  • Heart Children Ireland
  • Health Action Overseas
  • ICARE (Inishowen Children’s Autism Related Education Institute for Disability & Senior Citizens Ltd.
  • Irish Electromagnetic Radiation Victims Network
  • Irish Hard of Hearing Association
  • Lucan Disability Action Group
  • Mid West Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association
  • Migraine Association of Ireland
  • Neurological Alliance of Ireland
  • Noinin Support for Autism
  • North West Stroke Club
  • Oglaigh Náisiunta na hEireann Teo (ONET)
  • Out and About Association
  • Peacehaven Trust
  • Rathmines Community Partnership
  • Sonas APC Ltd
  • STEER– Support Training Education Employment Research (Joined 10/6/2010
  • St Joseph’s Centre for the Visually Impaired
  • St Mary’s Centre (Telford)
  • The Carers Association

DFI Associates

  • John Grooms
  • Ilikecake Ltd.

New Organisations Admitted to Membership in 2011

  • Voluntary Services International
  • Centre for Independent Living Gorey
  • West Limerick Independent Living (Joined 14/01/2010)
  • St. Hilda’s Services

Members resigning in 2011

  • Shine (Resigned February 2011)

Staff and Contact Details

National Office

Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 4547978 Fax: 01 4547981
Email: info@disability-federation.ie
Web: www.disability-federation.ie

Management Team

John Dolan
Chief Executive Officer

Allen Dunne
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Senior Executive Officer - Operational

Joanne McCarthy
Senior Executive Officer
Policy and Research

Denis Cadogan
Corporate Services & ICT Manager

Administration Support Team

Aaron Browne
Jacinta Dixon
Cathy McGrath
Mary Redmond
Alison Ryan
Eleanor Reece
Mairéad Holohan
John Doyle

Support Officers

Support Officer - Policy:Lillian Buchanan
Tel: 01 4547978
Email: lillianbuchanan@disability-federation.ie

Support Officer - Member Organisation Support: Dermot O’Donnell
Tel: 01 4547978
Email: dermotodonnell@disability-federation.ie

Eastern Region Support Officers for the Dublin, North East and Mid Leinster Regions are based in the National Office in Dublin

Dublin North Central, Dublin North, Dublin West Support Officer: Martin Naughton
Tel: 01 4547978
Mobile: 086 8207196
Email: martinnaughton@disability-federation.ie

Dun laoghaire, Dublin south East, Wicklow
Support Officer: Anthony Carrick
Tel: 01 4547978
Direct Line: 01 7090101
Mobile: 086 8206736
Email: anthonycarrick@disability-federation.ie

Dublin City, Dublin West, Kildare / West Wicklow
Support Officer: Louise McCann
Tel: 01 4547978
Direct Line: 01 4250126
Mobile: 086 9189750
Email: louisemccann@disability-federation.ie

Meath, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan
Support Officer: Joan O’Donnell
DFI, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 4547978
Direct Line: 01 4520122
Mobile: 086 3834587
Email: joanodonnell@disability-federation.ie

Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath
Support Officer: Jacqueline Grogan
DFI, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 4547978
Direct Line: 01 7080108
Mobile: 086 3882600
Email: jacquelinegrogan@disability-federation.ie

South East / South

Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford
Support Officer: P.J. Cleere
DFI, Tinryland, Carlow
Tel: 059 9179431
Mobile: 086 3811064
Email: pjcleere@disability-federation.ie

Cork, Kerry
Support Officer: Alison Ryan, DFI, C/o CIB, 101 North Main St., Cork
Tel: 021 4271752; Mobile: 086 3816323
Email: a.ryan@disability-federation.ie

West / Mid-West

Galway, Mayo, Roscommon
Support Officer: Michael Corbett,
DFI, Acres, Newport, Co Mayo
Tel: 098 41919
Fax: 098 41065
086 3804750
Email: michaelcorbett@disability-federation.ie

Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal
Support Officer: Marcus Hufsky,
DFI, St. Vincent’s Business Park, Finisklin Road, Sligo
Tel: 071 9144614, Mobile: 086 3811261
EMail: marcushufsky@disability-federation.ie

Tipprary n.r., Limerick, Clare
Support Officer: Toni Gleeson
DFI, ‘The Forge’, Croke Street Thurles Co Tipperary.
Tel: 0504 22977. Mobile 086-6004526
Email tonigleeson@disability-federation.ie


We wish to acknowledge the following people, who acted as DFI representatives, for their co-operation and work with DFI during the year.

HSE Regional Physical and Sensory Disability Co-Ordinating Committees

East Coast
Anthony Carrick (DFI)
Barbara Flynn (Friedreich’s Ataxia Society)
Helen McCarthy (Headway Ireland)
Kate Power (MDI) Alternate

North Dublin
Martin Naughton (DFI)
Joe T Mooney (MDI)
Karen Holmes (Post Polio Support Group
Sean Kinsella (MS Society) (Alternate)

North East
Joan O’Donnell (DFI)
Noreen O’Donnell (Brainwave

Alison Ryan (DFI)
Carmel Coughlan (MS Society)
Liz Owens (Headway Ireland) Alternate
Trudi Renshaw (MDI)

South East
P.J. Cleere (DFI)
Katie Hourigan, (MS Society Ireland)
Nan Sibbald Carlow CIL (RIP )
Declan Denny (Wexford CIL) (Alternate )

South West
Louise McCann (DFI)
Joan Bradley (PPSG)
Michael Kavanagh, (Acquired Brain Injury Ireland)

Jacqueline Thomson (DFI)
Anna Kelly (Brainwave)

Mid West
Margaret Bassett, (Brainwave)
Ann Marie Flanagan, (DPOC)
Toni Gleeson (DFI)

Gretta Allen MS Society (Alternate, Retired December 31st 2010)

Michael Corbett (DFI)

Aidan Larkin (MS Ireland)( Alternate)

North West
Marcus Hufsky (DFI)
Brian Crummy (PPSG) Alternate
Rosaleen Kielty (Leitrim Association)
Agnes Mooney (Brainwave)

HSE Local Consultative Committees

Carlow / Kilkenny
Mary Whittle (Waterford CIL)
Nan Sibbald (CIL Carlow) RIP
Catherine O’Hare (Headway)

Mary Whittles (Waterford CIL)
Annette Russell (Brainwave)

Doreen Costello (Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland)
Declan Denny (Wexford CIL)
Yvonne Rossiter (Acquired Brain Injury Ireland))

Tipperary South
Mary Heffernan (ABI Ireland))
Catherine O’Hare (Headway)
Annette Russell (Brainwave)

Regional Physical and Sensory Database Committee
Jo Ashby (MS Society)

We wish to acknowledge the following organisations and bodies for their co-operation and work with DFI during the year

  • Access Networks
  • Adare Human Resource Management
  • Advocacy Initiative
  • Age Action Ireland
  • Ageing Well Network
  • Amnesty International Ireland
  • Arthur Cox & Co
  • Boards of Management- County Childcare Committees
  • BoardMatch
  • Bray Advocacy Service
  • Bray Area Partnership Disability Cluster Group
  • CIB Advocacy Projects
  • Consortium of Physical and Sensory Disabilities in Donegal
  • Carers Alliance Ireland
  • Carlow Sports & Recreation Partnership
  • Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups
  • Cashel Gold Star Initiative
  • Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT)
  • Centre for Disability Law and Policy NUI Galway
  • Citizens Information Board
  • Children’s Rights Alliance
  • Claiming our Future
  • Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
  • Clondalkin Partnership: Equality Working Group Disability Network
  • ComReg Forum for People with Disabilities
  • Community and Voluntary Forums
  • Community Development Projects
  • County Development Boards (CDBs)
  • Community Partnerships
  • Community Platform
  • Community Workers’ Co-Operative
  • Communications Regulator - ComReg Forum
  • Congress Centres Network
  • County Childcare Committees
  • County Sports Partnerships
  • County Wicklow Citizens Information Service
  • Dáil and Seanad Eireann
  • Dept of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs
  • Dept of Communications, Marine& Natural Resources
  • Dept of Education and Skills: IRIS Project
  • Dept of Enterprise, Trade & Employment
  • National Advisory Committee on Disability
  • Dept of Environment, Heritage & Local Government: Committee on National Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities
  • Dept of Justice and Law Reform
  • Dept of Social Protection
  • Dept of the Taoiseach
  • Dept of Transport: Public Transport Access Forum and Accessible Taxi Consortium
  • Dochas Disability & International Development Working Group
  • Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Disability Consultation Group
  • DisabilityStakeholders Group (DSG)
  • National Disability Strategy Stakeholders Monitoring Group
  • Directors of Community and Enterprise
  • Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency (DESSA)
  • Enterprise Boards
  • European Parliament Office (Ireland)
  • European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities (EASPD)
  • FÁS Regional Networks
  • Gateway Advisory Committee
  • Galway Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Healthy Fingal Group
  • Helplines Network
  • Health Service Executive Disability Services
  • Institute of Public Administration
  • Irish Association of Supported Employment
  • Irish Charities Tax Research Limited
  • Irish Council for Social Housing
  • Irish Hospice Foundation
  • Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed
  • Irish Non-Profits Knowledge Exchange
  • IFG Pensions
  • Ilikecake
  • The Institute of Certified Public Certified Accountants in Ireland (CPA)
  • Institute of Public Chartered Accountants
  • Kathleen and Michael Connolly Foundation, Donegal
  • Irish Rural Link
  • Irish Senior Citizens Parliament
  • IT Carlow Access and Equality Committee
  • Kildare County Childcare Project Evaluation Sub-Committee
  • Kildare Leadership Partnership
  • Kilkenny Sports Partnership
  • Laois Sports Partnership: Disability Sub-Committee
  • Local Authority Access Audit Groups
  • Maeve Halpin Counseling
  • Mental Health Ireland
  • Mental Health Reform
  • Monaghan Access Centre for Independent Living
  • National Association of Building Co-Operatives
  • National Disability Authority
  • National Economic and Social Council (NESC)
  • National Economic and Social Forum (NESF)
  • National Federation of Voluntary Bodies Providing Services to People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • National Physical and Sensory Database Committee
  • National Women’s Council of Ireland
  • National Youth Council of Ireland
  • Not for Profit Business Association
  • National Implementation Group for the Assessment of Need
  • National Representative Council Advocacy Project
  • National Advisory Group (NAG) on Independent Living
  • Office for Disability and Mental Health
  • Office for Social Inclusion (OSI)
  • Office of the Minister for Children and Older People
  • Open Training College
  • Parents’ Networks
  • Partnership Companies
  • People with Disabilities in Ireland Ltd
  • Protestant Aid
  • Pobal
  • RAPID Programme Coordinators
  • Rathmines Pembroke Community Partnership
  • Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS)
  • SKILL - Isobel Butler, Independent Consultant
  • SKILL Training Programme
  • Society of St Vincent de Paul
  • Social Inclusion Measures (SIMS) Groups
  • Social Inclusion Network, South Dublin County Council
  • Social Justice Ireland
  • South Mayo Development Company
  • Support Agency Board of Management – South East
  • Sports Partnership Ability Forums
  • Tallaght Advocacy Service
  • TV Access Group
  • VHI Corporate Services
  • Vocational Education Committees
  • Volunteer Management Committees
  • Waterford Sports Partnership
  • The Wheel
  • Wicklow Access Group
  • Wicklow Disability Group
  • Wicklow Local Authority Access Group
  • Westmeath Advocacy for Mental Health – CIB Advocacy Project
  • Westmeath Disability Working Group
  • Wexford Local Development Partnership
  • Youth Services

DFI also wishes to acknowledge the support and co-operation of its member organisations

DFI is a member of the following organisations

  • Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH)
  • European Association of Service Providers to People with Disabilities (EASPD)
  • Irish Charity Tax Research Group (ICTRG)
  • The Wheel
  • The Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups


APPENDIX I Financial Statements

The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities


The directors present their annual report and the audited financial statements of the company for the year ended 31 December 2010.


Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is the national support organisation for voluntary disability organisations who provide services to people with diverse disabilities and conditions. DFI works to ensure that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions (hidden, intellectual, neurological, mental health, physical, and sensory), so that they can exercise fully their civil, social and human rights.

There are over 126 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, organisation and management development.

DFI also supports the broader voluntary and disability sector through its representation as the disability strand on the Community and Voluntary Pillar of the Social Partnership process and other fora at regional, national and European levels including the Health Service Executive. DFI is a member of the Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG) which engages with the government in monitoring and progressing the National Disability Strategy.


Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) works to ensure that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise fully their civil, social and human rights. In pursuit of this vision, DFI acts as an advocate for the voluntary disability sector, and supports organisations to further enable people with disabilities.


The company''s activities consist of promoting the affairs of organisations supporting people with disabilities. There has been no significant change in these activities during the year.

The majority of the company’s funding is from the State, and in the current environment this is more vulnerable than it would previously have been. A small amount of income, which is variable, comes from other sources. This income is also vulnerable.


The main risk and uncertainty facing the organisation at this time arises from the current economic environment. The organisation is dependent on grant funding received from the HSE. In a changing and uncertain environment, and having regard to on-going company repositioning work, there is also the risk associated with not prioritising the right areas of work.


The results for the year are considered satisfactory by the Board. Statutory funding which represents 95% of income is marginally better than expected in light of the downturn in the economy. During the year cost cutting measures continued to be applied across all areas of expenditure and where possible, expenditure was deferred to future years. As a result there was a surplus of €174,921 for the year. The board considered it prudent that this surplus should be transferred to Designated Funds to cover costs, which they have identified, and which will occur in future years.

Summary of Funds
Accumulated unrestricted funds at 1 January 157,526 157,526
Surplus for the year 174,921 227,138
Transfer to designated funds (174,921) (227,138)
Accumulated unrestricted funds at 31 December 157,526 157,526

The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities



The board is responsible for providing leadership, developing strategy and ensuring control. It is currently comprised of twelve non-executive directors. The board is provided with regular financial and operational information. It meets regularly, as required and met in full on eleven occasions in 2010. The role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are separate and the directors are independent of the management of the company. The company finalised the drafting of a Board Governance Manual. It was adopted by the board in December 2010. Guidance on best practice was obtained when preparing this manual. The company has set a target that its practice will be fully implemented in two years. The purpose of this manual is to support members of the DFI board to execute their duties as directors of the company.

Board Committees
The board has three sub-committees as follows:

Finance Sub-Committee: The purpose of this committee is to monitor significant financial planning, management and reporting matters of DFI and make recommendations and deliver reports to the board of DFI. It met six times during the year.

Premises Sub-Committee
The purpose of this committee is to consider options regarding the purchase of a premises and report to thebBoard of DFI. It met twice during the year

Board Governance Sub-Committee
This committee was charged with the preparation and drafting of a Governance Manual for the board. The committee met on a number of occasions during the year. As the manual was approved by the board in December 2010, this committee has completed its work. The Governance Manual requires the establishment of two Board sub-committees namely, Finance and Audit Compliance and Governance Compliance. These were established in early 2011.

Legal Status
DFI is a company limited by guarantee, not having a share capital. It was incorporated in Ireland under the Companies Acts, 1963, company registration number 140948. The objectives of the company are charitable in nature with established charitable status (Charity No. CHY 6177).

Budget Control
A detailed budget is prepared in line with the strategic plan and it is reviewed by the Finance Sub-Committee and further reviewed and approved by the board. Actual results and outcomes are compared against the budget to ensure alignment with the plan, and to maintain tight budgetary control and value for money.

Organisational structure
John Dolan, Chief Executive Officer, manages the operation of the charity with delegated responsibility to the executive staff.

Management and staff
We acknowledge, with appreciation the committed work of our staff and volunteers. Our success and achievements of our work is due to their dedication and tremendous contribution.

Health and safety
It is the policy of the company to ensure the health and welfare of its employees and clients by maintaining a safe place and systems in which to work. This policy is based on the requirements of the following legislation:

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations, 2007
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations, 2006
All Subsequent Regulations and Amendments

The company has a proactive approach to assisting all personnel to conduct the organisation’s business in a manner that protects the environment, our customers and employees. It is compliant with relevant environmental legislation.

Dividends and retention
The company is precluded by its Memorandum of Association from paying dividends either as part of normal operations or on a distribution of its assets in the event of a winding-up.

Following a decision of the board, work commenced during the year on introducing PQASSO (Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations) to DFI. A core team was established during the year which comprises members of the board, the National Council and staff. The first meeting of this team was held in December 2010.

In line with best practice and to exercise financial prudence the board has provided for a Development and Contingency Reserve to provide for any cash flow disruption which may arise equivalent to at least three month’s operating costs per the previous year’s financial statements and to allow for the development and repositioning of DFI. This Development & Contingency Reserve is included within designated reserves in the Balance Sheet.

There were no significant events since the year end.

To ensure that proper books and accounting records are kept in accordance with Section 202 Companies Act, 1990, the directors have employed appropriately qualified accounting personnel and have maintained appropriate computerised accounting systems. The books of account are located at the company’s premises at Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8.

The auditors, Deloitte & Touche, Chartered Accountants have expressed their willingness to continue in office in accordance with Section 160(2) of the Companies Act, 1963.

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 14 April 2011 and signed on its behalf by:

Anne Winslow Paul Ledwidge
Director Director

The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities
(a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital)

We have audited the financial statements of The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities T/A Disability Federation of Ireland for the year ended 31 December 2010 which comprise the Statement of Accounting Policies, the Income and Expenditure Account, the Balance Sheet, the Cash Flow Statement and the related notes 1 to 14.These financial statements have been prepared under the accounting policies set out in the Statement of Accounting Policies.

This report is made solely to the company''s members, as a body, in accordance with Section 193 of the Companies Act, 1990. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the company’s members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditors’ report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the company and the company’s members as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

Respective responsibilities of directors and auditors
The directors are responsible for preparing the financial statements, as set out in the Statement of Directors’ Responsibilities in accordance with applicable law and accounting standards issued by the Accounting Standards Board and published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (Generally Accepted Accounting Practice in Ireland).

Our responsibility, as independent auditor, is to audit the financial statements in accordance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements and International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland).

We report to you our opinion as to whether the financial statements give a true and fair view, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice in Ireland, and are properly prepared in accordance with Irish statute comprising the Companies Acts, 1963 to 2009. We also report to you whether in our opinion proper books of account have been kept by the company and whether the information given in the directors'' report is consistent with the financial statements. In addition, we state whether we have obtained all the information and explanations necessary for the purpose of our audit and whether the company''s balance sheet and income and expenditure account are in agreement with the books of account.

We also report to you if, in our opinion, any information specified by law regarding directors’ remuneration and directors’ transactions is not disclosed and, where practicable, include such information in our report.

We read the Directors’ Report and consider the implications for our report if we become aware of any apparent misstatement within it. Our responsibilities do not extend to other information.

Basis of audit opinion

We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland) issued by the Auditing Practices Board. An audit includes examination, on a test basis, of evidence relevant to the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. It also includes an assessment of the significant estimates and judgements made by the directors in the preparation of the financial statements and of whether the accounting policies are appropriate to the company’s circumstances, consistently applied and adequately disclosed.

We planned and performed our audit so as to obtain all the information and explanations which we considered necessary in order to provide us with sufficient evidence to give reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement, whether caused by fraud or other irregularity or error. In forming our opinion we evaluated the overall adequacy of the presentation of information in the financial statements.

Continued on next page/

/Continued from previous page

The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities
(a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital)

In our opinion the financial statements:

  • give a true and fair view, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice in Ireland, of the state of the affairs of the company as at 31 December 2010 and of its surplus for the year then ended; and
  • have been properly prepared in accordance with the Companies Acts, 1963 to 2009.

We have obtained all the information and explanations we considered necessary for the purpose of our audit. In our opinion proper books of account have been kept by the company. The company’s balance sheet and its income and expenditureaccount are in agreement with the books of account.

In our opinion the information given in the Directors'' Report is consistent with the financial statements.

Deloitte & Touche
Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors

28 April 2011

The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities

Grant income 1,882,048 1,930,054
SKILL grants for administration and small projects 77,143 85,458
  1,959,191 2,015,512
Expenditure (1,888,801) (1,907,904)
Surplus for year before other income 70,390 107,608
Members contributions/affiliation fees 78,678 77,133
Deposit interest received 22,828 27,650
Other income 3,025 14,747
Surplus for year before taxation 174,921 227,138
Surplus for year after taxation 174,921 227,138

There are no recognised surpluses or deficits other than the surplus arising from continuing operations disclosed above.

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 14 April 2011 and signed on its behalf by:

Anne Winslow Paul Ledwidge
Director Director

The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities

TANGIBLE ASSETS 14,895 18,037
Debtors (Amounts falling due within one year) 99,677 52,723
Cash at bank and in hand 1,801,005 1,634,038
Cash held on behalf of SKILL 381,250 553,000
  2,281,932 2,239,761
Creditors (Amounts falling due within one year) 142,216 123,050
Deferred income 222,936 206,244
SKILL grants deferred and held on behalf of members 381,250 553,000
participating in the SKILL programme (746,402) (882,294)
NET CURRENT ASSETS 1,535,530 1,357,467
NET ASSETS 1,550,425 1,375,504
Accumulated funds - unrestricted 157,526 157,526
Designated reserves 1,392,899 1,217,978
  1,550,425 1,375,504

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 14 April 2011 and signed on its behalf by:

Anne Winslow Paul Ledwidge
Director Director


APPENDIX II Collaborative Projects


DFI recognises the central role of Local Government and community organisations have in the provision and co-ordination of services in the mainstream for people with disabilities. DFI was involved in many projects with Local Authorities, including SIMs Groups, Partnerships and others. These activities covered many issues and areas, including, amongst others:

  • Access and Awareness Projects: Working with Local Authorities, County Development Boards, Disability Strategy Groups and other consultative fora to raise awareness of access issues, to promote awareness of and access to disability and other services, and to support the implementation of the Local Access Strategies with Local Authorities.
  • Awareness Training Programmes; Community and school programmes to promote awareness of disability issues for all stakeholders in the community.
  • Disability Planning Projects: Promoting universal access and planning issues.
  • Employment Seminars: To meet the needs of all unemployed people in the community, including disabled people.
  • Children’s Services: Working with Children’s Services Committees and Development Workers to bring information on current and developing services to parents of children with disabilities.
  • Housing Review: Project to assess the possibility of adapting some excess housing for disability purposes.
  • Social Inclusion: Working with Social Inclusion Development Officers in in many local authorities
  • Research and Collaboration: Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

DFI is involved in a wide range of shared accommodation projects for disability organisations around the country these include

  • CORK : Shared Accommodation, Resources andExpertise Project: Cork Common Ground Cork CityCouncil, HSE and Sexual Health Centre - To create a civic space in which quality voluntary sector services in Cork will be enhanced
  • CORK: Gilber Centre: Mallow Resource and Outreach Centre:DFI with IWA, HSE, NCBI, MS Ireland, Avondu Development, Mallow Access Group, Cork Deaf Association and the National Learning Network - Resource and Outreach Centre for Mallow Area
  • MAYO: Shared Office Accommodation: Mosaic Project Group, VEC, Local Employment • Service, Mayo, RehabCare, Mayo CIL, WorkWeb West, South Mayo Development Company, Cuan Mobh - Project to provide shared office accommodation and other collaborative work, including projects in relation to policy development, joint purchasing, human resources and insurance projects
  • WATERFORD: Shared Services and Supports Project: An innovative project to provide an outreach centre for organisations to meet service users in the community and for the provision of information, networking, a base for transport, counseling and other services for adults with disabilities. .


  • Citizens Information Board - Advocacy Projects for people with Disabilities: DFI was involved in over 20 advocacy projects around the country, including chairing several of the project Steering Groups. DFI participated on the Citizens Information Board National Advisory Group to support the evaluation of the Disability Advocacy Programme
  • Living Option Project Board : DFI and Cheshire Ireland: Advocacy project to support Cheshire residents
  • St. Michael’s House Rights Review Committee which advocates for the rights of people who have accommodation or services provided by St. Michael’s House.
  • Mayo Disability Advocacy Service Steering Group
  • Western Care Rights Review Committee


  • South and Mid-West Community Development Support Agency: DFI Mid-West Support Officer acts as Chairperson of the Management Committee – regional support to community groups and family resource centres in the South and Mid-West Regions.
  • Sports Partnerships: Supporting Ability Forums and direct collaboration with theSocial Inclusion Disability Officers in the planning and promotion of activities and strategies. Represented on some Sports Partnership.s
  • West Limerick Resources Partnership Company: Member of the Disability Cluster of West Limerick Resources.
  • Cashel Gold Star Award for Accessibility: HSE Community Development Department - Collaboration in the provision of workshops on disability awareness training, participation in forums and promotion of the project across all activities in the region
  • Healthy Fingal Group: Working with Healthy Fingal Group to promote and raise awareness of healthy activities for all local people
  • Irish Sports Council – DFI is a member of the Sports Inclusion Development Officer (SIDO) National Steering Committee

Other Collaborative Projects
DFI has also been involved in a range of other projects which have adapted a collaborative approach these include:

  • Carers Week: DFI was a partner in Carer’s Week 2010. This was a one week celebration of the valuable role that carers play in the lives of those with whom they have a caring role. The week is organised by Care Alliance on a national basis and involves events throughout the country.
  • Accessibility and Availability of Taxis for People with Disabilities: The Accessible Taxi Consortium met on a number of occasions to progress the issue of accessibility and availability of taxis for people with disabilities. Meetings were held with Senior Officials of the Department of Transport as well as a regular information exchange and meetings schedule with the Commissioner for Taxi Regulation. A number of parliamentary questions were also brought forward by members of the consortium.
  • TV Access for All: The work of this group to seek accessible TV for all. The group comprises, NCBI, DFI, Central Remedial Clinic, Irish Deaf Society, Age Action Ireland, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, DeafHear.ie, Irish Hard of Hearing Association, People with Disabilities in Ireland, Kildare Access Association.
  • CIL Carmichael House: Working to support CIL CMH to respond to the decision of the CIL national network that CIL CMH to act as the voice for CIL nationally
  • National Advisory Group on Independent Living (NAG): Working to develop a partnership approach to the philosophy of Independent Living, and incorporating its values and ethos into service developments for people with disabilities.
  • Neurological Alliance of Ireland:Primary Care Project: To develop a collaborative approach to communication and knowledge with Primary Care Teams and frontline neurological support staff from Member organisations.

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is the national support organisation for voluntary disability organisations that provide services to people with diverse disabilities and conditions.

DFI works to ensure that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions, hidden, intellectual, neurological, mental health, physical, and sensory, so that they can exercise fully their civil, social and human rights. In pursuit of this vision, DFI

  • Acts as an advocate for the voluntary disability sector
  • Supports organisations to further enable people with disabilities.

There are over 126 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
  • Organisation and Management Development

DFI also supports the broader voluntary and disability sector through its representation of the disability strand on the Community and Voluntary Pillar of the Social Partnership process and other fora at regional, national and European levels including the Health Service Executive.

For further information go to www.disability-federation.ie

Disability Federation of Ireland
Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4547978
Fax: 01-4547981
Email: info@disability-federation.ie
Web: www.disability-federation.ie

The 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