€4.5m Fund to Support the Reform of Disability Services

The Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath TD, today announced a €4.5m fund to support the reform of disability services.

The Minister said, “This Government’s objective is to deliver disability services that are person –centred, putting those who need supports at the centre of all our activities. The objective of this fund is to put people with disabilities at the heart of service delivery and supports, enabling them to lead self-directed lives in the community. This is in line with my philosophy since being appointed Minister – that the person with the disability is at the very centre of our focus of attention.The Service Reform Fund represents a significant commitment to that reform across disability services in Ireland.”

This funding is part of the Service Reform Fund (SRF) which was established by the Department of Health, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the HSE and Genio to support the implementation of reforms in disability and mental health services in Ireland. The SRF represents a total combined investment of €45m by the Department and Atlantic to re-configure existing services towards more person-centred supports which are also more transparent, accountable and cost-effective, in line with government policy.

The Country Director of the Atlantic Philanthropies, Mary Sutton, said, “The Atlantic Philanthropies have supported innovation and reform in disability services in Ireland, in collaboration with the Irish Government, since 2010. The Service Reform Fund is an important step forward in transforming services at a much broader level, reaching many more people around the country.

Funding will be allocated under three streams:

  1. Community Living – supporting people to move from congregated settings or institutions to the community; to have improved living arrangements in the community; and to lead self-directed, meaningful lives, engaged in local and mainstream activity. This will be aimed at those who are moving from an institution or those at risk of institutionalisation.
  2. Reform of day services to person-centred supports – supporting alternative ways of meeting the work, education, training and recreation needs of people with a disability within mainstream, community settings.
  3. Alternative Respite – developing a range of non-institutional respite options for individuals and their families.

Regional HSE representatives (i.e. Community Healthcare Organisations) will invite consortia – including people with disabilities, family members, service providers and community groups – to work together to develop proposals for funding. Consultations will take place over the coming months with service users, families and service providers across Ireland to develop realistic, sustainable plans to reconfigure services.

Funding will be awarded by the Genio Trust through a rigorous application process jointly assessed by the Genio Trust and the HSE.

“HSE acknowledges the role of the Service Reform Fund as a key enabler in creating a more modern support service for people with disabilities. Embedding change in a partnership way with service users, families, community healthcare organisations and service providers will assist in ensuring a sustainable change model with the service user central to the process. HSE is aware of the challenges that change can present and is committed to engaging with all stakeholders to ensure the available resources are utilised to best effect”, stated Mr Pat Healy, National Director of HSE Social Care.

“The Service Reform Fund provides an important opportunity to support people with disabilities in a personalised way, to live a meaningful lives, as valued members of the community. We are listening to what people with disabilities and their families are telling us, and working to put supports in place that respond to individual needs, enabling people to make their own choices about their lives,” stated Madeleine Clarke, Executive Director, Genio.

Updates will be available through the HSE Community Healthcare Organisations and www.genio.ie/srf-disability.