Press Release

Provision of Disability Services by Non-profit Organisations

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today welcomed the publication of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report of a Value for Money Examination entitled Provision of Disability Services by Non-Profit Organisations.

The Tánaiste said “This is a very timely report, coming as it does against the background of the National Disability Strategy, the significant additional resources which the Government is now providing for disability services and the enactment of the Disability Act 2005”.

The Tánaiste paid tribute to the work done by voluntary organisations over many years in meeting the needs of people with disabilities. “It is fair to say that, historically, these organisations often stepped in to provide a wide range of services for people with disabilities at a time when the State was not in a position to offer support” she said.

The State now provides very significant funding to non-profit organisations involved in delivering disability services – €877m in 2004. The larger organisations – 25 in total – received an average of over €24m each in 2004. “It is necessary and appropriate, therefore, to ensure that this funding is used to provide the best possible outcomes for people with disabilities” the Tánaiste said.

The report highlights the need for better governance and greater accountability. It refers to the need to examine contested procurement of services based on comparative costs for direct service provision. It says there should be formal specification of services being procured coupled with better performance monitoring and evaluation, and greater transparency in financial reporting.

As the Report points out, implementation of Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 will involve individual needs assessments and service statements, comprehensive client databases and mechanisms to ensure compliance with standards. This focus on meeting the assessed needs of individuals will have to be reflected in the way services are procured by the HSE from voluntary organisations.

The Tánaiste said she would now be asking the Health Service Executive to engage with the voluntary organisations to ensure an early and positive response to the Report’s findings. She went on to say: “This will be done in a way which meets the best interests of people with disabilities and which respects the partnership arrangements between the HSE and voluntary organisations. I look forward to seeing an even stronger partnership, incorporating improved governance and accountability, between the State and the non-profit sector as we continue to develop better services for people with disabilities.”

This report may be accessed through the website of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office.