Press Release

Review of Disability Services under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2008-2011

Mr. John Moloney, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health has announced the establishment of a Steering Group to oversee a Review of the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Disability Services in Ireland. The Steering Group is chaired by an independent chairperson, Mr. Laurence Crowley, and has two other independent members, as well as members drawn from the Disability Sector, Department of Health and Children, the Department of Finance and the Health Services Executive (HSE).

Minister Moloney said “This in-depth review of Disability Services, will assess how well current services for people with disabilities meet their objectives and facilitate the future planning and development of services”. The Minister added “I would also like to thank Mr. Crowley for agreeing to chair the Steering Group.”

The evaluation will focus on the current provision of disability services and explore the way forward for the development of services within a value for money and policy framework. The objectives of the Review are to:

  • Carry out an examination of disability services in Ireland wholly or partly funded from Vote 40 (HSE), including the statutory and non-statutory sectors.
  • Deliver a comprehensive analysis of data in relation to services and service providers.
  • Deliver a full report by September 2010.
  • Deliver an implementation plan to address the findings and recommendations of the final report.

A significant element of the project is a policy review which will:

  • Define and describe the objectives of the Disability Services going forward;
  • Consider the extent to which existing policies are consistent with delivery of those objectives;
  • Assess whether current policies and investments arising from those policies are sustainable in the context of the changing economic climate.
  • Propose the policy changes, if any, needed to ensure that overall objectives are delivered.

A structured consultation process with both service users and service providers will be an integral part of the Review. In preparation for this process, the Minister would encourage interested parties to start formulating their views, and also to start documenting any examples of best practice, efficiencies and effectiveness which they would like to bring to the attention of the review project team. Submissions will be invited from the public shortly.

The Terms of Reference for the Review are attached at Appendix1. A list of the membership of the Steering Group is at Appendix 2.

Appendix 1

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for this review are as follows:

  1. Identify the objectives, which have pertained to date, for the disability services programme in the health sector.
  2. Examine the current validity of those objectives and their compatibility with the overall strategy of the Department of Health and Children, the National Disability Strategy and Towards 2016.
  3. Define the outputs associated with the programme activity and identify the level and trend of those outputs.
  4. Identify any issues with the availability of information regarding current outputs and outcomes.
  5. Examine the extent to which the programme’s objectives have been achieved, and comment on the effectiveness with which they have been achieved.
  6. Identify the level and trend of costs and staffing resources associated with the disability services and thus comment on the efficiency with which it has achieved its objectives. Compare overall costs, including wage costs and non-pay costs, across the sector [both statutory and non-statutory].
  7. Having regard to the range of providers of disability services, examine whether there is scope to minimise overheads, including administrative costs, management structures, research, advertising, profile-building, and infrastructure costs.
  8. Evaluate the degree to which the objectives warrant the allocation of public funding on a current and ongoing basis and examine the scope for alternative policy or organisational approaches to achieving these objectives on a more efficient and/or effective basis.
  9. Specify potential future performance indicators that might be used to better monitor the performance of the disability services programme.
  10. A final robust report containing findings and recommendations in relation to TORs 1 to 9 above.

Appendix 2

Membership of Review Steering Group

Name Mr. Laurence Crowley, Chairperson Mr. Gerard Flood Mr. James O’Dwyer Mr. Brendan Broderick, Chief Executive Officer, Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary Services Mr. John Dolan, Chief Executive Officer, Disability Federation of Ireland Ms. Bairbre Nic Aongusa, Director, Office for Disability & Mental Health, Department of Health and Children (DoHC) Mr. Jim Breslin, Assistant Secretary, Finance, Performance Evaluation, Information & Research, DoHC Ms. Patricia Purtill, Sectoral Policy Unit, Department of Finance (DoF) Mr. Cormac Gilhooly, Central Policy Evaluation Unit, DoF Mr. Ger Crowley, Director, Regional Health Office -South, HSE Ms. Yvonne O’Neill, Assistant National Director, VFM Directorate, HSE

The objectives of the Government’s Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative are to analyse Exchequer spending in a systematic manner and to provide a basis on which more informed decisions can be made on priorities within and between programmes. It is one of a range of modernisation initiatives aimed at moving public sector management away from the traditional focus on inputs to concentrate on the achievement of results.

Value for Money Reviews are undertaken under the aegis of steering committees which are representative of the Departments/Offices managing the programmes/areas being reviewed. For the more significant reviews an independent Chairperson is appointed and the Department of Finance is generally represented on the steering committees. Within the Department of Finance a Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit was established in mid-2006 to promote best practice in the evaluation and implementation of programme and project expenditure across all Government Departments and Public Sector Agencies. The Unit focuses in particular on ensuring that Department of Finance frameworks in relation to the appraisal and management of programmes and projects are being implemented, and overseeing ongoing Programme Evaluation under the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative and the National Development Plan.

Details of the various initiatives under the Value for Money Framework are available under the Policy Areas and Publications section of the Department of Finance website