An overview of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme

Over the last few weeks, I’ve posted a lot about “DPULOs”. This is because I’ve taken up a new role on a programme to strengthen and build the sustainability of disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs).

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak about the programme to Equality 2025 and at the legacy and learning event of Disability LIB.

To help explain a bit about what the programme is, what it is trying to do and how it is trying to do it, below is the briefing I used to give an overview of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme.

Overall aims

The overall aims of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme are to:

  • Ensure that DPULOs are able to provide a strong voice for disabled people
  • Create stronger DPULOs that will be able to sustain themselves in the future and provide more services to disabled people.

As a result, the programme will support DPULOs to support disabled people to live independently and have more choice and control over all areas of their lives.

How this will be achieved

To achieve the aims of the programme, the ODI has brought together a number of different parts.

The first part is Ambassadors. These are 12 individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds who can help make change happen at a local level. They support DPULOs in their appointed region to have the right conversation or right information at the right time. They also make the case for DPULOs to people from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The second part is Experts. Again drawn from a variety of backgrounds, sectors and policy areas, these individuals can be called upon flexibly to offer their experience and expertise to Ambassadors and the work they are engaged in at a local level in order to help deliver change. This support can take several different forms: it’s whatever a DPULO needs at a given time.

The third part is the Facilitation Fund. Worth £3m over 4 years, this resource is available for DPULOs to bid for on a flexible basis, depending on local circumstances and the type of support needed. The Facilitation Fund has been developed in coproduction with disabled people and DPULOs.

Supporting all of the above is the National Lead [this is my role]. Using expertise based within both the ODI and a DPULO, this role will also coordinate what is happening inside and outside government, as well as facilitate a network for capturing, aggregating and sharing information and learning on what works.

Where we are now

The programme was launched by the Minister on 20 July, accompanied by various forms of communication and press activity.

All 12 Ambassadors are in place and met with each other on 17 August. We have begun to create a directory of Experts [let me know if you’d like to be added to this].

We have started to receive applications to the Facilitation Fund. The first round of decisions will be made in early September.

We are keen to ensure that as many DPULOs are aware of the programme and what it can support them with.

Further information

You’re very welcome to contact me about the programme, either here or on Twitter (@rich_w).

General information about the programme is available on the ODI’s website.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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