There is – rightly – the need to demonstrate what value is added by different forms of organisation, either in representation or in public service delivery.
In this regard, Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations are no different.
Below are some thoughts on the qualitative value that DPULOs add beyond that of other organisations. This is then followed the outcomes that DPULOs uniquely offer.
These are intended as a starting point – please feel free to add or discuss these as much as possible. Furthermore, if you have any quantitative data to add to the developing evidence base on the value added by DPULOs, please get in touch!
The value added by DPULOs includes, though is not limited to, the following:
- DPULOs provide the ‘voice’ of disabled people. Though this can focus on service provision, it also includes input to equality schemes, access and involvement groups and other less formal forums
- DPULOs can and do work across more than one policy area – they are more easily able to ‘join up the dots’ on the ground, responding to the needs of an individual rather than a care-and-support or housing recipient. This can particularly be seen in their central involvement in the current Right to Control Trailblazers
- Where services are delivered by DPULOs, they are typically shaped and delivered by service users, meaning they provide a peer-to-peer approach which calls upon direct personal experience
- DPULOs are more nimble than statutory agencies – they are informed by the ‘what works’ dynamic and can adjust quicker in response to changing circumstances
- To find solutions to individual or collective issues, DPULOs are able to pool creativity, knowledge and experience. This equates to using the ‘lived experience’ of disabled people for the benefit of their peers.
As such, the following outcomes can be offered uniquely by DPULOs, above and beyond any other organisations:
- DPULOs have legitimacy, both with users and service commissioners
- DPULOs offer pathways for service users to realised their social capital, be it formally or informally, and therefore contribute to their local communities
- DPULOs operate from a values base which encompasses the social model of disability and the principles of independent living.