I blogged earlier on the role of Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations captured in the government’s recently published “Fulfilling Potential” documents that set out their approach to enable disabled people to fulfil their potential and play a full role in society.
Having covered all the references to DPULOs in “Fulfilling Potential: the discussion so far”, this post focuses on the references to DPULOs in “Fulfilling Potential: next steps”.
(Note as before: there are a significant number of references in both Fulfilling Potential documents to disabled people’s organisations. This will include DPULOs, but because it can also include organisations that aren’t user-led, I’ve only drawn out below specific references to DPULOs.)
The opening section of Next Steps, which contains quotes from people commenting on the approach of Next Steps, highlights the central role of DPULOs. Liz Sayce, CEO of the DPULO Disability Rights UK, is quoted, noting the role DPULOs will play in taking the work of Next Steps forward. Similarly, Mike Adams of ecdp* also cites the work of DPULOs in contributing to the discussion and playing a part in delivering Next Steps. Jennie Price, the CEO of Sport England, highlights the work they are doing with the Strengthening DPULOs Programme, and the new Crown Representative for the Voluntary Sector – Michael O’Toole – talks about how he is looking forward to enable DPULOs to bid for contracts.
Paragraph 4.3 is absolutely key: it states that the Office for Disability Issues will establish a cross-sector disability action alliance. Importantly, this alliance will be convened by a DPULO – Disability Rights UK – putting DPULOs at the very heart of the Next Steps document and approach.
(For those who like these sorts of things, there is a lovely symmetry here: recommendation 4.3 of the Improving Life Chances of Disabled People report in 2005 was the main driver for increased awareness and involvement of (DP)ULOs in the public sector.)
Section 2(iii) again highlights the work of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme to build the capability of DPULOs through the £3m Facilitation Fund and practical support from Ambassadors and the National Lead in England, Scotland and Wales.
In Section 2(iv) of the disability action alliance framework for action, the importance of building community capacity – including developing DPULOs – to take stronger roles in delivering commissioned services, particularly in early intervention, is noted.
Similarly, Section 2(viii) notes that DPULOs will be encouraged further to deliver independent support, advice and advocacy with support from the Strengthening DPULOs Programme. We will disseminate best practice and share potential new business models to grow capacity and market awareness. It is further highlighted that this could have benefits in enabling disabled people to understand and realise their rights under the UN Convention, the Equality Act and in respect of public services and benefits.
Section 4(iv) notes that government will explore new and innovative funding mechanisms by bringing together DPULOs – with social investment experts, funders, and government departmets – to discuss ways to better access funding, as well as organisations can engage better with contracting and tendering processes.
Once again, I’ve blogged this both to (a) show how DPULOs are central to the government’s work in this area; and (b) to equip DPULOs with parts of the Next Steps document they can refer to in their own conversations with local councils and other funders. (Don’t forget: you can also quote which bits of the “Fulfilling Potential: the discussion so far” document DPULOs are mentioned in, too.)