Mapping and analysing the #DPULO sector: what should we look for?

No current, detailed full analysis of the DPULO sector currently exists.

Initial information on the DPULO sector was developed through mapping work in 2007 done by the Department of Health and last updated in 2009 by the (then) National Centre for Independent Living. However, this mapping work focused on identifying what user-led organisations exist and in what area. It didn’t necessarily tell us much about DPULOs – their size, work, robustness etc.

The Strengthening DPULOs Programme has built on this mapping work over the last 15 months. It has a database of over 320 DPULOs, and includes the following data for around 2/3 of the DPULOs on that list:

  • DPULO name
  • DPULO postcode
  • Contact name
  • Impairment group(s) covered
  • Online presence (i.e. website, Facebook profile, Twitter account).

I’ve been thinking about what we might want in any full analysis of the DPULO sector. Below is the list so far.:

  • General information
    • DPULO name
    • DPULO postcode
    • Contact (CEO) first name
    • Contact (CEO) surname
    • Contact email address
  • Business information
    • Impairment groups covered – LD / LTHC / MH / PI / PSI
    • Number of FT staff = number
    • Number of PT staff = number
  • Financial information
    • Income and expenditure 2009/10 = number
    • Income and expenditure 2010/11 = number
    • Income and expenditure 2011/12 = number
    • For 2011/12
      • Total contract income
      • Total grants income
      • Total “other” income
  • Communications information
    • Number of members
    • Website address
    • Website = yes / no
    • Twitter account = yes / no
    • Facebook account = yes / no

Other useful suggestions for information to add include:

  • What assets each DPULO has
  • What membership / supporter numbers they have
  • What data they hold

If the analysis was going to be done, it should be as good as possible (notwithstanding all the usual problems with mapping, gapping and quality of data). I’d be really interested if people have any other things they think it would be useful to find out about. If there are, let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter using @rich_w.


Published by


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

7 thoughts on “Mapping and analysing the #DPULO sector: what should we look for?”

  1. re you safe in assuming that they are all DPULOs and not just claiming to be? Do you need to ask questions to check that?
    Also maybe –
    how many staff (expressed as FTE)
    how many volunteers
    how many staff and volunteers are disabled

    What support or services do they offer, maybe using the old DH definition of what activities they thought ULOs should undertake. Has that definition been revisited at all, or is it time for disabled people to say what they want DPULOs to do?

    1. Thanks for your thoughts – very useful.

      We’ve done as much work as we can do in knowing whether an org is a DPULO or not. Unfortunately, it’s not an exact science – for many reasons! – and this issue is something we’re always conscious of.

      Is a useful reminder to looks at types of services, as well as sources of income – thanks!

  2. Your list seems pretty comprehensive but I agree it would be good to know how genuine they are as DPOs such as what proportion of disabled staff and volunteers they have etc, I also think it would be useful to have a brief picture of activities to know if they are chiefly service providers in the narrow sense e.g. advice etc as distinct from focusing entirely on helping disabled people have their voice heard.Also do we know how many DPOs have contracts for direct payment support services? It would be good to get a picture of this to show they have a key role to play in the implementation of personal budgets etc.

    1. Thanks Clare – really useful. Good point re: proportions of staff etc. and we’ll do what we can to collect this.

      It was the Q of contracts for DP Support Services that made me think of all of this in the first place. Ideally, I’d like to explore the correlation of the presence of such support services with DP uptake, and this would be the first phase of doing that.

      Will keep you posted!

  3. Hello Rich,

    This seems like a 1 – 2 year project with outcomes, lots of thought required and implementation of a sustainable business solution. For example,

    This looks [partly] like an exercise to use data attributes. This data may be “open” or held privately by the respective DPULO. In order to promote such an exercise, DPULOs will wish to see value in exchange for their work to offer the information.

    DPULOs might volunteer the information if they see there is a return. Being more open might help attract funds or volunteers etc…..

    This process is akin to the use of Community Benefit Clauses, or companies declaring themselves as SMEs. The Cabinet Office might then derive procurement statistics to show evidence of such a policy or not being achieved, or progress being made.

    Where the data is open, it can be scraped from sources e.g. Companies House, DH, OSCR, ODI and DWP published lists, Charity Regulator, NCVO…..etc. This might be done by e.g. Open Knowledge Foundation

    Alternatively, you might explore the use of codes and flags to ensure that DPULOs were meeting certain criteria.

    You could join a Hackathon or ask the Open Data Institute to help.

    So I think this is an ideal opportunity for Government to work with DPULOs and technology to deliver benefits.

    But it would benefit from other stakeholders being included in the design and testing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s