New employment-related opportunity for #DPULO

Posting this here so can share it more easily on Twitter!

Are you a DPULO in Scotland, Wales, North West, Yorkshire & Humberside, West Midlands, East of England or London?

If so, the Strethening DPULO Programme is inviting Expressions of Interest from you, for a new area of work that seeks to support disabled people who have been out of the employment field for several years and are keen to start their journey back into employment. 

DPULOs in the areas listed above are invited you to put forward your ideas for delivering innovative peer support jobs collectives. These unique peer support groups will offers a mix of social and work ready activities to support disabled people and provide opportunities for DPULOs to build relationships with their local Job Centre Plus office(s). 

If you are interested and would more information on this, and on how to submit an Expression of Interest please email us at: ODI.BUSINESSPERFORMANCE@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK


Strengthening DPULOs Programme monthly update, no.11 (February 2013) #dpulo

This is the 11th monthly update about the Strengthening DPULOs Programme, which aims to ensure DPULOs can provide a strong voice for disabled people by being more sustainable. You can find all 10 of the previous updates here:

Since this is the first monthly update of 2013 this is something of a bumper edition of news, useful links and resources, which we hope you find useful.

DPULOs Making A Difference: Disability Hate Crime”

As part of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme, we are developing the ‘DPULOs Making A Difference’ series. The series will comprise of collections of practical case studies which demonstrate how DPULOs have and are making a difference in their local communities.

We’re delighted the first in this series of case studies has been published: “DPULOs Making A Difference: disability hate crime”. The case studies are written by a DPULO – Access Dorset – and demonstrate how nine DPULOs have made a difference in addressing disability hate crime.

These have also been shared with all Police & Crime Commissioners and police forces. We’d also encourage you to share them with any relevant contacts you have, too.

You can download the case studies here: DPULOs Making A Difference: disability hate crime

If you are on Facebook, photos of the launch event are here.

A full overview of DPULOs

We have published a post that links together as much of the key information about DPULOs that we know about. This includes (a) What is a DPULO? (b) What DPULOs exist? (c) What value do DPULOs add? (d) What does the government think of DPULOs? (e) What evidence is there concerning DPULOs?

You can find the post and all the information it includes here.

DPULOs news

Below are some great news stories from DPULOs across Great Britain. If you have any news you’d like to share, let us know!

Useful resources

One key part of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme is to share learning and useful resources. Our bumper edition of useful links and resources is below:

If you have any learning or resources you’d like to share or have any resources you’d particularly like, please let us know (contact details are at the bottom of this update).

Find out more about the Programme

To find out more about the Strengthening DPULOs Programme, you can visit our website.

We have 250 “likes” on our Facebook page. If you are on Facebook perhaps you’d like to like us, too? We regularly update the page with lots of information you will hopefully find useful, plus news from other DPULOs:

If you are on Twitter, you can share information and find out more about DPULOs using the hashtag #dpulo.

As always, we’d be grateful if you can spread the word and publicise this news throughout your networks / newsletters / websites etc. We’d also be grateful for any feedback you have on this regular email.

Contact us

For information, biographies, contact details and details of the areas covered by each of the DPULO Ambassadors covers, please visit the Ambassadors page.

If you have any questions about the Facilitation Fund or any part Strengthening DPULOs Programme, please contact

Please feel free to forward this information on to any DPULOs, networks or stakeholders you think might find it interesting. If you didn’t receive the original email, please share your contact details with us so you can receive our monthly emails.

Personal note

I’ll be leaving my secondment role with the Strengthening DPULOs Programme in the next week to take up a new role at the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi –, leading their mental health programme. One of the existing Ambassadors will take on the National Lead responsibilities (including the monthly bulletin!) and we’ll share further information on this as soon as we have it.

My personal thanks to everyone I’ve worked with and met in this role. It’s been a privilege working with so many great people and DPULOs, and I have every confidence you’ll carry on being a vital part of your local communities.

For info, you can still find me on Twitter @rich_w and on this blog!

WiltshireCIL: a #dpulo following local people’s prioirities

WiltshireCIL was supported through the Facilitation Fund of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme to explore the issues local disabled people wanted to focus on, and so enhance their sustainability. Below, Clare Evans – the Chair of WiltshireCIL – shares some reflections on their recent work.

The best thing about a strengthening DPULO grant is that you can apply for funding to meet disabled peoples’ agenda and not have to fit into funders’ agenda.

WiltshireCIL got a grant to reach more disabled people by involving members as volunteers in meeting the needs of others.

We started by inviting any disabled people from our mailing list of several hundred to come and discuss how the project should develop.

Four areas came up as priorities:

  • Informing disabled people about social policy to enable them to influence it
  • To provide disabled people with learning IT opportunities
  • Investigating how to assist self funders on social care
  • Supporting disabled people influence locally and gain skills targeting Salisbury area of Wiltshire

As we draw to the end of our year long project we can see that some areas have been followed through successfully while others not so.

First the “not so” ones! We advertised widely an opportunity to learn IT skills from scratch and had 5 people enrol but only 2 finished the 4 sessions and there’s been no demand for more despite extensive advertising. It’s a bit worrying when you know the Welfare Reform changes are based on everyone getting online to fill in forms, but somehow people don’t perceive local organisations as being able to support them with this.

Secondly we had plans with a local access group to develop some sessions in Salisbury but their leader became hospitalised and plans are on hold.

However what did work beyond our expectations was putting on an information session about the Welfare Reform changes – we are now planning our third conference; also similarly for ILF users.  A combination of speakers, presenting the facts clearly and an opportunity to discuss in groups in a safe place has met peoples’ needs though they remain anxious about the future. For self funders, we first contacted those who attended our Self Funders Forum for their ideas and then carried out a survey. We are now producing a signposting guide and Wiltshire Council has asked us to work with them on the issue to ensure we’re both as effective as possible.

We’re in touch with many more disabled people and are building systems to ensure we can publicise ourselves to them and others again.

Look out for the formal evaluation we’re preparing for the spring!

The most useful resources on commissioning and procurement

Commissioning, procurement and how accessible public sector contract opportunities are to voluntary sector organisations will always be a considerable issue. It’s one that isn’t short of people’s time, thoughts and efforts – either in the past, present or future.

Such efforts tend to fall into one of 3 categories:

  1. Resources that support voluntary sector organisations to be better at responding to procurement / tendering opportunities (toolkits, masterclasses, training courses etc.)
  2. Resources that support commissioners to make procurement and tendering more accessible for voluntary sector organisations (example policies, legislative or regulatory incentives etc.)
  3. Examples of where efforts have worked in practice (case studies, events etc.)

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say there are hundreds of publications dedicated to this topic. This post very briefly notes some of the most useful resources on commissioning and procurement that already exist or are on their way in each of the above, particularly for disabled people’s user-led organisations.

Resources that support voluntary sector organisations / DPULOs

Resources that support commissioners

Practical case studies

By definition, this post hasn’t tried to capture all resources on commissioning and procurement. However, if there are particularly good resources that aren’t included in the above please do let me know in the comments below or via Twitter (@rich_w).

Shopmobility Lochaber’s experience of implementing PQASSO #dpulo

PQASSO is a quality assurance system that many Voluntary & Community Sector organisations – including DPULOs – think about. Below, Shopmobility Lochaber – a DPULO based in Inverness-shire, Scotland – share their detailed experiences of obtaining PQASSO.

Sharing DASH’s journey (#dpulo)

It’s always great to hear about the difference the Facilitation Fund has made to a DPULO. Below, the Disablement Association Hillingdon – DASH – share what they’ve done through their Facilitation Fund award. Thanks to Angela Wegener for sending this to us.

Our award through the Facilitation Fund has led us on a journey that has opened up a number of opportunities for DASH as an organisation and its service users.

This award enabled us to set up a retail arm as Accredited Retailers for the Transforming Community Equipment Service, raising a small income by dispensing prescriptions and selling small aids and adaptations.

At the same time as this service was set up, our successful three year Transitions Project was coming to an end. This project had provided support for young people with a disability aged 16-25. The knowledge gained from this project had shown us that there was a real need to provide supported work experience placements for young people with disabilities, who when they leave college do not have any opportunity to gain experience and find employment.

Working with Hillingdon Adult Education we set up a small pilot project to trial work experience placements for a small number of their students who were on an ALDD course, giving them the opportunity to experience retail work at our office, in a supportive environment. This pilot was so successful that we decided to apply for funding from the Cadburys Foundation to enable us to continue to run it. This funding was granted, enabling us to employ a member of staff to oversee our new work experience programme.

This project has gone from strength to strength; we now work in partnership with property agents Knight Frank who kindly provide property maintenance work experience placements in their local office complex, Hyde Park Hayes, for young people once they have completed an initial six week assessment here with us. We are hoping that this will expand in the New Year to provide opportunities in working in their reception.

A number of young people have also been able to gain a Level 1 FA coaching qualification in football, and will be volunteering in local schools assisting at lunch time and after school clubs. It is hoped that in the future they will be paid a sessional fee for this.

We are also exploring the possibility of putting in a joint bid for funding with Hillingdon Adult Education, which will enable us to provide work experience placements at our local Rural Activities Garden Centre in their new café and shop.

You can find out more about DASH on their website here:

Report from Wiltshire CIL on ILF consultation

This is a good report on the work done by Wiltshire CIL – a DPULO in the South West – on the Independent Living Fund. This is a great example of the support a DPULO provides people, as well as how they can help represent people’s views on different issues.

#DPULO Young Ambassadors – nominations now open

One of the things the Strengthening DPULOs Programme thinks a lot about is the leadership of DPULOs, both today and in the future. Following many suggestions along the same lines we’ve had over the last few months, I’m delighted to say we’re looking to recruit six young DPULO Ambassadors. This is one part of how we can encourage more people to get involved in DPULOs, particularly thinking about young disabled people who will go on to become the DPULO (and other) leaders of the future.

To build on the success of the Disabled People’s User Led Organisation (DPULO) Programme and continue helping DPULOs to become stronger more sustainable organisations, the Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey MP, is keen for DPULOs and young disabled people to work together more closely and forge stronger links.

To take this forward the Minister would like to appoint six Young DPULO Ambassadors (aged 16-24 yrs) to work with DPULOs and our existing Ambassadors.

All of the details you’ll need are in the document below. If you are a young disabled person who might be interested in this, know someone who might be interested, or your organisation’s work involves young disabled people, please pass this information on!

If you have any questions, or completed nominations, these should be sent to:

#dpulo Disability Cornwall awarded Investors in People gold status

This is great news: Disability Cornwall has been awarded the gold status for Investors in People. It’s particularly good news because it’s an award that any business or organisation would recognise, and shows the standard that DPULOs often operate at.

Below is the full press release from Disability Cornwall about their award. Congratulations to them on their achievement.

Disability Cornwall staff, Directors and volunteers celebrated their achievement on being awarded the highly prestigious Investors in People – Gold Standard by wearing gold at a special Away Day event held at Tregenna Castle on Friday.

Following a rigorous assessment that included lengthy interviews with all staff, Disability Cornwall now joins the top 3 of organisations across the UK who have achieved the GOLD standard. This standard is only given to organisations who can demonstrate excellence in developing and supporting their staff, and the charity needed to meet more than 165 evidence requirement standards that included commitment to values, personal development and social responsibility.

Chief Executive, Jane Johnson commented:

We are absolutely delighted to receive this extremely prestigious award. This is a fantastic result and the Assessor, Carolyn Inger was most complimentary in her feedback, stating the staff she met were some of the most committed, passionate and truly nice people she has ever had the pleasure of talking to, and that their attitude and competence, in her experience is second to none. It’s a great acknowledgement for the quality and personal commitment of staff and Directors to the continuous improvement of both themselves, our organisation, and the people we are here to support. It is said that if you get the right people in business the rest will follow.

Carolyn Inger, Investor in People Assessor working on behalf of Inspiring Business Performance LTD added:

Disability Cornwall has a totally positive culture, a real family feel, exceptional team working and true consideration for people as people. This combined with high skill levels, knowledge and experience of staff who feel really valued, as they make a difference to the lives of disabled people, generates not only a passion and buzz for the work undertaken, but also a highly successful organisation which has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.

Disability Cornwall is the leading pan disability organisation with a mission to facilitate a fully inclusive society in Cornwall through empowering disabled people to achieve independence, choice and control. In addition to being a representative body for equality, they provide a range of services including the Disability Information and Advice Line (DIAL) supporting more than 3000 people per year alone and Discover magazine, a disability lifestyle publication, in addition to a range of support services for personal budgets and for businesses, including access auditing, consultation and training.

You can find out more about Disability Cornwall here:

Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations: a full overview

Information regarding Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations – the what, who, how, where etc. – tends to be found in very many places indeed.

With my centralising tendencies, I thought it would be useful to publish a post that links together some of the key information available here about DPULOs. In turn, these posts link on to a wide array of resources available.

This is by no means comprehensive, so please do let me know (in the comments, via @rich_w on Twitter or via Facebook) if there’s anything I need to add in.

What is a DPULO?

What DPULOs exist?

What do DPULOs do?

What value do DPULOs add?

See also the evidence section below

What does the government think of DPULOs?

What evidence is there concerning DPULOs?