This is the tenth monthly update about the Strengthening DPULOs Programme. This is also the last update of 2012, so rather than the usual mix of links and stories (which will begin again in January) I thought it would be useful to reflect on where the DPULOs agenda has got to.
2012: a year for DPULOs?
At the start of the year I suggested 2012 could be the year for DPULOs. There were 3 reasons for this view:
- There was a detectable shift towards leveling the playing field for different types of providers in public services
- There was proof that DPULOs could be clear about the value they add in representing disabled people’s voices locally
- The evidence for the difference DPULOs make was starting to come through, and stakeholders were starting to take note.
What we’ve seen over the last 12 months is further evidence for each of the points above. For example:
- DPULOs, social enterprises and mutuals are starting to be treated differently – and for the better – in the way public services are commissioned. Liverpool is one good example and we’ll have more in the New Year
- There is now significant evidence of the difference the voice of disabled people in their local communities, represented through DPULOs can make. This isn’t just in saving money (though that’s important), but also in the improvements in people’s quality of life. Just look at the evidence here.
- There is also now much more evidence than there’s ever been of the unique value DPULOs add when they deliver local services. They increase choice and control. They’re trusted more. They deliver a return on investment. And they save money. The evidence is here.
As a result, there’s been a major shift in thinking: the question I used to be asked all the time was “What is a DPULO?” Now, the question I am asked is “Now I know the difference they can make, how can I get the most out of one in my local area?”
Government has taken note, too: where DPULOs used to be thought of mainly in terms of social care, now they are reflected in several areas of policy:
- In the ODI’s Fulfilling Potential documents and Right to Control Trailblazers
- In the Home Office’s Hate Crime Action Plan
- In the DWP’s drive to increase take up of Access to Work
- In the DfE’s new approach to SEN and disability
- In DCLG’s Community Budgets work
- In the Cabinet Office’s Open Public Services White Paper
- (A full list is here)
Not only this, but the Strengthening DPULOs Programme has provided over £1m of funding through the Facilitation Fund to enhance the sustainability of DPULOs (see here) .
And we’re thinking ahead to the future, too: whilst keeping on with the good stuff we’ve been doing, we’ll be getting new work going in areas such as:
- Examples of DPULOs working well with commissioners
- DPULOs and Making It Real in social care
- DPULOs and local Healthwatch
- DPULOs and young disabled people
- DPULOs, social media and accessible engagement
- DPULOs and fundraising
- Mapping the DPULO sector
- Further evidence on the return on investment DPULOs deliver.
What about 2013?
Despite all of the positives of 2012, it has of course been an incredibly challenging year. DPULOs have not been immune from this, partly because of the significant challenges that disabled people themselves have faced and will continue to face.
And we know that circumstances facing DPULOs are likely to be just as hard, if not harder, into the future as local government and others also face a tough time.
But I am optimistic. As Baroness Campbell said:
Disabled people are the best problem solvers.
In a year that will see lots of problems for lots of different people and organisations, what better people and organisations to have working with you than disabled people and Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations?
Over the festive period, I shall reflect on the incredible work that all of you have done through your DPULOs in your local communities, and think forward to what you will continue to achieve in 2013 and beyond.
I hope you have a restful and relaxing holiday.
(On behalf of all at the Strengthening DPULOs Programme team)
Find out more about the Programme
To find out more about the Strengthening DPULOs Programme, you can visit our website. We also regularly update our Facebook the page with lots of information you will hopefully find useful, plus news from other DPULOs: http://www.facebook.com/dpulos. If you are on Twitter, you can share information and find out more about DPULOs using the hashtag #dpulo. Please also remember to use the #dpulo hashtag if ever you’re tweeting about your work
You can find all 9 of the previous monthly updates here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to forward this information on to any DPULOs, networks or stakeholders you think might find it interesting.