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The Report of the Value for Money and Policy Review of the Disability Services Programme, launched today, recommends a transition towards a model of a person-centred, individually chosen supports and the implementation of a more effective method of assessing need, allocating resources and monitoring resource use.

The recommendations of the review have been welcomed by Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health & Older People who said the recommendations can provide a framework for the development of effective and accountable services.

According to the Minister, Individualised budgeting, is an approach whereby a monetary value is placed on the supports required by the  individual  to  live a fully included life in the community. It may be implemented  in  many  ways, but the essence of individualised budgeting is that  the  individual  is  given more choice and control over how the money allocated   to  meet  their  needs  is  utilised.  This  approach  must  be underpinned  by  a  standardised  needs  assessment  to ensure fairness and transparency in the way in which funding is allocated.

The VFM and Policy Review of the Disability Services was initiated by the Department of Health in June 2009 and was conducted under the auspices of the Government’s Value for Money & Policy Review Initiative 2009-2011. The  purpose  of  the  Review  was  to assess how well current services for people  with  disabilities  met  their  objectives  and  support the future planning and development of services.

The Review was overseen by an independent chair, Mr Laurence Crowley, FCA, CBE, LLD. Mr Crowley is a Director of Bord Gais Eireann, Aer Lingus Group PLC, and a number of private companies.  He is also Chairman of Midletown Centre for Autism and Executive Chairman UCD, Michael Smurfit School of Business. He was previously Governor of the Bank of Ireland.

The Steering Group had two other independent members, Mr James O’Dwyer, f ormer Chairman of Arthur Cox, the Dublin based law firm and a member of the Advisory Board of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business and Mr Gerard Flood who is a Director of a number of private companies and was formally a Partner in KPMG with responsibility for its Corporate Finance service delivery as well as members drawn from the Disability Sector, Department of Health, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and the HSE.