Published on 26 July 2023
Last updated on 25 July 2023
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, and Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, today welcomed Government approval of the Disability Action Plan 2024-2026.
The Action Plan represents a key step in the expansion and reform of specialist community-based disability services including day services, respite and residential services, personal assistance and home support, as well as multidisciplinary therapy interventions for children and adults. These services form core supports in the Government’s ambition to help people with disabilities live ordinary lives in ordinary places, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The Action Plan has been developed on foot of the Disability Capacity Review to 2032 – A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032. This review set out the extra capacity requirements for community disability services up to 2032, based on an analysis of demographic trends and unmet need. Following its publication, Government committed to working towards implementing its recommendations.
The Disability Action Plan 2024 – 2026 represents the first phase in this process of implementation. Its main focus is on service expansion for disability services and the key priorities in this regard are:
- Increasing capacity of Children’s Disability Network Teams, in conjunction with the upcoming Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023 – 2025 in Children’s Disability Services
- Increased personal assistance and home support hours
- Efforts to accelerate the decongregation programme
- Increasing capacity for planned residential placements
- Expansion of respite provision
The Plan also seeks to refresh and reinvigorate the Transforming Lives reform agenda through a suite of actions that seek to maximise service impact through strategic change and also to improve planning and management capacity through better information and systems. Key enablers such as workforce, also a primary consideration in the Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023-2025 for Children’s Disability Services, and the development of alternative models of providing services will be explored in order to drive better service delivery. Close partnership with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in exploring alternative models of residential services, as well as delivering additional places, will also be an important aspect of the plan.
The Action Plan is now being prepared for publication, including in accessible formats, and will be available in early autumn.
Minister Roderic O’Gorman said:
“I am very proud to have secured Government approval for the Disability Action Plan 2024-2026. Earlier this year, the responsibility for specialist disability services transferred to my Department and it has been a priority for me that a tangible difference for people with disabilities would follow. This Action Plan is not only a valuable vehicle to begin addressing the deficits identified in the Disability Capacity Review but will also allow us to look at how we develop policy and deliver services more broadly. I look forward to launching the Plan in the autumn.”
Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte said:
“I know from my conversations with people that there is an urgent need to provide more and better services to meet the demand that exists in the system. The Disability Action Plan 2024-2026 sets out how we are going to do that. I am particularly pleased that this plan will provide a template for the expansion of children’s services, which is such a critical area. This Plan, along with the Roadmap for children’s services, gives us a touchstone and I hope we will now see real improvements in this area.”
The Disability Capacity Review to 2032 – A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032 was published by the Government in July 2021, along with a Framework Action Plan, setting out key areas for attention.
The detailed action plan was then developed in late 2021 and early 2022 by an interdepartmental Working Group with officials from Department of Health, Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Department of Social Protection, Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Health Service Executive.
Their work was informed by an extensive public consultation, in which around 800 people participated. Further information on the consultation and its results can be found here.