National Federation issues Press Release on the Report of Independent Review Group

(01 Mar 2019)

The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, the national umbrella organisation representing voluntary, non-statutory agencies who provide direct supports and services to people with intellectual disabilities, welcomes the publication of the much anticipated and important report of the Independent Review Group established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and personal social services.

The voluntary sector provides two thirds of publicly funded disability services.

The Review Group Report sets out a series of challenging but important recommendations that will seek to re-establish a relationship of mutual respect and value between the State and the non-statutory sector, a relationship that has become strained in recent years.

The reports states clearly the added value that the voluntary sector provides through leadership, flexibility, responsiveness, and local community involvement; a long tradition of advocacy and a capacity to make decisions close to the service provided and involving volunteers who give their time and expertise freely for the benefit of fellow citizens.

The report challenges the statutory and voluntary sectors to work closely in the shared interests of benefitting citizens. It makes essential recommendations about developing a Charter to officially recognize the voluntary sector; reviewing governance structures, agreeing essential services and providing full cost funding for those services; reducing bureaucracy and reviewing the service agreement and compliance approaches.

It also importantly records the current challenges in funding, recommending multi-annual funding and the need for measures to address the deficits that many organisations presently experience.

The voluntary sector in disability service provision is experiencing a serious crisis arising from inadequate funding to meet the urgent needs of citizens with disabilities. Many organisations have accumulated deficits in responding to urgent and changing needs, as well as meeting the enormous costs of compliance with a complex and demanding regulatory requirement.

The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies also welcomes the Report’s invitation to the voluntary sector to play a full part in contributing to policy and system development.  The Federation will shortly publish a report on Accountable Autonomy in which a more fertile approach to managing the various potentials and obligations for accountability are articulated.  It also underscores the need to have an explicit policy position from the State on the relationship between the State and the voluntary sector, including the State’s responsibility to have appropriate oversight of public funding.

The publication of this report creates a potential framework to address these urgent themes and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies calls on government to bring the various stakeholders together as a priority to progress the recommendations of the report with energy and enthusiasm, with a view to building on the long tradition of voluntary sector service provision to people with disabilities. The Federation is committed to playing its part in full in this endeavour.

Additional information on the work of the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies can be found on





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