St Michael’s House 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.
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.