THE DISABILITY ACTION COALITION
What is The Disability Action Coalition?
The Disability Action Coalition (TDAC) is a group of eight Section 39 funded national disability service providers who have come together to campaign for a new and secure future for services we provide.
Section 39 organisations are not-for-profits that are contracted by the State to deliver vital health and social care services, including disability services. In Ireland, two- thirds of disability services are delivered by not-for-profits. In total, 35% of the entire disability Budget is spent by Section 39 providers – so the State is heavily reliant on our sector to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
Although we deliver the same kind of services as Section 38s, we are not fully funded, our employees are not treated the same as Section 38 employees, but we operate to the same high standards and regulations. Our future is now uncertain.
What's the Problem?
Fundamentally, the problem is funding:
- not being fully funded for the services we provide
- not getting the full cost of pay restoration
- being required to fund the massive growth in regulation and compliance, and meet the huge increase in insurance costs, without additional resources – which is adding to deficits.
All of these, combined, have resulted in a crisis. Most of our members have operated on deficits for a number of years. Our research shows that it will cost at least €20m to address the funding shortfall among our Member organisations.
Many organisations have had to cut services to stay afloat. This includes respite and day-care services, and services to both children and adults.
Many organisations are struggling to retain staff because of the difference in pay between Section 39 organisations and Section 38/HSE and this adds substantially to training, recruitment and agency staff costs. It also lengthens waiting lists for people with disabilities.
Negotiating with the HSE is really difficult, especially agreeing Service Agreements, because there is no mechanism to recognise the deficits.
Up to recently the shortfall has been bridged from the sectors own resources, but by now we simply don’t have the resources to meet growing costs. All of us are facing huge challenges in keeping front-line services open. Many of our organisations have already had to close services, reduce hours or introduce redundancies. We want to prevent this from escalating any further.
What's the Solution?
Key Asks of Political Parties for Election 2020
- Eliminate deficits for Section 39 organisations and fund services at the real cost of providing them. Our research indicates that, for our nine organisations alone, the shortfall is at least €20m a year
- Adopt all of the recommendations of the IRG report relating to Section 39 organisations (Chapters 8 & 9). This includes overhauling the completely flawed process for how the HSE currently decides to allocate funding to the sector.
- Complete the process of pay restoration for workers in Section 39 organisations and ensure that this is fully funded, as has happened for other organisations and bodies.
Our organisations – the tens of thousands of people who use our services, their families, and our 9,000 staff – will be lobbying all candidates in the run up to the next General Election to ensure that these commitments are included in the next Programme for Government.