The NPSA quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with and, with limited resources, built a formidable track record of achievement. The strategy was built on a highly visible and vigorous style which entailed a focussed critique of Government policy and direction. Some of the resulting initiatives included -
Strategy objectives and outcomes to-date
• In 1998 when we were formed we felt it necessary to state what we meant by rights for people with disability and so we produced a simple list which we called the Charter of Rights. Essentially the Charter constitutes the main purpose of the NPSA
• In 1999 we ran the “One Penny More” campaign. This successful campaign aimed at convincing the public and the Government that a 1% increase in tax would eliminate waiting lists for disability services. It succeeded in persuading the Government to initiate the “Cowan Plan” which went some distance towards resolving the worst waiting list problems at the time.
• 2001 saw two major tasks for the NPSA. We prepared our own disability legislation called The Disability Commissioner Bill 2001. This was debated in the Dail but was defeated by the Government because they were about to publish “superior” legislation. The “superior” legislation, the Disability Bill 2001, was seen by the disability community as being anti-disability and, following a strong campaign by the NPSA and others, it was withdrawn in February 2002.
• From 2002 we have been involved in presenting the views of our member groups during the period that the Disability Bill and the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Bill were being prepared and were progressing through the Dáil. While now enacted their provisions have not as yet had an impact. We have vigorously represented the strong reservations of the disability community about both pieces of legislation.
• Consultative Since our formation we have been an influential force on many national committees concerned with disability. They include The Disability Legislation Consultation Group, The NDA National Standards for Disability Services Committee and the Department of Health and Children National Monitoring Committee on Spending in the Areas of Intellectual Disability and Autism.
• Service In addition to these very focused strategic initiatives, we have in recent years expanded our services to member groups to include advocacy on such matters as educational needs and the right to services. We also coordinate a “Holiday for Carers Scheme” in conjunction with the Choice Hotel Group.
• Building Awareness – Logic Model Building Awareness is a key activity of the NPSA and underpins the primary objectives of the organisation. Awareness is a multifaceted concept and can cover issues such as societal awareness of individuals and their families, policy makers’ appreciation of the needs of people with disabilities and building enhanced understanding in those involved in the provision of support services. The NPSA have identified [three] activities or areas where it believes it can make a telling contribution; the production of informative short videos aimed at building understanding, the dissemination of information through its WEB site and commissioned research.
What we are seeking to achieve with those whom we support 2015-2017?