DFI Strategic Plan 2011-2016 

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May 2011

Note: The “Context and Development Report” was written by Stephen Rourke the external consultant and it provides material that informed the decision making process to date.  It is an important support document to the “DFI Strategic Plan”. (available here: Context and Development Report)

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR DFI, 2011 – 2016                      

1.         Introduction                

2.         Vision and Mission Statement                                    

3.         Guiding Principles                

4.         Strategic Priorities       

4.1    Strategic Priority No. 1                             

  • To Influence the development, implementation and monitoring of policies affecting people with disabilities.                                                  

 4.2    Strategic Priority No. 2

  • To improve the effectiveness and sustainability of DFI member organisations.

 4.3    Strategic Priority No. 3 

  • To strengthen the voice, impact and relevance of the disability movement in Ireland.                             

4.4    Strategic Priority No. 4

  • To enhance the organisational effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of DFI.                                                                       

5. Operational Plans and Annual Plans                 

5.1      Operational Plans

5.2      Strategic Plan                                         


STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR DFI IN THE PERIOD FROM 2011 - 2016 

  1. To influence the development, implementation and monitoring of policies affecting people with disabilities.
  2. To improve the effectiveness and sustainability of DFI member organisations.
  3. To strengthen the voice, impact and relevance of the disability movement in Ireland.
  4. To enhance the organisational effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of DFI.


STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR DFI, 2011 – 2016

 1.         Introduction

DFI has an important role to play in influencing policy on issues and concerns which are relevant to the lives of people with disabilities in Ireland and to the ongoing work and priorities of DFI member organisations.  DFI will continue to support the development of these member organisations in ways which are appropriate to their needs and circumstances.  DFI will perform a significant leadership and co-ordination function in prioritising greater collaboration and solidarity within the voluntary disability sector (involving organisations dealing with particular disabilities / disorders and umbrella organisations within the disability sector).

 2.         Vision and Mission Statement

2.1       The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life.  DFI’s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives. 

2.2       DFI represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society.  It comprises organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.  DFI will work through these organisations and other agencies / organisations to ensure that people with disabilities and disabling conditions are enabled and empowered to be equal citizens in Ireland. 

3          Guiding Principles

In relation to people with disabilities and disabling conditions: 

3.1       DFI believes that policies and services for people with disabilities should be person centred and that services should be focused on the individual needs of each disabled person and be of a quality and standard that is in keeping with their human dignity. 

3.2       DFI is committed to working more consistently on the factors that cause disability and disabling conditions in order to reduce and lessen the effects of such conditions. 

3.3       DFI is committed to working on ensuring accessible pathways for people with disabilities to an inclusive and participative life. 

3.4       DFI believes that people with disabilities should be involved in the design, delivery and the evaluation of services provided to people with disabilities and be central to decision making within voluntary disability organisations. 

3.5       DFI supports the full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in mainstream services and, where appropriate, the development of specialist services for people with disabilities to support that participation. 

In relation to the work and ongoing development of DFI and of DFI member organisations: 

3.6       DFI believes in working in partnership with other organisations in pursuit of its objectives of supporting member organisations and the full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities. 

3.7       DFI fully respects the autonomy and the diversity of approaches and strategies of member organisations. 

3.8       DFI is committed to the full and effective implementation of the National Disability Strategy. 

3.9       DFI commits itself and its members to delivering supports and services in a high quality, professional manner, which further the progression and independence of people with disabilities. 

3.10    DFI believes in achieving optimum effectiveness and efficiency both in relation to its own work and to the work of its member organisations. 

3.11    DFI is an autonomous and independent organisation and will maintain this autonomy and independence in its work with Government Departments and statutory agencies. 

3.12    DFI believes that relevant Government Departments and statutory agencies have primary responsibility for public service delivery in relation to the inclusive provision of services for people with disabilities and disabling conditions. 

3.13    DFI believes that voluntary disability organisations have a vital role to play in deepening the involvement and participation of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in the full implementation of the National Disability Strategy 

4          Strategic Priorities 

4.1       Strategic Priority No. 1

To influence the development, implementation and monitoring of policies affecting people with disabilities  

Objectives

4.1.1         To develop and to consolidate international links and to participate in international networks so as to transfer good practice and good policies from other countries to Ireland and vice versa.

4.1.2         To continue to campaign for, monitor and to influence the full implementation of the National Disability Strategy at national and local level. 

4.1.3         To influence the local implementation of the National Disability Strategy through participation on local and regional structures set up by the HSE, by local authorities, by local Partnership companies and by other relevant bodies and by ensuring and supporting the participation of local disability interests. 

4.1.4         To build and to consolidate relationships with key personnel in strategic roles across EU, Government Departments and State agencies including the HSE, local authorities, other statutory agencies, members of the Oireachtas and the community and voluntary sector. 

4.1.5         To participate in inter-agency and social dialogue / partnership structures which have the potential to improve the quality of life and life opportunities for people with disabilities. 

4.1.6         To promote the need for, and carry out, or otherwise ensure the availability of, targeted research in order to track progress on policy implementation and service development for people with disabilities. 

4.1.7         To provide guidance and advice to member organisations about the most effective ways to conduct research and to carry out surveys. 

4.1.8         To develop joint collaborative research and policy development projects with relevant statutory agencies and voluntary organisations. 

Proposed Outcomes / Impact

4.1.9         That the needs and circumstances of people with disabilities and disabling conditions will be taken into account when developing and deciding policies at the national and local levels in Ireland. 

4.1.10       That the implementation of the National Disability Strategy is progressed in a significant and satisfactory manner. 

4.1.11       That policies and initiatives for people with disabilities and disabling conditions are factored into regional development and local development plans. 

4.1.12       That there is a greater level of public and political awareness of the needs, the circumstances and the potential of people with disabilities and disabling conditions. 

4.1.13       That people with disabilities play a lead role in progressing their independence through voluntary disability organisations. 

4.2       Strategic Priority No. 2 

To improve the effectiveness and sustainability of DFI member organisations. 

Objectives

4.2.1         To support the development of member organisations through the provision of services and programmes, which will enhance their organisational capacity and sustainability. 

4.2.2    To continue to develop the “DFI Member Development Programme” and ‘DFI Service Suite’ package of options to assist organisations to: 

  • Strengthen their governance structures,
  • Manage the quality and standard of their services,
  • Remain relevant in the context of the NDS and
  • Government policy of mainstreaming,
  • Remain sustainable in the context of the recession.
  • Strengthen the participation of people with disabilities and their families in decision making within organisations. 

4.2.3         To produce information and to work with others to ensure that member organisations are informed on issues of relevance / interest to them. 

4.2.4         To provide opportunities for shared learning between DFI members through the organisation of meetings and workshops and through exchanging information by interactive, electronic means. 

4.2.5         To develop the relationship between DFI and DFI member organisations on a more structured and systematic basis (e.g. Member Development Programme, through annual meetings between DFI staff and member organisations, annual agreement on tasks to be undertaken by DFI and member organisations). 

4.2.6         To work with other agencies to respond to the needs of DFI member organisations. 

4.2.7         To play a lead role in developing an environment supportive of collaborative arrangements between organisations in the voluntary disability sector and to support collaborative options available to these organisations. 

Proposed Outcomes / Impact

4.2.8         That DFI member organisations will have improved governance and management structures and be able to carry out their work in a more effective and efficient manner. 

4.2.9         That DFI member organisations will have increased access to information and analyses which is of interest and relevance to the ongoing development of their work. 

4.2.10       That DFI member organisations will have engaged in strategic planning processes which help to ensure that they are clearly focused in their work and that they have established strategic priorities and goals for their ongoing activities (priorities and goals which can be used to benchmark outcomes and achievements). 

4.2.11       That new collaborative arrangements, networking and shared learning opportunities will be put in place to enhance the effectiveness, value and role of voluntary disability organisations. 

4.3       Strategic Priority No. 3

To strengthen the voice, impact and relevance of the disability movement in Ireland. 

Objectives

4.3.1          To maximise the levels of understanding of DFI and participation by member organisations in the on-going work of DFI. 

4.3.2          To aspire to a position where DFI is recognised as the main cross disability voice and resource for the voluntary disability sector in Ireland while valuing and working with other disability federations and networks. 

4.3.3          To liaise and work with other disability umbrella organisations in order to better understand the shared disability interest so as to present a more cohesive and united voice / understanding of the disability interest in Ireland. 

4.3.4          To work with the wider community and voluntary sector, the State and the private sector on common and shared interests. 

4.3.5          To continue to develop and articulate the ‘disability interest’ as an integral part of the State’s social and economic infrastructure. 

4.3.6          To create an awareness and understanding of disability as a key societal issue in Ireland. 

4.3.7          To liaise with and support other umbrella / networking organisations in the voluntary disability sector and in the broader community and voluntary sector and beyond.  

4.3.8          To deepen and expand the structured collaborative agreements and arrangements that DFI has with other organisations. 

Proposed Outcomes / Impact

4.3.9          That the voluntary disability sector in Ireland will be presenting stronger, more cohesive and more united propositions and strategies on issues of relevance and concern to people with disabilities and disabling conditions. 

4.3.10       That the umbrella organisations in Ireland operating in the area of disability continue to develop mechanisms for working more closely together (so as to enhance common effectiveness and to avoid any unnecessary duplication or confusion). 

4.3.11       That there is a greater level of awareness and understanding about issues relating to disability and disabling conditions – about the causes of disability, the consequences of disability, the rights of people with disabilities and their inclusion into mainstream activities and services, primarily across the disability movement and Government Departments. 

4.3.12       That there is a stronger public understanding and awareness about the needs and circumstances of people with disabilities in Ireland and the valuable role of the voluntary disability organisations in achieving that awareness. 

4.3.13       That specific and tailored supports to other disability umbrella and networking organisations are provided. 

4.4       Strategic Priority No. 4

To enhance the organisational effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of DFI

Objectives

4.4.1         To ensure that DFI has the most appropriate structures in place in order to achieve maximum impact and outcomes (this will include consideration of sub-committees / working groups and membership of DFI Board / committees). 

4.4.2         To provide enhanced support to National Council, Board and Board sub-committees within the context of developing DFI governance structures and processes 

4.4.3         To review the DFI system of governance with particular reference to the changing profile and focus of DFI member organisations and the voluntary disability sector in general.

4.4.4         To ensure that the staff resources available to DFI are most effectively deployed in pursuit of the main strategic priorities of DFI. 

4.4.5         To enable effective communications to take place at all levels within DFI (National Council, Board, staff) through meetings, e-mail and other usages of technology. 

4.4.6         To continue to improve decision-making and management systems and processes within DFI (with particular focuses on issues such as appraisal, support and supervision of staff members). 

4.4.7         To develop more cohesive and coherent information gathering and dissemination processes using ICT as an enabler, which will seek to maximise the effectiveness of the information produced by DFI. 

4.4.8         To ensure that DFI remains a viable and sustainable organisation in relation to its funding situation with specific attention to having diversified funding and resources available. 

Proposed Outcomes

4.4.9         That DFI will restructure itself in order to respond to the new operating environment in Ireland (i.e. Government austerity, increased emphasis on collaboration and shared costs / services, more concentration on outcomes and on impact of activities / actions). 

4.4.10       That DFI will continue to be a sustainable and viable organisation within the context of the resources which DFI can secure and the resources which are made available to DFI.

4.4.11       That DFI maintains and develops its relationships and engagement mechanisms with its member organisations.

4.4.12       That DFI staff and other resources are deployed in a manner which is most appropriate to meeting the objectives of DFI.  

4.4.13       That DFI will have in place systems and structures which will enable it to progress the other three strategic priorities (i.e. influencing policy, supporting member organisations, strengthening the disability movement) in an effective and professional manner.

5.         Operational Plans and Annual Plans

5.1       Operational Plans

The strategic priorities and objectives set out in this section of the Strategic Plan provide a structure and framework for DFI’s work in the period from 2011 to 2016. These priorities and objectives do not contain specific annual goals and targets. It is recognised that these will need to be drafted for agreement by the DFI Board. Upon agreement of the strategic priorities and objectives, the next task will be to formulate a two year Operational Plan for 2011 – 2012 (with actions, goals and targets for each objective) and a detailed work programme for 2011. Further Operational Plans will be produced for the remainder of the Strategic Plan period.

5.2       Annual Plans

The Strategic Plan is agreed by the DFI National Council whilst Operational Plans and Annual Plans to achieve the implementation of the Strategic Plan are agreed by the DFI Board. The Board will provide regular reviews and reports on the implementation of the Strategic Plan to the National Council.

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