Disability funding not properly costed

FUNDING for the disability sector is still not being costed properly, meaning inconsistencies in providing services to those who need them, according to the C&AG’s annual report.

It also noted a growing number of children under five assessed for disability did not meet the definition. Last year, 1,981 assessments were carried out, with 286 children not meeting the definition, up from 1,554 and 159 in 2008.

The C&AG report outlines the gap between allocation of funding, in the majority of cases to voluntary bodies from the HSE, and the actual needs of people being met on the ground.

Two databases – the National Intellectual Disability Database and the National Physical and Sensory Disability database – collate information on the number of people with a disability, but the report states: “They do not capture the level of service required by each individual, in terms of the number, type and grade of staff required.

“As such, they do little to assist the HSE in helping to set funding levels for service providers.”

The & report also said a plan to integrate data collection had not progressed beyond planning stage and examining information from some service providers “found the intensity of supports needed by each individual with a disability is not identified in the new service arrangements”.

Those arrangements include 76% of service providers providing data to the HSE on the number of staff and service users. But the & report said: “Inconsistencies were noted in how the services delivered and the associated staffing numbers and grades were reported.”

One service provider identified staff at a location but did not allocate those staff to units, while another did not generally include grades of staff meaning the HSE could not determine the average cost of providing the service.

The service cost for persons with similar degrees of disability varied from one service to another, with funding linked to historic allocations as opposed to a study of up-to-date needs.

“The submission of incomplete and inconsistent data has required HSE staff, at local level, to carry out extensive validation work and obtain directly from service providers information on the numbers and grades of staff employed in service provider units so that the pay costs for each unit can be established,” the report said.


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