Practitioners greet review of services

The Office for Disability Issues is to carry out a review of independent living services for disabled people, including individual budgets (see What should the review look at, below).

The office, established last December, announced the move in its first annual report, published last week.

It said the review, which is starting this month and will take a year to complete, would provide guidance on developing cross-government strategy to help disabled people live independently by looking at the progress of current schemes.

Meanwhile, Sue Bott has been appointed as the new executive director of the National Centre for Independent Living.

She replaces Nick Danagher, who left in June for health reasons and to pursue a consultancy career.

Bott, who was previously chief executive of Shropshire Disability Consortium, told Community Care this week that she wanted to “reinvigorate” the work of NCIL.

“I want to develop the organisation so it continues to be relevant to changes in the social care agenda,” she said.

NCIL was left facing financial problems earlier this year because it was one of a number of charities to face a delay in receiving section 64 funding from the Department of Health.

What should the review look at
Ray Jones, chair, British Association of Social Workers
It needs to consider how independent living enhances the quality of people’s lives rather than just counting the cost. It should also look at the unintended consequences of policies where people have to take more responsibility for arranging their own services than they would want.

New AssetJohn Knight (pictured), head of policy, Leonard Cheshire
It must have service users on its expert panel as you can’t get a better expert than someone who uses services. It must also call for a sea-change in commissioning. Local government is still talking about block contracting, but it will be history in 10 years’ time as individuals will become commissioners of their own services.

Sue Bott, director, National Centre for Independent Living
I would like it to close the gap between the government’s rhetoric around independent living and the reality for many disabled people for whom independent living is still a dream.

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