ULOs that are led and controlled by disabled people are key to both delivering personalisation and achieving independent living for disabled people.
- The Improving the life chances of disabled people report says that "by 2010, each locality (defined as that area covered by a Council with social services responsibilities) should have a user-led organisation modelled on existing CILs [centres for independent living]" (see www.cabinetoffice. gov.uk/strategy/work_areas/disability.aspx). This recommendation has been taken forward as part of the cross-government Independent Living Strategy (see www.officefordisability.gov.uk/working/independentlivingstrategy.asp).
- Putting People First and the transformation of adult social care says that councils should have an enabling framework to ensure that people can exercise choice and control and have access to advocacy, peer support and brokerage systems with strong links to ULOs. Where ULOs do not exist, a strategy to foster, stimulate and develop ULOs locally should be developed (see Department of Health,Transforming Social Care, 2008, Local Authority Circular 1).
- The National Centre for Independent Living and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services have produced a protocol for the provision of centres for independent living (also known as ULOs) and user-led support services.This is currently being revised and updated. The Local Government Association (LGA) has agreed in principle to sign the protocol.
How the Department of Health supports ULOs
The Department of Health supports ULOs by:
- engaging with users and supporters of ULOs to produce the LA circular, Transforming Adult Social Care;
- defining the key requirements for an organisation to be classified as a ULO (www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_076662);
- investing £750,000 in Wave 1 and £900,000 in Wave 2 of a ULO development fund and supporting the development of 25 user-led action and learning sites. These sites share best practice for organisations interested in becoming a ULO or in supporting the development of a ULO in another LA area. (For more information see www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_079734);
- fostering strong relationships between ULOs and LAs or third sector organisations to develop effective personalisation, independent living and social inclusion strategies;
- encouraging LAs to develop the capacity and capability of ULOs; and
- funding capacity building in three regions in 2009/10 through the Deputy Regional Directors for Social Care and Partnerships.