The National Disability Authority (NDA) was established in June 2000 as an independent statutory body. One of the functions of the NDA, as outlined in the NDA Act (1999), is ‘to support the achievement of good standards and quality in the provision of programmes and services provided or to be provided to people with disabilities’ (Part II, sections 8 (2) c, d and f and 10 (1)). We believe that person centred planning can help to achieve this objective.
Person centred planning is a way of discovering how a person wants to live their life and what is required to make that possible. Person centred planning has its roots in the normalization and independent living movements. It is grounded in a social model of disability and a strengths-based approach.
The NDA believes that person centred planning is needed because it is time to move on:
Person centred planning has the potential to be an instrument of real change, by bringing about a greater degree of choice and better standard of living for people with disabilities in Ireland. Actually achieving this potential, depends greatly on the way person centred planning is done, however.
This is why the NDA has undertaken research on good practice in person centred planning.
Our guideline document outlines the key principles, key considerations and potential pitfalls in adopting the approach. It sets out a number of recommendations on how to go about drawing up a person centred plan and creating a context that will support its realisation. It also provides some guidance on monitoring and evaluation.
The NDA believes that the best measure of the success of person centred planning is that the individual at the centre of the planning process begins to experience a real change for the better in his or her life as a result of their plan being put into action.
I hope that these guidelines will be found to be a useful source of information on person centred planning for people with disabilities and their families, service providers, policy makers, funders and all other potential stakeholders. I truly hope that they will be found to be a practical support for developing good plans and putting them into action, thereby helping to bring about genuine and lasting improvements in the lives of people with disabilities and in the services and supports they receive.
M. Claire O’Connor, Director, National Disability Authority.