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Independent futuresCreating user-led disability services in a disabling society$
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Colin Barnes

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861347183

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861347183.001.0001

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Service design and delivery: opportunities and constraints

Service design and delivery: opportunities and constraints

(p.93) six Service design and delivery: opportunities and constraints
Independent futures

Colin Barnes

Geof Mercer

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on the activities of user-controlled organizations as service providers and the associated constraints of a policy environment still dominated by traditional ideas about disability and dependence. How far and in what ways has service support for independent living worked out as intended in practice? This includes consideration of the ‘seven needs’ for independent living (and their subsequent extension) by user-led or user-controlled agencies. The discussion is grounded within recent trends in community-based services; in particular, the increasing emphasis on ‘Best Value’ with the goal of integrating high standards with efficiency and effectiveness in their achievement. The chapter concludes with a commentary on the precarious resource context in which user-controlled services currently operate, ranging over major concerns about: the level and continuity of funding, as well as its primary sources; the availability of staff, and particularly disabled people, with the appropriate skills and commitment to a social barriers approach; and the choice and availability of suitable physical premises. Hence, organizations under the direction of users operate in an often hostile service environment still dominated by an individualist approach — a challenge compounded by limited resources for action.

Keywords:   user-controlled organizations, disability, independent living, community-based services

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