Health Dialogue Partnership Principles - National Federation Statement

(03 Apr 2023)

National Federation Statement on the launch of the Health Dialogue Forum  Partnership Principles

We warmly welcome the launch of the Partnership Principles and the positive potential they present for building a renewed relationship between voluntary organisations and the State in the Health and Social Care Sectors.

Our shared responsibility to the citizens who use health and social services in Ireland creates the necessity for a positive, collaborative and renewed relationship between the State and the voluntary sector. Not-for-profit or voluntary organisations deliver a wide range of essential, frontline services and supports on behalf of the State - to people with disabilities; older people; recipients of homecare, mental health services, nursing home care, homeless supports, hospices and hospitals - and more. National Federation members provide approximately 70% of the supports accessed by people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Ireland are provide via our members who are not-for-profit service providers. 

The services and supports provided by the partners in the voluntary sector are vital to the people using them and are provided on the basis of a service arrangement between the organisations and the HSE, together implementing policy as set by the relevant Government Departments.

Services for people with disabilities are embarking on a new journey with the transfer of functions just completed in March - to bring specialist disability services under the remit of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. The launch of these Principles is very timely as this new relationship with the Department is explored and bedded down; whilst Sláintecare reforms and renews the delivery of wider health services nationally. These Principles will provide a valuable guide to the emerging interdependent partnerships between the State and the voluntary organisations as we forge new paths to support people as full and equal citizens, guided in the disability sector by the rights set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

The quality of the relationship between those setting the policy; commissioning the service and delivering the service in all of the sectors is of central importance in how services are experienced by people using the service, and by staff at the frontline. The joint process that was undertaken in developing these principles is an example of the collaborative approach that is possible and desirable.

The shared and agreed Partnership Principles call upon all actors – State and Voluntary, to place the citizen at the centre of the decisions made; and in doing so to work on the basis of trust and mutual respect so that coherent planning and good decisions are informed by engagement and participation - harnessing the strengths of the respective sectors for the benefit of the people using the services.

The interdependent partnership between the State and the voluntary sector carries with it the shared responsibility to use public resources in an accountable and transparent manner, whilst the key strengths of the respective sectors - in relation to service delivery; innovation and learning; and shared leadership - rely on the trust and autonomy that are at the heart of these Principles. Respect for the responsibilities of the voluntary service providers as separate legal entities and the planned joint approach to reflecting these responsibilities in the upcoming review of the Service Arrangement underline the importance and timeliness of the launch and most importantly, the implementation of these Principles.

The work of the Health Dialogue Forum – in collaboratively developing and shaping these Principles and in the wider work that it is undertaking to renew and build relationships between the Departments, HSE and the Voluntary Sector Providers is valuable and welcome.

Speaking at the launch of the Partnership Principles, Chair of the National Federation Michael Hennessy stated that if we are to harness the potential of the Partnership Principles to support the State and the Voluntary Sector, to ensure the best possible services and outcomes for the citizens using the services and supports we are jointly responsible for providing, “the next steps will be the most crucial – dissemination, embedding and implementation at local, regional and national levels by all of the Partners involved”.

For our part we warmly welcome the Principles and commit to our role in making these Partnership Principles real on behalf of all of those we support.  

Click here to access the Partnership Principles 

Cick here for more information on the Health Dialogue Forum



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