The National Federation ensure its members are up to date with all relevant National Policy and Legislation,  and we assist the membership in engaging with their implementation by identifying the challenges presented and to provide opportunities for finding meaningful solution.  We promote and strengthen national cohesion by exploring different ways of working together with members in the regions to support the implementation of national policy through submissions to the Government Departments, the hosting of conferences and Sharing Innovative Learning Events which focus on progressive implementation of national policy.

The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies are committed to the provision of more individually tailored supports for people with intellectual disabilities, which is in keeping with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by initiating, influencing and contributing to the development of National Policy, Legislation and Implementation of Best Practice to enable individualised supports.  

This shift and has found expression in a number of key policy documents, including:

  • Time to Move on from Congregated Settings - A Strategy for Community Inclusion (Report of the Working Group on Congregated Settings 2011).
  • Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services in Ireland (Final Report 2012)
  • New Directions - Review of HSE Day Services and Implementation Plan 2012-2016 (National Working Group Report 2012).
  • Report of the Reference Group on Multidisciplinary Services for Children with Disabilities aged 5-18 (2009), which is the driver for the Progressing Disability Services to Children and Young People Programme.

These policy documents set new parameters for how support services for people with intellectual disabilities are to be provided in the future.  Together, they create a policy environment in which supports will increasingly be directed towards individuals achieving lives that are rich and fulfilling; lives that are worthy of them as citizens; lives that are, in short, ‘good lives’.

 You can download a list of key policy documents here.



In our work we aim to promote best practice in services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  We recognise that appropriate high quality research is a necessary pre-requisite to ensuring best practice in services development and delivery and in policy formulation.  Consequently the National Federation is committed to supporting the development of a strong research base within National Federation member organisations and initiating and collaborating in research relevant to the lives of people with intellectual disability.  In recognition of this the National Federation established the Implementation of National Policy Sub-Committee. 

In the research section of our website you will find many resources and information, such as:

  • The 2010 research topic for the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies was Relationships & Quality of Service.  You can download a copy of The Relationships & Supports Study.
  • The 2009 research topic was Living Options for people with intellectual disabilities. You can download a copy of the 'Where we Live' Report
  • The Resource Section contains information on National Federation Designated Experts on 23 interest topics in intellectual disability research.  These experts can advise researchers, as well as providing the website with reading lists and links to up-to-date relevant information on their topic.
  • We are also involved in an Inclusive Research Network - a group of people who come together to do research or talk about research that is about people with intellectual disabilities.  This network is for anyone interested in this type of research e.g., people from services, self-advocacy groups, organisations, researchers and community groups. There are some examples of IRN Members' research done to date, as well as the National Survey 'Where We Live'.
  • Our member organisations' database of research includes abstracts of research undertaken by our members and this section will be expanded over time.  If you have completed a piece of research since 2000 and would like to record it on our national database of intellectual disability research please download and complete this form.


  • We are also involved in a number of collaborative research projects involving partnerships with external agencies.


The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies is also a member of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSID).

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Welcome to the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies