The primary purpose of the Comhairle (Amendment) Bill is to amend the Comhairle Act, 2000 so as to confer enhanced and additional functions on Comhairle involving, inter alia, the introduction of a personal advocacy service specifically aimed at people with disabilities. The Bill, together with the Disability Bill 2004 and accompanying Outline Sectoral Plans and the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, is a key element of the Government's legislative programme for improving services for people with disabilities.
Personal Advocacy Service
The Bill provides for the introduction of a personal advocacy service which will be administered by Comhairle. Personal advocates will be appointed and will provide a range of services to qualified persons with disabilities, including
- assisting, supporting and representing the qualified person to apply for and obtain a social service. This includes support in applying for an assessment of need and support in relation to the Service Statement which sets out health and education services to be provided under the provisions of the Disability Bill, 2004;
- pursuing any right of review or appeal on behalf of the qualifying person;
- providing support and training to the qualifying person and any member of his or her family, a carer or any other person representing the interests of the qualifying person;
entering any place that provides day care, residential care or training for the qualifying person for the purpose of representing his or her interests; and
- subject to the requirements of data protection legislation, accessing information, attending meetings or consultations, and identifying any person who may assist the qualifying person for the purpose of performing his or her functions.
The Comhairle (Amendment) Bill and Explanatory Memorandum is available from the Government Publications Sales Office and also from the Department's website