From institutions to community living - Part II: funding and budgeting FRA Opinions

All but one of the EU Member States, and the EU itself, have ratified the CRPD, committing themselves to achieving independent living for persons with disabilities. Realising this goal requires redirecting funding from institutional services to community-based services. Evidence that FRA has collected indicates that there is a lack of comprehensive data on whether or not such a funding shift is under way in the EU Member States. However, examples indicate that many Member States continue to invest heavily in institutions for persons with disabilities.

The EU and its Member States are obliged to ensure that ESIF are used to further the implementation of the CRPD. This includes deinstitutionalisation and the right to independent living. This report shows that measures introduced for the 2014–2020 funding period can serve as powerful tools to ensure that funds are allocated in line with the CRPD and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. These measures include the ex-ante conditionalities and practical guidance on how to use ESIF to further deinstitutionalisation.

FRA evidence also shows, however, that realising the promise of these tools requires strengthening the monitoring of ESIF use and applying financial corrections where funds are misspent. The report follows Guideline  VII of the European Ombudsman 2015 decision in highlighting the important role that public authorities and independent bodies, including civil society, can play in providing the information necessary for effective monitoring and control of ESIF.

Deinstitutionalisation in the spirit of the CRPD involves transforming support services for persons with disabilities, so that a range of individualised support in the community is available. This has major implications for the funding of such services.

Arrangements for funding services for persons with disabilities in the EU Member States are very complex. They often involve multiple levels of government and different funding sources, as well as a variety of service providers. Local and regional authorities play a key role within this complex picture, FRA evidence shows. Regardless of the national approach to funding community-based services, achieving deinstitutionalisation requires coordination between national, regional and local authorities, both within and across different sectors.

This report underlines the lack of robust, comparable and timely data on funding for deinstitutionalisation and community-based services. Such data gaps impede needs-based budgetary planning. They also restrict the ability of Member States to make the transition from institutional to community-based support a reality. Moreover, as FRA evidence shows, data gaps prevent Member States from showing meaningful progress in implementing Article 19 of the CRPD.