The DSA Timeline and associated developments & initiatives - 1983 - Present Day

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  • 1983 The setting up of a national network that could share experiences and provide a cohesive service for the few interested and voluntary individuals supporting students with the use of information technology
  • 1986 Formation of the National Federation of Access Centres - NFAC; initially 8 members, 7 based in FE and 1 in HE. First formal assessments of students with disabilities undertaken, No fee for conducting assessment. FE provided some support. Private individuals were not charged for assessment and assessor helped secure funding from charities etc. Non-means tested additional grant payment to help pay for extra costs during their course if in HE.
  • 1988 Assessment project with Open University (OU Access Technology Loan Scheme) coincided with grant from central government (£500,000) for setting up pool of enabling technology.
  • 1989 NFAC grew to 38 members. A further £125,000 made available from central government to set up DSA assessment. Approximately 500 students received the DSA. Only physical and sensory disabilities considered, students had to be under 25, on a full time course and were means tested. Two allowances Equipment and travel.
  • 1991 Introduction of NMH and General allowance
  • 1993 Publication of ‘The assessment disability and technology handbook – a step by step guide’ published by Oldham Education Department
  • 1995 Disability Discrimination Act - DDA, introduced
  • 1995 NIAD developed by University of Sussex / taken over by DISinHE in 1998 and then again byTechDis in 2000 and reduced to just 400 products.
  • 1996 DSA extended to include SpLD students and students with MHI.
  • 1997 JISC funded project DISinHE set up in Dundee. Publishes “Teaching Everyone, disability and new technology guide for lecturers”
  • 1998 DISinHE Works on Base level provision document. Develops database of disability contacts in HE
  • 1999 Formation of NADO (National Association of Disability Officers), following HEFCE project funding.
  • 1999 DRC (The Disability Rights Commission) established
  • 1999 HEFCE Guidance on base-level provision for disabled students in higher education institutions, funded by DISinHE.
  • 2000 DISinHE moves from Dundee to York and changes name to TechDis.
  • 2000 'The times they are a changing': Developing Disability Provision in UK Higher Education. Mike Adams (Principal Co-ordinator, National Disability Team, England) & Paul Brown (National Co-ordinator for Students with Disabilities, Scotland)
  • 2000 Government called for a review of the whole DSA process as a result of complaints received over timescales. The review was undertaken by SKILL and called for a complete overhaul of the DSA process. The DfES called together interested parties to discuss how this could be done; this group became known as the 'Round Table'.
  • 2001 First issue of “Bridging the Gap: A guide to the disabled students allowances”. New for 2001, Part time (50%) OU students eligible for DSA. Removal of age limit (50+). No means testing.
  • 2001 Special Educational Needs and Disability Act
  • 2002 expenditure by central government on the DSA was 80 million pounds. The figure for the provision of Non Medical Helpers was estimated at 40 million pounds, the cost of specialist equipment 30 million. Request made for providers of NMH support to be reviewed.
  • 2003 Round Table Group reform into Quality Assurance Group (QAG) consisting of elected members from all the interested groups (concerned with the provision of support for students with a disability, including NADO, NFAC, SKILL, LEAs and DfES) set about the re-working of the DSA system. QAG published its work on the DfES web site. First published QAF (Quality Assessment Framework) and code of practice for LEA awards officers.
  • 2004 SLA (service level agreement) signed up to by interested commercial suppliers of assistive technology, QAG joined by suppliers reps. Request made to QAG for a similar SLA to be drawn up for providers of NMH (this request was refused by government representatives).
  • 2004 NFAC change of name to incorporate independent centres; becomes the National Network of Assessment Centres - NNAC.
  • 2004 Emptech web-based database of Assistive Technology established by EA Draffan & Robbie Sloane - Southampton University.
  • 2005 July, Assessors Professional Network Association - APNA. Membership 60, did not include Assessment Centre Managers. Representation on QAG granted.
  • 2005 November, Second published QAF
  • 2005 DDA updated
  • 2006 formation of ASASA.
  • 2006 QAG formed as an auditing body overseeing both the assessment service and suppliers of equipment, requiring annual audit and the continued development of the QAF. Suggested that NMH providers be included (refused).
  • 2007 DRC transferred to Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • 2008 QAG become a non-profit making Regulatory Company Limited by Guarantee called DSA-QAG. Applied and gained charity status in October 2008 for England and Wales
  • 2008 3 members of NNAC leave and form IAC
  • 2009 Consultation group for NMH Charter formed.
  • 2009 Evaluation of Provision and Support for Disabled Students in Higher Education Report to HEFCE and HEFCW by the Centre for Disability Studies and School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds
  • 2010 The Equality Act replaces the DDA
  • 2010 DSSG (Disabled Student Stakeholder Group) formed with 12 organisations, subgroups including NMH Sub Group and AT sub group (Assistive Technology) standing group.
  • 2011 NNAC launches WIKI to provide central/public resource for publishing university contacts for disabled students, NMH provision and rates. Also provides links to relevant DSA matters and AT providers.
  • 2012 Development of NMH Services Reference Manual - activity titles, role descriptors and cost band research undertaken.
  • 2012 NNAC introduces DSA assessor accreditation (400+ assessors registered)
  • 2013 talks between NNAC and BIS started to improve the assessment of students under the DSA.
  • 2014 Charter for Non-Medical Help Providers published. First NMH Audits undertaken.
  • 2014 Association of NMH Providers established.
  • 2014 NMH Services Reference Manual for England published; this reduces 100+ roles to 19 key roles with descriptors. Statement from SFE that as from 31st March, the activity titles to be used in all assessment of need reports and on providers' invoices.
  • 7 APRIL 2014 WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
  • September 2014 - The government postpones cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance until 2016-17

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