Working to improve the DSA system
BATA’s Disabled Students Allowances Suppliers’ Subgroup has been working hard over the past 18 months to improve the system for providing students with AT.
Suppliers, led by BATA council members Ian Litterick and Graham Coiley, are concerned about the long-term impact on the quality and effectiveness of DSA provision because of the ‘three quote rule’ currently in operation.
The rule inevitably leads to the cheapest quote being successful, threatening the sustainability of the sector. A reduction in the number of suppliers would result in a loss of experience that would adversely affect support for students and other disabled people.
In December 2013 (and again in January 2014), Executive Director Barbara Phillips wrote to Policy Advisor Elaine Underwood at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) about concerns raised to BATA Council by BATA's DSA Suppliers Subgroup.
Although the meeting Barbara asked for has not yet been agreed, BATA will continue to pursue this with BIS because the proposals put forward by the Subgroup would, we think, safeguard quality and the longer term sustainability of the AT sector without leading to price increases.
"As you will be only too aware from what they have already submitted to you, members of the BATA DSA Suppliers Subgroup have real concerns about the long-term impact on the quality and therefore effectiveness of DSA provision because of the ‘three quote rule’ currently in operation, which they say inevitably leads to the cheapest quote being successful," Barbara wrote.
"SFE and the DSA-QAG have attempted to respond to their point about the downward pressure on prices, raising questions about the long-term sustainability of the businesses involved but, so far, they have done so with more regulation, rather than addressing the fundamental underlying issue of a pricing model that is, in the view of suppliers, inherently unstable and unsustainable.
"Working together we could help with the drive to make savings while improving quality, protecting the sustainability of the UK supply, and being not more costly to administer."