Director publishes first annual report of the DSS

25 Jun, 2024


The Director of the Decision Support Service (DSS) has this morning published her first annual report, following commencement of the service last year.

Published as part of the Mental Health Commission 2023 Annual Report, the Director’s report provides information on the activities of the Director from the long-awaited commencement of the Act on 26 April 2023 until the end of 2023.

Last year saw the culmination of intensive work to deliver the DSS, which has put Ireland to the forefront of vindicating an adult’s right to make decisions, supported - if necessary - by a new framework that is focused on their will and preferences.

“The publication of this report marks another important milestone for the Decision Support Service,” said the Director, Áine Flynn. “In it, we provide an overview and data on our activities in the first eight months of operation, including the submission of 460 decision-support arrangement applications from members of the public. As a public-facing service, it is important that we draw on all of our data sources to inform our operations - and support our goal of continuous improvement.

“As communications and awareness-raising are at the heart of what we do in the DSS, the report also demonstrates how we consulted widely with the public; published our Codes of Practice; engaged extensively with stakeholders; and established a stakeholder forum consisting of experts by experience.

“We also launched a successful public information campaign, in which our nine DSS champions  generously shared their personal stories about what the Act and the DSS could mean for them. As part of this campaign, DSS television advertisements were viewed
at least once by 2.54 million adults; radio ads were heard by 3.2 million adults; 3.1m people had the opportunity to see DSS adverts across the press; while the ads were viewed extensively across social media.

“All this engagement and awareness-raising resulted in almost 10,000 adults opening a secure verified online ‘MyDSS’ account; visitors to the website increasing from on average 4,000 people per month to 19,000 visitors each month by year end; while we received more than 14,000 separate emails and calls to our offices seeking information about the new service and how it could assist them or their loved ones,” added Ms. Flynn.

“We are statutorily obliged to communicate information about the 2015 Act and the role of the DSS, so the results of our campaign, our consultations and our stakeholder engagement demonstrates that we comprehensively fulfilled our obligations in that respect in 2023, and we will continue to engage will all stakeholders as interest in this critical service continues to grow.”

The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly, said it was a privilege for the MHC to launch the DSS, and the Director’s first report sets out how this new person-centred, accessible service is delivering for people across all parts of Ireland.

“The Director’s report provides a picture of the complexity and detail of the service,” he said. “It also shows that the continued success of the Decision Support Service involves engaging with of a diverse range of stakeholders in civil society, including the private sector, the state and public services and above all – those people using our services and their families. It is important that this collaboration continues as we move forward.”


Link to the Annual Report of the Director of the Decision Support Service 

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