Annual Report 2019

Chair and Trustees’ statement

The Board of Trustees present their annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019. The Board is satisfied with Real DPO Ltd’s performance during the year and the position at 31 March 2019.

The trustees would like to acknowledge the hard work of Real’s management team and staff. They continue to evolve and expand the organisation’s work to meet the needs of the disabled people of Tower Hamlets in line with its aims and objectives. The board is always impressed with the dedication, competencies and skills of our staff; it’s clear that they collectively make a real difference to disabled people in Tower Hamlets.

I’d also like to thank the rest of the trustees for their time and support throughout the year.

Despite losing the Direct Payments Support Service during the year, the trustees believe that the forthcoming restructuring and the plans for alternative revenue generation are sound and so consider that Real DPO Ltd is in a good position to continue its activities during the coming year and that its assets are adequate to fulfil its obligations.  We are pleased that we have concluded our strategic planning process and are excited about what the future holds. Consequently, I look forward to continuing to help lead the organisation in conjunction with my fellow board members.

The board commends to you the annual report.

Henry Stone


Introduction from our CEO

2018/19 has been a broadly stable year for Real despite the changes that are coming in the next year. Compared to many organisations in the not-for-profit sector we have maintained the same revenue streams compared to last year and are developing some new ones. Of course there are uncertainties about future funding lying ahead, as there are for all not-for-profit organisations, but we consider that we are in a good shape to address them.

The biggest change during the year has been the loss of our Direct Payments Support Service (with effect from 31 March 2019). We produce what we considered to be a high quality bid for the re-tendering of this service, but on the day of bid submission a technical error prevented us from submitting it after it was uploaded. Despite appeals to Tower Hamlets Council we were excluded from the bidding process. We think this is a tragedy for local disabled people who for 10 years have given consistently good feedback about having this key service delivered by a local user-led organisation. It’s also tough for the disabled employees who were transferred to the new national provider, some of whom were made redundant as a result as part of the TUPE process. Our one consolation from this exercise was that we were excluded on a procedural issue, not that someone else outperformed us on quality.

Despite this disappointment, we are still optimistic for the future. We have concluded our two-year exercise to develop a new five-year strategy for Real which has gone down well with our members and key external stakeholders. We’ve also spent time developing a new fundraising strategy. See more in section 6 of this report on future plans.

Section 5 of this report covers the many and varied areas of work we do, showing both the breadth and quality of the support we have given to our local community. Real is a user-led organisation of disabled people, run and controlled by disabled people living, working, studying or volunteering in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Our ethos is that disabled people know best what works well for them, and what solutions they need in life to give them real independence and what they need to achieve the same choices and outcomes in life as non-disabled people. I’m really proud that the feedback we get from our clients shows we get this right, and I’m equally proud of Real’s amazing staff and volunteer teams who deliver these outcomes.

It’s important to demonstrate that we deliver good quality services. We were delighted to be reaccredited with the new, harder version of the Advice Quality Standard for our advice services, alongside our achievement of the Quality Performance Mark for our advocacy services. It’s great that we now get recognition for the quality of our work, and operations, from two different independent external reviewers as well as the good feedback we get from our clients.

In section 8, Plans for future periods, we set out how we are developing a variety of new services. It’s an exciting time to be working at Real as we continue to evolve into what we hope will be a best practice example of a user-led organisation of disabled people.

Mike Smith

Chief Executive

Click the following link to download a copy of the full report

Real 2019 trustees annual report and accounts

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