Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People (FFO)
Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People (FFO) was founded on September 21st 1950, and is a central co-operative body of organisations of disabled people in Norway.
Fundamental to FFO’s work is its belief in a society based on solidarity – a society that ensures to all the right to freedom, social security and societal participation.
FFO envisions a society where disabled people have equal opportunity to take part in all aspects of society, where disabled people are equal in all respects.
FFO’s functions as co-ordinator of the work and political activities of its member organisations. The ultimate goal of FFO’s co-ordinating function is to influence policy decisions by utilising strength of numbers through unity.
The challenge lies in enabling the member organisations to act as deliverers of premises regarding political policy decisions and societal development. Political activity is therefore one of FFO’s most important tasks.
In order to prevail in the political arena in decisions of major interest to disabled people and chronically ill, both large and small organisations must present a united front. The diversity of FFO’s member organisations is both a challenge and strength.
Strong member organisations are vital for the achievement of successful action by the central co-operative organisation. It is therefore important for FFO to give assistance and guidance to its member organisations.
FFO’s service plan is aimed at strengthening the member organisations in such a way that co-operation with FFO is deeply rooted in all of the individual organisations’ goals and activities.
This service plan also forms the basis for FFO co-operative action in the counties and municipalities. Aid and counselling activities comprise a significant part of the work of the central secretariat and FFO’s Board of Directors.
FFO’s organisation is structured on the FFO definition of disability, FFO’s activity plan and FFO’s service plan.
FFO’s biannual Congress is FFO’s highest authority. The Congress elects the 12 members of the Board of Directors from different member organisations. The Board of Directors is responsible for carrying out the decisions taken by the congress.
FFO is organised centrally with branch organisations/offices on both county and municipality levels.
The FFO Constitution requires organisations with FFO membership centrally to co-operate and support the activities of the FFO county and municipality branches through the member organisations’ own county/municipality branch.
FFO’s working methods can be described as three-fold: documentation, information and visibility.
FFO has experienced that valid documentation is vital to winning support for changes. One of FFO’s major tasks is dissemination of information to member organisations as well as to county and municipality branches and relevant others.
Adult education, seminars and meetings are important to this aspect of FFO’s work. When preparing information for the professional environment, FFO’s member organisations and their local contact organisations are a major source of expertise.
The media in all its aspects and visible demonstrations can also contribute to focusing attention on the problems and injustices experienced by disabled people in Norway.
Involvement and effort on the part of the member organisations is basic to effective co-operative action. FFO’s Constitution states that it is preferable for the leaders of FFO’s member organisations to participate in the meetings of FFO bodies as it is in these forums that the direction for FFO’s work is discussed, where policy is determined and decisions approved.
FFO is therefore concerned that as many leaders of the member organisations as possible are involved. Decisions approved by these FFO bodies are not necessarily binding for the member organisations but by common informal agreement, all unanimously approved decisions are expected to be honoured by all the member organisations.
FFO is officially recognised in Norway as the co-ordinating body for organisations of disabled people. The Norwegian government and FFO have by agreement established a Contact Committee. The Committee is headed by the secretary of state of the Ministry for Health and Social Affairs.
Current questions and problems are discussed in this Committee, e.g. FFO’s comments on the annual governmental budget proposals. FFO, along with the Norwegian retired persons association and the Trade Union Congress (LO) in Norway, participate in the annual social security negotiations with the government.
A great many public agencies and authorities use FFO as a consultation body. FFO is represented in boards, councils and committees, and participates among others in the State Council on Disability, The Norwegian Biotechnological Committee and the Board of Including Education (Norwegian Directorates for Education and Training).
FFO is represented in the Nordic Cooperation on Disability (Nordiske samarbeidsorganet for handikappfrågor - NSH) and in the European Disability Forum. FFO takes part in the Rehabilitation International Norway (RI-Norway).