Innovative Practices 2015 on Independent Living and Political Participation

Free personal assistance proves cost-effictive

The Oficina de Vida Independiente (OVI Madrid) is a project run by the NGO ASPAYM-Madrid to provide free personal assistance services (PAS) to disabled people within the Madrid region. The project has been funded by the Madrid local government since its founding in July 2006, and since September 2013 it has been co-funded by the European Social Fund. The services provided are designed to be sufficient to fully support all areas of the participants’ lives, covering self-care, household care, study, work, mobility, leisure, travel, etc. on a 365-days-a-year basis.

“With enough and self-managed personal assistance, we all can live our lives our own way.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Free personal assistance proves cost-effictive
of Implementation


    • 137,000 hours of PAS were provided and paid for during 2013.
    • As a result, 59 people have been living their own lives, wherever they choose, and all of them are working, studying, and/or participating in social activities.
    • A social return of investment study conducted by an external consulting firm showed that for every €100 of public funds invested €91.64 is returned to the government via work and taxes.



Currently, personal assistant budgets are just 0.02 percent of total government services and budgets provided by law, and personal assistance is still widely unknown in Spain. The Madrid regional government and ASPAYM-Madrid together launched the OVI-Madrid project in order to test how personal assistance works in real life. Initially, it was designed as a pilot project for 35 people, but it soon showed its potential and was increased to 60. The primary objective of the project is to provide sufficient personal assistance services to disabled people within the Madrid region to allow them to live fully productive and participatory lives.


Following the Independent Living philosophy, each participant is in charge of his/her PAS. In order to determinate the number of hours of services needed, each participant must complete a document known as the ‘PIVI’ (the Spanish acronym for Individual Plan for Independent Living). This document gathers all the activities for which personal assistance is needed as well as the amount of time involved. Currently, not all demand can be met, and there is a waiting list of 21 people.


OVI Madrid is the first project of this kind in Spain and is regularly consulted by other projects that are currently being established in the country. It follows the Independent Living philosophy by allowing people to take control of their own lives by using the ‘human tool’ called personal assistance. The demand for personal assistance has been an issue all over Spain for a long time. Although the current project is limited to the Madrid region, it can be implemented easily elsewhere.  The collaboration between public administration (providing the funds) and an NGO (providing the management of the project) results in a considerable reduction in costs (at OVI Madrid, 98 percent of the investment goes to direct costs).


Aspaym Madrid
Camino de Valderribas 115
28038 Madrid
Tel: +34 91 478 70 31