Thursday 19 September 2019

Quarter of pre-school inspection did not comply with Tusla regulations - new report

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, released records to the Irish Independent
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, released records to the Irish Independent

Sam Griffin

A quarter of all pre-school centre inspection reports by the child and family agency did not comply with regulations, a new report has revealed.

A total of 3,007 inspections were carried out last year by Tusla. Most of these were in the west, where almost 35pc of all inspections were conducted.

A quarter of the inspections were carried out in the south and another quarter in the Dublin mid Leinster area.

However only 16pc, or 477 inspections, were carried out in the HSE Dublin North East area.

This was an area that former junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall identified as severely lacking in pre-school inspections.

Earlier this year, figures she obtained revealed there were just five inspectors in the HSE Dublin North-East area which covers Dublin north-west, Dublin north, Dublin north-central, Meath and Cavan- Monaghan. It was also revealed some pre-schools were not inspected for six years.

Today’s report outlines the findings of reports carried out between January 2012 and May 2013.

Overall, there was a 74pc compliance rate across the 3,007 inspection reports. Just under 14pc were deemed non-compliant. The remainder were found to be not applicable (7.8pc)to the particular regulations or centres were not assessed for certain regulatory compliance (1pc).

Of the findings of non-compliance, 46pc related to management and staffing levels at centres. 43pc related to safety measures and 35pc related to records.

Dr Sinead Hannafin, who provided an independent assessment on inspections carried out, said that while “most services are compliant with most regulations” she said some reports “contained observations and information that raise deep concerns”.

She said some staff had not been garda vetted while a number of safety issues had arisen including children having access to sharp knives and toxic materials as well as children be given food that was not nutritious.

She revealed in another case, the password to an electronic gate had been written down beside the device so anyone could have gained accessed to the centre.

Tusla Chief Executive Godon Jeyes said the findings of the report identified “where improvements must be made, particularly with regard to the regulation of compliance”.

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