Sunday 18 November 2018

Tusla launch tracking system to guard against interference with case files

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Tusla has taken steps to guard against the destruction or altering of case files in the wake of criticism from the Disclosures Tribunal.

Staff who try to cover-up failings in the handling of cases face being caught following the introduction of a new computer tracking system, a senior official at the child and family agency has said.

The warning comes just weeks after the tribunal found a file on the Maurice McCabe case was “filleted” so that the full extent of the inefficiencies in Cavan/Monaghan Tusla would not be made known to the Sexual Abuse Regional Team based in Dublin who had been transferred the file in 2016”.

Tusla director of transformation and policy Cormac Quinlan told Independent.ie a national information system had been rolled out, replacing paper based files which were used in some areas until recent times.

“There are audit trails within the system now which can track and log if people have deleted stuff,” said Mr Quinlan.

He said that while errors can occur, somebody trying to cover something up was not acceptable.

Asked if anyone was being held to account for the issues identified by the tribunal, Mr Quinlan said he could not comment beyond saying HR processes were in place.

He was speaking as Tusla co-hosted an international child protection conference in Dublin. The three-day conference is discussing Signs of Safety, a new practice model being adopted by Tusla.

The model involves increased consultation with children and families when dealing with cases. The same framework led to a 75pc reduction in court presentations and a 30pc reduction in out-of-home placements after it was introduced in Calgary, Canada.

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