Thursday 18 October 2018

Disability service at centre of abuse allegations says job vacancy 'not linked to staff suspensions'

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Kathy Armstrong and Eilish O'Regan

A disabilities centre at the centre of abuse allegations has said a job opening at the centre is not linked to staff suspensions.

Sunbeam House Services (SHS), which has centres in Wicklow and south-east Dublin for people with disabilities, has suspended five staff members pending two investigations into allegations of abuse.

The decision to suspend the staff – who are on paid leave – was taken by management hours after they were informed about allegations of abuse.

Chief Executive Hugh Kane said the employees are on paid leave "at the present time."

The allegations were also referred to the organisation's internal safeguarding team, some of whom had interviewed the complainant before management informed the gardaí.

All relevant authorities were contacted and the families of the residents informed.

Sunbeam House Services has put five staff members on paid leave after allegations of abuse
Sunbeam House Services has put five staff members on paid leave after allegations of abuse

The service is currently recruiting a Deputy Client Services Manager, a full-time post with a 12 month contract.

The successful applicant will be based in Bray, Co Wicklow and will begin their duties this month.

The advertisement for the job, which is posted on www.activelink.ie, says: "We are seeking a motivated, organised, and dedicated Deputy Client Services Manager to support the Client Services Manager.

"The successful candidate will be responsible for supporting the Nurse Client Services Manager in the management of a residential service.

"Candidates must be innovative in their approach and take responsibility for the provision of a high-quality person-centred service in line with H.I.Q.A. Standards and be committed to the promotion of social inclusion and community participation."

Among the essential experience that are listed for the role are "excellent organisation and communication skills", "high initiative and integrity" and "experience of dealing with responsive behaviours and with behaviour supports."

Mr Kane told Independent.ie that the job vacancy is not linked to the suspension of the five staff members.

"There is no connection between both issues. The posts are as advertised,”” he said.

SHS is mainly funded by the HSE and receives around €26.6million annually.

The patient safety watchdog and the Health Information and Quality Authority has published three inspection reports on Sunbeam House centres.

It issued a notice to cancel the registration of one centre and the provider had submitted representation to Hiqa's chief inspector of social services.

The inspection found the provider failed to implement their own plan and residents continued to be adversely impacted.

Improvements in meeting the assessed needs of residents were required in a second centre, and in a third, the provider had failed to meet their legal requirements in submitting an accurate and complete application to renew the registration.

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