Tuesday 20 August 2019

Scouting Ireland and Tusla agree safeguarding action plan

Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)
Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Wayne O’Connor

Scouting Ireland and Tusla will meet with gardai to discuss the management of abuse allegations under the terms of a new action plan agreed between the organisations.

The action plan was agreed between the two bodies last night and aims to improve the safeguarding of children taking part in scouting activities.

It will see Scouting Ireland review their Safeguarding Risk Assessment and relevant procedures to protect members.

It will also work with the child and family agency to review the organising of overnight trips and strategies for monitoring the quality of its safeguarding measures.

Scouting Ireland said it has already addressed a point in the plan to recruit an new safeguarding manager with responsibility for overseeing the organisation’s policies and liaising with Tusla.

Officials told the Oireachtas Children’s Committee today that they have appointed an external candidate to the role and he is expected to take up the position early next month.

Last month Tusla wrote to Scouring Ireland outlining a number of concerns the agency had surrounding the handling of cases of alleged abuse and sexual abuse.

It recommended changes to how children are supervised, reconsidering running overnight jamborees and an urgent review of the manner in which Scouting Ireland is managing disclosures about child protection concerns.

Tusla officials told the committee it had not intended for the letter sent to Scouting Ireland on February 18 to make its way in to the public domain.

It was made public after Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone read it into the Dáil record to make parents aware of Tusla’s concerns. She only became aware of the letter after Mr Elliot contacted her asking for the letter to be withdrawn.

The letter outlined eight recommendations to address the alleged abuse and these have formed the plank of the new action plan.

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