independent

Monday 25 March 2019

Families fear not enough change at Sunbeam House

Almost all report recommendations implemented, says CEO

Deborah Coleman

The Sunbeam House Services Family Advocacy Group has raised concern about the service saying that almost two years after the publication of the Jeyes Report, which highlighted safeguarding failings, not enough change has been implemented within the organisation.

The group said that a Deloitte Value for Money Report, a Deloitte Clients Private Property and Funds Report and a QE5 Cultural Audit which families took part in have not been published and they have called for the appointment of an independent family liaison.

These reports were commissioned by the HSE after Minister for Health Simon Harris backed calls from families for greater transparency at Sunbeam following the publication of the Jeyes Report in March 2017.

Families engaged with Deloitte during this process but say they have yet to see the findings.

A spokesperson for the HSE outlined that the Deloitte Value for Money Report (including the Clients Private Property and Funds Report) is expected to be finalised and available by the middle of this month.

'The report requires some factual accuracy checks and is with Sunbeam House Services in this context currently,' the spokesperson said.

In a statement, the Sunbeam House Services Family Advocacy Group (SHSFAG) said that they will be referring their issues to the HSE as Sunbeam House Services has, in their view, failed to implement all the recommendations as per their agreement.

'We have given the new management almost 18 months' grace... No one can be sure recommendations of any of the Deloitte reports or Cultural Audits are implemented as they have not been published. Deloitte has informed SHSFAG they have been complete for a number of months and QE5 informed families the Cultural Audits were finalised in March 2018 - a year ago - yet no family has seen them.'

They added that they thought there were reduced staffing levels resulting in fewer activities less social/community inclusion and fewer staff 'which may result in clients been put at risk'.

However, according to Sunbeam House Services, it is not 'normal practice' to publish cultural audits.

CEO Hugh Kane told this newspaper that he circulated a 'high level report on the different audits in 2018' to the family advocacy group.

'At this point, virtually all of the recommendations have been implemented,' he said.

In relation to other reports carried out, he said that the outcome is discussed with individual family members.

'Where reports cover more than one person, it is not always possible or desirable to release full reports to protect the confidentiality of those named in such reports,' he said.

Mr Kane disputed that there has been a reduction in staffing levels.

'In relation to staffing levels, there has been no reduction. I looked at the staffing numbers for the last six quarters. In September 2017, we employed 429.5 staff and at December 2018 we employed 436.6. On average, we employ 14 agency staff to cover shortages in different locations,' said Mr Kane.

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