Management systems in place to review and monitor the standards of service provision in relation to cases awaiting allocation required improvement. Standard operating procedures to manage unallocated cases were not consistently implemented. This lack of consistent management oversight meant that the area could not be assured that children were receiving a timely service that was appropriate to their needs. Reviews of cases on waiting lists did not result in cases being appropriately prioritised for allocation, despite significant indicators of cumulative harm in some of the cases reviewed. The review information included on the file did not provide a specific analysis or rationale for the decisions made in relation to each case, nor did it outline what action was to be taken in each case.
Data management practices in relation to some children’s files were poor, and relevant documents, such as case notes, had not been uploaded or completed. This impacted on the ability of managers to review casework and review all relevant information for children who were on the waiting list for child protection and welfare services.
Further improvements were required in the timeliness and quality of screening and preliminary enquiry in the service area. All concerns in relation to children were screened and directed to the appropriate service. The majority of referrals were classified appropriately. While significant improvement had been made to meet the time frames for screening and preliminary enquiries, further work was required to ensure consistency, and adhere to Tusla’s own standard business processes. The area had made improvements in the completion of notifications to An Garda Síochána.
The quality of safety plans was inconsistent and the process for monitoring, reviewing and updating safety plans in the area required further improvement. There was no clear system in place to ensure that safety plans were being implemented by families, or to ensure that safety plans had been updated to take account of changes in family situations.
Initial assessments completed by the service were of good quality, and children were met with and observed as part of the assessment process. There was good quality analysis of children’s needs, and the strengths and risks that existed within their network. However, they were not completed in a timely manner.
The timeliness of initial child protection conferences required improvement. This presented a risk for the children involved, as existing safety plans and interventions were not addressing the identified risks to children or keeping children safe. The content of the child protection safety plans developed were of good quality. Review child protection conferences were comprehensive and were completed in a timely manner.