HIQA launches National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published National Standards for residential services for children and adults with disabilities. These Standards outline to providers what they must do to ensure safe and effective care is provided to people living in, or using, residential and residential respite services.

Speaking at the launch of the Standards, Phelim Quinn, Director of Regulation with HIQA, said: “The publication of these Standards for residential services for children and adults is a landmark moment for disability services in Ireland. From now on, these Standards will provide those who use services and their families/representatives with a guide as to what they should expect from residential services. These standards will be used as a framework to drive continuous improvements in these services.”

“Children and adults using residential services have the right to be safe, to receive good care and support and to have access to the services they need to enable them to live a fulfilling life.”

The National Standards apply to residential services provided to children and adults with a disability, whether the service is operated by public, private or voluntary bodies or agencies. Following the publication of the regulations by the Government, all services providing residential services for people with disabilities in Ireland will have to be registered with HIQA.

The Standards were developed by the Authority following a review of national and international literature, a number of meetings with a Standards Advisory Group and an extensive consultation period with a wide range of stakeholders in children and adult disability services in Ireland.

The National Standards focus on the outcomes for the adults and children receiving services. They state that children and adults who live in residential services should enjoy a good quality of life and live in a place that feels like their home. The Standards are grouped under eight key themes and cover a number of areas including respecting service users’ autonomy, privacy and dignity and promoting their rights. They are also aimed at ensuring the facilitation of choice and safeguarding and protecting service users from abuse.

“Service providers should be aware of the unique social and developmental needs of children and adults, and their changing requirements as they grow, develop and mature into adulthood, midlife and old age. In taking a lifecycle approach, the Standards are set out in two sections: one for children and one for adults,” Phelim Quinn said.

“It is vital that standards of service provided to children and adults are of a consistently high quality, regardless of which provider is running the service. When our team of inspectors and staff begin monitoring and inspecting these services, these Standards, along with relevant regulations, will be used as the framework to assess whether centres are providing safe and effective care for children and adults living there. It is the first time that residential services for children and adults with disabilities will be subjected to independent scrutiny by a regulator. HIQA will begin the registration and inspection of residential services for children and adults with disabilities against these standards and regulations later this year. From then, all residential services will be required to provide HIQA with evidence of compliance with the National Standards and the regulations in order to remain registered.”

The National Standards can be downloaded from www.hiqa.ie. There are a number of different versions of the Standards available, including the full Standards document, a plain English guide to the Standards, an easy to read version for adults and one for children. The Standards have been produced in Braille and there are two audio versions: one is a short summary of the Standards, available on iTunes, and the other is the full standards, available on our website. Added to that, there is short video about the Standards on HIQA’s YouTube channel. The video includes sign language and closed captioning. All these materials are also available for free download from www.hiqa.ie.


Further Information: 

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, Health Information and Quality Authority, 01 814 7481 / 086 244 7623, mwhelan@hiqa.ie.

Notes to the Editor: 

  • The National Standards have been approved by the Board of HIQA and mandated by the Minister for Health, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and the Minister of State for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People
  • The National Standards are organised into eight key themes. These are:
    • Individualised Supports and Care
    • Effective Services
    • Safe Services
    • Health and Development
    • Leadership, Governance and Management
    • Use of Resources
    • Responsive Workforce
    • Use of Information.
  • It is estimated that there are approximately 9,500 people with disabilities living in around 1,200 residential services for people with a disability.
  • In total, there are 60 standards – 30 for children with disabilities and 30 for adults with disabilities, living in a range of residential care settings.
  • The Authority has been working extensively with providers of residential services for children and adults with disabilities on what the new system will mean for them.