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Need for real checks and balances in oversight of Guardian ad litem service - David Cullinane TD

19 January, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane TD, Sinn Féin member of the Public Accounts Committee, has said that there is a need for real checks and balances in terms of oversight of the Guardian ad litem service.

Deputy Cullinane said:

‘While it is to be welcomed that the Department of Children and youth Affairs acknowledge the need for professional standards, it is not acceptable that oversight and accountability is side-lined in an effort to attain them.

“In other words, professional standards that cut corners are not professional standards.

“The C&AG found that 65 guardians shared professional fees of €8.2 million in 2015. It was accepted that Tulsa were limited in their ability to monitor the cost of case, or identify and review cases with higher than average costs.

“This shows that there has to be genuine accountability and sanction for service providers, be they private or public.

“We have seen in the past how service providers can end up in a kind of regulatory ‘free-zone’ between state organisations given the task of ensuring the process.

“This cannot be allowed to happen any longer with Guardian ad litem, particularly given the significant payments passed on to a very small number of clients.

“Secretary General Fergal Lynch told the Committee today that legislation is being worked upon that will address these deficiencies, and I look forward to its publication.”

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