Public Accounts Committee report highlights need for culture change in Tusla – Denise Mitchell TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Denise Mitchell, has said that the Public Accounts Committee’s Report on Tusla again raises serious concerns about accountability at the Child and Family Agency.
Speaking in Leinster House, Deputy Mitchell said:
“It’s obvious that a culture change is badly needed within Tusla. This report is not just a damning verdict on the lack of oversight within the Agency’s own structures, but it raises serious questions as to whether the Minister is holding Tusla to account when it comes to its use of public funds.
“In one instance highlighted in this Report, Tusla appeared unable to explain where €700,000 had been spent, and it was left to the Comptroller & Auditor General to identify this. Furthermore, the report notes that the Agency failed to follow prescribed processes when it came to procurement practices, meaning it is unclear whether value for money was achieved when it came to the spending of €5.2million.”
Deputy Mitchell also commented on the issue of staff retention in the Agency:
“The report highlights the high staff turnover rates at Tusla. Despite hiring 250 new staff, there was only a net gain of 18 due to the high numbers leaving the Agency. This is an issue we have raised time and time again with the Minister.
“It is very obvious that many social workers are overworked and carrying huge caseloads. These staff work directly with children – some of them very vulnerable – and with whom they need to build-up a long term working relationship based on trust. That is why the retention of staff is so vitally important and we need to see serious improvement in this area.”