Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Estimates for Public Services 2016: Vote 40 – Department of Children and Youth Affairs

9:00 am

Photo of Katherine ZapponeKatherine Zappone (Dublin South West, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I thank everyone. It is great to have the questions. I will start with Deputy Anne Rabbitte's questions and my answers may cut across similar questions from the other Deputies. The capital expenditure by Tusla, including on ICT, is on target. Tusla is working on a comprehensive ICT strategy, which I expect to receive shortly. Progress on the national child care information system is slightly behind schedule but it is progressing. My officials are working closely with Tusla to drive the development. I have met the chairman and the CEO recently and stressed the importance of ICT as a key aspect to promotion for a modern child care protection service. I feel encouraged and supported by the Deputy's interest in it to drive this priority.

The Deputy asked about staff recruitment in Tusla. The Deputy will be aware that Tusla is extremely proactive in its recruitment.

At the end of August 2016, Tusla had 3,570 whole-time equivalent staff employed compared with 3,460 at the end of December 2015. Its number of full-time equivalent staff has increased by 110, in effect, as a result of recruitment. Tusla is engaged in a three-year plan to address human resource deficiencies across its multidisciplinary workforce of social workers and others. As part of the process of recruiting that multidisciplinary workforce, Tusla has more than 70 recruitment campaigns going on. It is dealing with in excess of 1,500 applicants for various roles across the organisation and it has completed 650 interviews to date. Like many Deputies, I am particularly interested in what is going on with the recruitment of social workers. If Tusla is to meet its target of having 1,570 whole-time equivalent staff in this area by the end of 2016, it will have to recruit approximately 150 more social workers by the end of the year.