Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Discussion with CEO of Tusla on Future Developments and Update on Childcare Facilities

Mr. Bernard Gloster:

I can go back to my opening statement and some things I have both said and done since I started in the role. Restoring public confidence is a very slow process but I have been unequivocal in my efforts in that regard. For example, in my first radio interview in my second week in the job with Mr. Sean O'Rourke, I was very clear that if anybody wants to talk to me about the disclosures tribunal, I am very happy to talk about it. The reality is the findings of Mr. Justice Charleton were that when Tusla identified that it had made a mistake, if it dealt with the mistake differently and more openly, the need for that module of the tribunal would have been slim to nil. We must start simply saying to the public that we accept that. That defines for us where our behaviour goes in future and how we deal with complaints, issues or people's information. Showing that to the public is particularly important.

The one thing we cannot relay to the public in advance about our problems is a HIQA report as it is illegal to publish a HIQA report before the authority does so. Other than that, it is my intention to give regular information through the public representative system, the media and as many channels as we can find for people to listen to. There should be information about the number of cases that are unallocated to a social worker, for example, and equally there should be information indicating that many of those on allocated cases are receiving very good services from people other than social workers like social care workers in Dublin. We must put balanced information into the public domain as distinct from just trying to put out good information and hide from examples that may not be so good. That is one way of building public confidence but the ultimate test of public confidence is the quality of service provided.