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Inspection reports need to be accessible and up to date for parents

August 14, 2014

Early Childhood Ireland calls for easy access inspection reports that are up to date for parents

The latest wave of inspection reports are again making the headlines and Early Childhood Ireland is calling for a radical overhaul of the inspection process urgently.

Nobody can defend the litany of breaches listed on the front page of The Herald today.  The services involved must take responsibility and take all the necessary steps to improve quality.

However, when having this conversation about the latest inspection reports, it is important to acknowledge that most of these reports are not up to date which is not in anybody’s interest.  Issues of non compliance should be addressed by the service in the best interests of children but we’ve got to have a better and more regular inspection system and  easier access to the information for parents.

We need regular and consistent inspections across the country and that can’t be done when the number of inspectors to conduct these inspections just isn’t enough.  We’ve got to get the inspection process right and have the necessary number of inspectors to do it.  Otherwise, we’re just skimming around the edges.

Furthermore, as we’ve been saying for a long time, these inspectors must be qualified in early education and care if they are to properly assess the overall experience for the child, as well as the building and environment from a health and safety perspective.  If there is an issue preventing Tusla from recruiting the right people for inspections, we’ve got to address that too.

Early Childhood Ireland members want regular inspections.  While obtaining Garda Vetting now takes less time, the issue of transferring vetting from one service to another when people move is a  major issue that needs to be addressed.

So today we reiterate again that members must be compliant, but the systems must be made more efficient and effective to make that compliance easier.

Communications between the parent and the crèche or preschool manager is key, particularly if parents have concerns about the latest inspection reports or can’t find an inspection report on the service in question.   We recommend talking to the manager; ask the questions, express any concerns, ask other parents about their experience with the service, visit the premises etc.

However, on behalf of our members who are delivering a quality service day in day out and who get tarnished by this negative brush whenever a batch of non compliant inspection reports are sensationally published, we say it’s also important to communicate our concerns about where the inspection process is letting them down.


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