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Tusla Early Years Inspectorate Annual Report 2017

November 27, 2018

The third edition of the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate Annual Report was released last week. The report outlines results of Tusla inspections of early years settings in 2017 and details about the composition of the early years sector.

The Tusla report includes important information for the early years sector, including highlighting areas in which improvements in service need to be made. As a sector, we can collectively use this information to improve the quality of children’s experiences in early years settings. Early Childhood Ireland will use some of the findings to inform our policy and advocacy work around compliance issues.

We receive many calls from members about their early years inspections. We continuously use our participation in policy forums and elsewhere, to highlight members’ issues with inspections.

Below are some of the key findings of the report:

The Early Years Sector

  • 4,484 early years services registered at year end 2017, this figure includes childminders. This is a slight decrease on the number of services registered in 2016 (4,507 services).
  • There were less closures reported in 2017 (117 notified to Tusla) than in 2016 and more services with a small workforce closed.
  • 96 new services were approved for registration during 2017.
  • The most common type of service registered were sessional services, followed by full day care services.


Notifications of Incidents and Complaints

  • 204 incidents were notified to Tusla in 2017. Almost two thirds of these were related to a serious injury to a pre-school child (64%). Examples of these incidences are listed in the report.
  • 276 complaints were received by the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate in 2017. The most common area of complaint related to the health, welfare and development of the child (36% of complaints).
  • However, not all complaints were upheld, and information is not available on the result of all complaints – 40% were upheld or partially upheld, 19% were withdrawn and 41% of complaints were not upheld.


Compliance with the Childcare Regulations

Below are the findings from 1,563 inspections conducted in 2017 by Early Years Inspectors.

  • In total, 12,857 regulations were assessed and of these, 9,640 (75%) were found to be compliant and 3,217 (25%) non-compliant.
  • More than 90% of services assessed under Regulation 29 – Premises, Regulation 11 – Staffing levels (staff to child ratio) and Regulation 25 – First aid were reported to be compliant.
  • The lowest levels of compliance were recorded for Regulation 23 – Safeguarding health and welfare of the child and Regulation 16 – Records in relation to service.
  • The report finds that the inspection process is effective in addressing issues arising. More than 8 in every 10 services (83%) took corrective actions, based on the findings of the Early Years Inspectors report, to improve their service.


We remind members if you have any worries about the issues raised in the Tusla Inspectorate Report or require more information on compliance, you can contact Support Point by phone on 01 4057103 or email


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