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Creche reports 'out of date' says Early Childhood Ireland

The childcare representative group says that there needs to be clear distinctions between minor and major non-compliance.

ONE IN FOUR  Irish preschools and crèches have not been inspected in the last two years according to Early Childhood Ireland.

The childcare representative group says that as a result many of the inspection reports being published online by the HSE are outdated and inconsistent.

A survey of 1,078  crèches and preschools across the country carried out by Early Childhood Ireland found that while 82% of respondents say they welcome inspections going on line, only 34% actually submitted a right of reply in their most recent inspection report.

The inspection reports, which were published online for the first time last week, also contain correspondence between the HSE and the childcare service on any issues arising from inspections but respondents to the survey complained that they had not been offered their right to reply.

The reports are available on the website of the non-profit organisation Pobal by clicking on the ‘HSE Reports’ tab at the top of the map but Chief Operations Officer of Early Childhood Ireland Teresa Heeney says that publishing old and incomplete reports acts merely as a diversion:

Publishing historical reports will be most unhelpful to parents and unfair to early childcare and education professionals and will continue to divert the resources of the HSE and the Department for Children and Youth Affairs into the past and not the future.

The reports describe the childcare facilities as either ‘compliant’ or ‘non-compliant’ but Heeney says that these descriptions do not tell the whole story. She says there needs to be a greater focus in the reports on the quality of care and well-being of the children with distinctions clearly made between minor and major non-compliance:

A very large amount of non-compliance is due to Garda vetting. This is out of the control of our members, who, like the rest of the country are experiencing delays of up to 4 months to have Garda vetting requests returned.

Heeney added there is a problem with inconsistencies in the manner in which reports are written and especially in regards to inconsistencies between different counties.

Read: HSE begins publishing pre-school inspections >

Read: HSE director ‘sorry’ for not putting creche reports online >

Read: Did you miss the Prime Time creche expose? Here’s what happened >

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Rónán Duffy

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