Thursday, 18 February 2021

Questions (209)

Malcolm Noonan


209. Deputy Malcolm Noonan asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if his attention has been drawn to the funding challenges facing an organisation (details supplied) which have put its counselling service in extreme jeopardy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9114/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Following the receipt of representations on this issue, I asked Tusla for an update on services provided by the organisation named by the Deputy. Tusla has advised me that there is ongoing engagement between Tusla and the organisation named by the Deputy about service and funding arrangements for 2021. All organisations in the sector have also been invited to submit proposals to address waiting list or service demand pressures to which additional funding will be allocated by Tusla over the coming months.

Tusla is obliged to comply with National Financial Regulations in issuing funding to organisations under Section 56 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013. As part of its commissioning process, Tusla signs a Service Level Agreement, or SLA, with all funded bodies. Section 20 of the contract of this SLA deals with dispute resolution, where differences may arise between Tusla and funded organisations.

Tusla has advised me that it acknowledges there are matters of difference between the Agency and the organisation to which the Deputy refers, with respect to the level of baseline funding. This matter can be addressed within the context of dispute resolution mechanisms covered by the SLA with that organisation. This mechanism involves a series of stages, up to and including an independent review, where differences between parties may occur. This is the most appropriate route to addressing substantive differences of this kind.

The Agency has assured me that it will continue to work with the organisation to which the Deputy refers to achieve a satisfactory outcome.