The report the Deputy refers to was published on 29 May 2017 and I worked with the report's author, Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, to develop an action plan to address the key issues raised. I published the action plan on 28 June 2017 and since then I have had ongoing engagement with Dr. Shannon and Dr. Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, about the implementation of these actions. It is a key aspect of my work in respect of both Tusla and its co-operation with An Garda Síochána. I am happy to report that progress is being made across all 15 actions of the plan.
I will give Deputy Rabbitte some indications of that progress now. Significant progress has been made with the appointment of a dedicated, co-located national manager from Tusla to work with the Garda national child protection unit. This role will improve inter-agency working in difficult cases and will help to identify any blockages to co-operation at an early stage and agree solutions. As An Garda Síochána continues to roll out its local child protection offices, there will be further opportunities to co-locate staff and to monitor the effectiveness of this approach.
Closer joint working between Tusla and An Garda Síochána is also being progressed by the work of the national strategic liaison committee. That is the forum where senior managers in An Garda Síochána and Tusla work together on issues of mutual importance to their two organisations. Through this committee actions on cultural change, joint working, and information sharing are being progressed.
I am also currently progressing the co-location of services to children who have suffered sexual abuse. I have established an interdepartmental group with the Departments of Health and Justice and Equality, to identify and develop a bespoke Irish model for the provision of these services. This follows the examination I and my officials have made of international models of best practice in this type of service provision. While these actions do not arise directly from the audit report, the development of such a multi-agency approach will contain learning which can inform service development. We have progressed actions in a number of other ways in terms of that audit and I can refer to those later.