Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency


Tusla is committed to being a transparent and accountable organisation, with performance monitoring and management arrangements in place to focus on driving operational performance improvements. We aim to be open, honest, responsible and truthful when providing services, and will seek feedback and use it to inform how we improve our services.


Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery 

Zero Tolerance 

We publicly commit to having a zero-tolerance stance on bribery and corruption as a vital aspect of upholding our ethical standards to external stakeholders, to our Minister and Government Department - Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth - contractors, and the public. This is bolstered by an internal organisational culture of integrity, in adherence to an adopted policy for preventing and handling fraud and corruption.

Tusla Statement against Corruption and Bribery

Tusla has several financial regulations, policies and standard operating procedures in place regarding all financial transactions. Tusla has an induction programme for all new entrants into the Agency. Financial regulation policies form part of this induction process.

Staff above Grade VIII level and others, where applicable, who have additional responsibilities with safeguarding against fraud, corruption, and bribery must complete the Tusla Annual Control Assurance Survey in line with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. This requires that they document their knowledge of financial and non-financial regulations and policies.

Along with the Annual Control Assurance Survey, senior managers, committee chairs and department heads complete an Annual Assurance report and highlight any control weaknesses, progress made in the year, and any proposals for the following year. These responses are then compiled into the Annual Review of Effectiveness of Internal Controls report, which is reviewed and approved by the Board.

Any weaknesses in internal controls within the Agency are noted in the Statement on Internal Controls each year, which is published within the Financial Statements.

Monitoring of Corruption and Bribery 

Suspected instances of fraud and irregularities are monitored by Tusla’s Audit and Risk Committee and is a standing item at each committee meeting. It is Tusla’s policy that any instance of suspected fraud and irregularities are subject to internal audit, the HR disciplinary process and are also reported to An Garda Síochána for further investigation.

Internal Reviews

Currently, the HSE provides the Internal Audit function on behalf of Tusla. The Agency’s Audit and Risk Committee approves the annual internal audit plan, based on feedback from senior executives. Specialised audits for ICT are also conducted on an annual basis. These reports are made available to media by the HSE on a quarterly basis.

Policies and Procedures 

Policy on Fraud and Corruption*


Code of Conduct 

Tusla's Code of Conduct stipulates that Board members (p. 4) and employees (p. 5) must avoid conflicts of interest, and elaborates: 'Employees may not engage in outside business or activity which would in any way conflict with the interests of their departments/offices.

‘Employees shall not accept an appointment, or particular consultancy project, where the employees concerned believe that the nature and terms of such appointment could lead to a conflict of interest or the perception of such, without first obtaining the approval of the Human Resources Department of the Child and Family Agency' (pp. 8/9).


Policy on Gifts, Hospitality and Expenses 

Tusla’s policy on gifts, hospitality and expenses requires that no employee, Board member or person representing the Agency should receive benefits of any kind from a third party which might reasonably be seen to compromise their personal judgement or integrity.

*On 1st January 2014 the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) became an independent legal entity, comprising HSE Children and Family Services, the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board.  On establishment, the Tusla Board approved the continued use of relevant HSE Policies and NFRs.

Financial Transparency 

Financial Statements 

Tusla’s annual financial statements are independently audited by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG). The financial statements also contain a detailed Board report, which incorporates information on Board members’ attendance at meetings. In addition, the Statement on Internal Controls sets out in detail the key control issues for the Agency.

The Agency’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 annual reports and financial statements were nominated for the Published Accounts Award (under the category “Statutory and Unquoted Companies”) by Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Budget and Budget Commentary 

Ongoing budgetary performance is updated and communicated to the Board and published quarterly through the minutes.

Asset Disposal

All assets disposed of are reviewed and managed by Tusla Finance Department and approved by the National Director of Finance and Corporate Services. Asset disposals are extremely rare in Tusla.  Due to the low level of land and building assets owned by Tusla, to date there have been no disposals of land or buildings since the Agency was created in 2014.

Procurement and Contracts

Tusla's Code of Governance includes a policy statement on procurement ('Ensuring that appropriate procurement procedures are implemented in accordance with EU and National Procurement regulations and or guidelines', p. 12). Tusla is committed to achieving value for money in procuring all goods and services as outlined in its procurement regulations. When contracts are awarded by the Agency, they are published on etenders.gov.ie. By selecting ‘Notice Search’ and entering the search term ‘Tusla’ and the category to which the procurement relates, all current and past contracts are available to view.

All competitions are advertised on eTenders which bidders can tender for. Once the process concludes, Tusla then places a notification on eTenders, stating that the tendering process is over, and eTenders publishes information about the awarding of the contract/framework agreement.

A list of contracts, framework agreements awarded and direct drawdowns from the Office of Government Procurement, including suppliers and relevant information, is provided for staff through Tusla’s procurement section. Internally, Tusla maintains an online Contracts Register and the procurement section maintains a manual register. The Tusla staff intranet also hosts all relevant information for procurement, which is available to all budget holders when requested.

Procurement by Tusla takes place in accordance with internal policies (Tusla Financial Regulations (TFRs) and National Financial Regulations (NFRs)) which govern the Agency’s purchasing requirements. Tusla has a Procurement Supporting Procedure in place to ensure compliance and governance with procurement EU Legislation and OGP Guidelines prescribed by the Office of Government Procurement when purchasing goods and services.

When procuring for goods or services, staff must always adhere to the rules and regulations detailed in relevant TFRs/NFRs:

*On 1st January 2014 the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) became an independent legal entity, comprising HSE Children and Family Services, the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board.  On establishment, the Tusla Board approved the continued use of relevant HSE Policies and NFRs.



Open Governance 

Code of Governance

Tusla's Code of Governance, available on the website and by clicking here, sets the relationship between the Agency and the relevant Minister (pp. 4-5) and elaborates on the relationship with the Minister, parent department, and Oireachtas (p. 21).

Tusla Board

Tusla’s Board is accountable to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for the performance of the Agency’s functions and its own functions as the governing authority of the Agency. The Chairperson accounts on behalf of the Board to the Minister. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for leading the Agency in all its day-to-day management decisions and for implementing the Agency’s long- and short-term plans.

The CEO acts as a direct liaison between the Board and management of the Agency and communicates to the Board on behalf of management (from the Annual Financial Statements 2020). The Board is subject to the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 and operates in compliance with the Code of Practice for Governance of State Bodies (2016), which can be found here.

Board Minutes 

The minutes of the board are published at the end of each quarter and can be viewed by clicking here. Ongoing operational and budgetary performance is updated and communicated to the Board and published in the minutes.

Audit and Risk Committee

The composition of the Audit and Risk Committee includes three Board members. The National Director of Finance and Corporate Services, and associates; the National Director of Quality and Regulation, one appointed Regional Chief Officer, and the National Director Internal Audit are present at all Audit and Risk committee meetings. The CEO and other members of the Executive and/or associates attend as required.

Representatives of the C&AG attend meetings as required and have direct access to the Audit and Risk Committee Chairperson. Each year, in accordance with best practice, the committee meets with the National Director of Internal Audit and the C&AG independently of management.

The role of the Audit and Risk Committee is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities in relation to the Annual Financial Statements and the system of internal control, to consider and make recommendations to the Board in relation to internal controls, governance, and risk management. Where identified, any potential criminal activity must be reported to An Garda Síochána.

Ethics/Corporate Governance

The Board of the Child and Family Agency is responsible for ensuring the Annual Financial Statements are in accordance with applicable law. Section 51 of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 requires Tusla to prepare the Agency’s accounts in such form as the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth may direct and in accordance with accounting standards specified by the Minister.

The Board is responsible for safeguarding the assets of Tusla and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities. Every three years, the Minister sets the Performance Framework for the Agency's three-year Corporate Plan, as well as the Annual Performance Statement which direct the Annual Business Planning cycle for the same period. The Agency is currently in year two of its Corporate Plan (2021-2023). Both the Board of the Agency and the Minister approve the Corporate Plan and each Annual Business Plan, against which budgetary and operational performance are measured.


Political Engagement

Funding/Membership of Think Tanks or Representative/Lobby Groups 

Tusla, Child and Family Agency is a public service body established to perform the functions conferred on it by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013. The Tusla Board is the governing body of the Agency and is accountable to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for the performance of the Agency’s functions. Lobbying activities in Ireland are governed by the Regulation of Lobbying Act, 2015 (“the Act”). Section 5(5) of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (the Act) provides for a number of “excepted communications” (exempt communications) which are not regarded as lobbying. 

The exemptions at sections 5(5)(e), 5(5)(k), 5(5)(l) and 5(5)(n) of the Act make reference to a “public service body”. Tusla is confirmed as a “public service body” for the purposes of the Act. The exemption at section 5(5)(k) of the Act provides that communications made by a person who is employed by or holds any office or other position in a public service body or is engaged by a public service body are exempt, provided the communications are made in that capacity and the communications relate to the functions of the public service body.

Managing Revolving-door Movements 

It is Tusla policy to ensure all relevant employees are informed of their obligations under the legislation. All employees in Tusla remunerated at or above the minimum point of the Grade VIII salary must comply with the Ethics in Public Office legislation. The Standards Commission must be informed of all new appointees to senior office and designated directorships. Contracts for senior staff in Tusla have a clause which precludes them joining a related organisation without approval of the Chair.



Protected Disclosures Policy

Tusla had published a Protected Disclosures Policy on its website, covering 'any current or former employee, independent contractor, sub-contractor, agency worker, or apprentice and any person who interacts with the workplace on a contractual basis' (p. 6). The policy notes that 'Tusla is committed to [...] providing that workers are not to be penalised for reporting relevant wrongdoings' (p. 5).

Tusla published a 2020 Annual Report on protected disclosures in May 2021. This gave details of a protected disclosure received and actions taken ('corrective and preventive actions').

The investigation of protected disclosures is the remit of the specially-trained Internal Investigations Unit - Section 3 (Responsibility, p. 5) of the Protected Disclosures Policy details their duties. The unit is situated in Tusla’s Office of Legal Services.

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