The National Review Panel (NRP) is commissioned by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, but is functionally independent. Its purpose is to conduct reviews of child deaths and serious incidents and produce reports that are factually based and identify points of learning with a view to improving the quality of services provided to children and families.
The NRP is independent in the performance of its functions, making findings of fact and producing reports that are objective and independent of Tusla. As a means of expressing this functional independence, the NRP operates separately from Tusla, has an independent Chair and panel members along with its own independent legal advisors.
The panel consists of independent professionals from a range of disciplines who are engaged for their professional expertise. Reviews are conducted under guidance which was most recently revised in August 2021.
The process operated by the NRP normally consists of a review of all records held by social work departments and professionals from other services who have worked with the child and family as well submissions from stakeholders, interviews with staff and family members, followed by the production of a report. In certain cases, the process consists of a desktop review, i.e. a review of records only. Where appropriate, a composite review will be written which will include a number of cases with similar themes.
The following cases may be reviewed by the NRP
A serious incident*, notifiable as major or extreme, or a death, and where the following conditions have also been met in full:
Where the individual concerned is either:
- A child whose immediate family is known to Tusla social work;
- A child known to Tusla social work or a Tusla-funded service, or;
- A young adult who was in receipt of aftercare services at the time of the incident, under section 45 of the Child Care Act 1991 (as amended in 2015 or subsequently).
In addition, in instances where cases come to light which carry a high level of public concern and where the need for further investigation is apparent, Tusla may at its discretion refer such matters to the NRP for its consideration.
Such cases need not be limited to deaths, serious incidents or the cohort of children and young people referred to above and may include cases where:
- A child protection issue arises that is likely to be of wider public concern;
- A case gives rise to concerns about interagency working to protect children from harm; or
- The frequency of a particular type of case exceeds normal levels of occurrence.
Completed reviews are submitted to the Director of Quality & Regulation. The decision on whether and how much of the report is to be published rests with the Child & Family Agency.
The focus of publication is to ensure that the reports are available to the public; the dissemination of learning to staff and to ensure that progress in relation to recommendations made are monitored and reported upon to the Board of Tusla. The decision to publish is underpinned by a number of principles including, transparency and accountability, the wishes of the family/individuals involved and consideration of the wishes and best interest of other children from the family who may be in care or living at home. Any decision taken to not publish a report is only taken where there are compelling reasons not to do so such as legal/criminal proceedings or where the report will adversely affect the well-being of those involved and/or family members or other members of the community.
(*A serious incident can be defined as where an individual who meets the above criteria has suffered, as a result of alleged/suspected or confirmed abuse and/or neglect or exposure to risk of significant harm:
- A life threatening injury, or;
- A serious impairment of physical or emotional health, wellbeing or development)
You can contact the NRP at the address and phone number below.
National Review Panel
Sir Patrick Duns Hospital
Lr Grand Canal St
Phone: 01 6424728