Dáil Éireann - Volume 581 - 03 March, 2004

Written Answers - Social Services Inspectorate.

  155. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to expand the role of the Social Services Inspectorate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7004/04]

  Mr. B. Lenihan: The Social Services Inspectorate, SSI, was established in April 1999, initially on administrative basis, but it is proposed to establish it on a statutory basis. The main function of the inspectorate is to support the child care services by promoting and ensuring the development of quality standards. The SSI will monitor all personal social services operated by the health boards, in the longer term, but initially it is concentrating on the child care area and in particular on the inspection of health board operated residential child care facilities.

The health strategy, Quality and Fairness —A Health System for You, states that the SSI will be established on a statutory basis and its remit will be extended to cover residential services for people with disabilities and older people. Establishing the SSI on a statutory basis will strengthen its role and will provide it with the necessary independence in the performance of its functions. It will also serve to increase public confidence in state and voluntary social services. Consultation with the Department of Finance on the statutory instrument to enable the SSI to be established on a statutory footing is in progress.