Garda force seeks company to carry out ‘cultural audit’

Staff survey and focus groups will used as part of modernisation programme

An Garda Síochána has tendered for an external company to carry out a "cultural audit" of the force which will include surveys and focus groups.

The idea of such an audit was introduced by the Policing Authority last year in response to adverse findings in the O'Higgins report, which examined whistleblower allegations and Garda practices in the Cavan-Monaghan area in particular.

The 300-page document produced by Judge Kevin O’Higgins in May 2016 included references to failures at a human level as well as management issues within An Garda Síochána.

The Policing Authority subsequently expressed “deep unease at the organisation and management culture” within the force.


Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has said reform of culture is “imperative” as her organisation had been described as insular, defensive and resistant to change.


The proposed cultural audit will at the very least involve a staff survey and follow-up focus groups as part of a “mixed methods approach”, and those who tender are also invited to “form their own conclusions about the solution needed to meet the requirements” set out.

It is part of the Garda’s modernisation and renewal programme 2016-2021 which aims to enhance its organisational capability and services to the public, alongside improving governance and investment in the force’s technological infrastructure.

According to a listing on the State’s online tendering service, the programme “is also about reinforcing positive behaviours and attitudes amongst staff”.

It adds that the internal staff survey will allow for the “quantification of certain norms and behaviours” across the workforce. “This will benchmark the organisation’s current position and measure progress. It will be a critical monitoring tool to assess whether the required cultural changes are being made to deliver on the modernisation programme,” it said.

Interested parties are asked to respond to by March 9th, although a timeline for carrying out the audit is not included.