Personal data of creche staff posted online ‘outrageous’

Reports show broken toilet seats, mould and concerns over blind cords

The body representing childcare providers has said it is "outrageous" for personal information on staff to be posted online as part of the publication of HSE inspection reports.

Character references for three staff at Clifden Community Playgroup in Co Galway were included in a report posted online. The references were sent into the HSE by the playgroup following an inspection in May 2012 when it was told references for all staff had to be made available.

The inspection report was posted online in recent days by the HSE and it included, as it often does, the reply of the childcare provider indicating changes made after concerns were raised. But in the case of the Clifden Community Playgroup it also included the character references of three staff which the playgroup sent in.

"It is outrageous that references would be put up online. It is simply not fair if they are putting up personal information," said Irene Gunning, chief executive of Early Childhood Ireland, which represents the majority of creches and childcare providers.

Staff references
The HSE said it was unable to respond yesterday evening to a query about the posting of the staff references. The Data Protection Commissioner was unable to say if the postings were a data breach. The report on Clifden Community Playgroup had been taken off the website last night.

The HSE began posting the creche reports online earlier this month in a move to make the childcare system more transparent for parents. It follows an RTÉ documentary in June which highlighted mistreatment of children at three creches.

So far, reports for childcare providers in four counties have been posted online – Limerick, Mayo, Clare and Galway. Many reports show creches and childcare providers do not have adequate records for staff in relation to Garda vetting and references. Early Childhood Ireland has said delays of 12 weeks for getting Garda vetting makes it difficult for childcare providers to be compliant on this.

Galway reports, which were posted up late last week and yesterday, highlight infrastructure deficiencies in some creches, including broken toilet seats, peeling paint and mould.