In the last couple of days several senior members of the management team of Hyde & Seek Childcare have resigned following an RTÉ investigation on care standards at the Dublin crèche chain.
It appears that the insurance company, Ironshore Europe DAC made this decision to apply to cancel the insurance policies of the facilities in the aftermath of the RTÉ investigation and media report .
Based on the broadcast regarding the crèches in July, the Hyde & Seek owners had informed parents about their “Action Plan” which the company would face in the future.
As set out in documentation from the company owner Siobhan Davy and analyzed by RTÉ News, Ms Davy confirmed that she hoped that the steps which have been put into place would develop; “a culture of communication and transparency” and “will begin to restore the trust peoplehave had in their service and return Hyde & Seek Glasnevin to an exemplar in the field”.
Hyde & Seek has highlighted that there has been an appointment of a new Group Operations Manager along with a senior staff member as the role of Glasnevin crèche manager.
Hyde & Seek’s purpose-built facility in Glasnevin was established in January 2018 and had unknown to parents been opened withoutcompliance with relevant registration procedures.
Parents of the children who had attended Hyde & Seek have recently been in contact with the RTÉ investigators regarding their concerns that several staff members have left now the facility.
Staff have been gravely concerned about the company’s failure to meet the criteria and changes that are stipulated by the policy requirements. It has also been confirmed that an external expert consultant who was recruited by Hyde & Seek had also left the company.
An anonymous parent who had spoken to RTÉ, said: “Following July’s RTÉ broadcast, parents removed children from the service”. Parents had removed their children from Hyde & Seek based on the fact that there had not been sufficient childcare for their children, and not having the correct amount of staff to accommodate the children. ‘
There are several parents who have not removed their children from Hyde & Seek however, they have been reassured that there will be management, governance as well as a culture change. The facility responded in saying; “while not immediate, we have met that demand. According to reports, the creche facility has been described as being in a worse position than they were in in July with no follow-through of their commitments and communication being virtually non existent.
A letter from the external experts which had been requested from the parents who had been affected by the circumstances at the time was due to be circulated at the end of October and has not materialised.
“The last week has seen many parents again consider their options. For those who can find alternative places, it is easier to remove their children and end the stress and sleepless nights.”However, given the sensitive age, many of our children are, to remove our children from their friends would cause them distress. The issue at hand here is not one of the level of care afforded to our children by the frontline childcare workers. It is an issue of governance, management, and oversight” said the anonymous parent.
Tusla officials had performed several inspections throughout all Hyde & Seek services in the recent weeks, thereafter there had been a few more complaints from concerned parents. The concerns have been brought to the attention of the local public representatives along with Katherine Zappone, Minister of Children.
A statement from Hyde & Seek Childcare stipulated; We are committed to providing quality childcare to all our families … This includes ensuring that we have the proper policies and procedures in place”.
A representative of Hyde & Seek mentioned that several staff members started at the facility, but decided not to continue working there and were replaced instantly. Other employees are unable to comment as they are under a management structure and a full complement of staff.
Even though new management has been recruited in Glasnevin, the unanswered question is; what is being done to prevent this from happening again, and what assistance is being given to parents in this situation now and those who will face it in the future?