‘’HIQA wants to ensure that the voice and experience of children and young people are central and that the standards focus on the outcomes they should expect from a service.’’
Deirdre Connolly is a Standards Development Lead of the Standards Team at the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in Ireland. She spoke to us about the importance of evidence-based standards that are informed by deep and ongoing engagement both with people using health and social care services, and those involved in their design and delivery.
HIQA works to promote quality and safety in the provision of health and social care standards in Ireland.
In 2019, they began the development of draft national standards for children’s social services. These standards cover a child’s journey through care from the point of their referral to a service until they transfer to another service or leave care.
HIQA wants to ensure that the voices of children and young people are central and that the standards focus on the outcomes they should expect from a service. To do this, they have engaged extensively with children and young people, as well as families, foster carers, advocates, staff, and policymakers. They also held two public consultations and a series of focus groups meeting with over 340 people.
For the first time national standards in Ireland are being presented in the voice of the child and are characterised by a children’s rights-based approach and quality service.
Deirdre told us how ESN has helped HIQA in learning from others:
“Being a member of ESN is important for HIQA as it has helped us to think more broadly about emerging practice through engagement with our colleagues in Europe. It has also helped us to understand, in a practical way, how social services work in other jurisdictions for the people using them.
ESN has also provided us with valuable opportunities to share HIQA’s work in regulatory reform and the rights-based approach we have adopted. It has been useful to hear the thoughts of experts on this approach and to learn from their experiences.”