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The Child and Family Agency in Ireland, Tusla, is the dedicated State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. It focuses on reform of child protection, early intervention and family support services, with about 4,000 staff it has an operational budget of approximately €600 million. It has been criticised recently following an audit for not imposing strong enough regulations on its procurement cards spending. The card-based solution is for the purchase of ‘low-value’ goods and services. The audit found that spending was “more in line with credit card expenditure” than procurement spending, with the residential units examined showing amounts spent on cash withdrawals, a Nutribullet, hair extensions from petty cash, and cigarettes, as an example. Groceries accounted for 52% of the total expenditure. Tusla has agreed that cigarettes and e-cigarettes should not be purchased from public funds, and that electrical appliances should be purchased through the traditional purchase order and invoicing system. On 22 instances expenditure exceeded the €350 transaction limit at one unit in the three-month period examined. The auditors recommend that continuous expenditure above the €350 transaction limit should be investigated. The full story is on The Irish Times.

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