In its second interim report, which was recently published, the Joint Committee stated that it had been difficult to secure “meaningful engagement” with the oversight group.
The report stated the Joint Committee had not seen a detailed report by the group, which maps current service provision against <em>A Vision for Change</em>. The Joint Committee recommended that the stakeholder consultation planned by the oversight group should not proceed until there has been meaningful engagement between the two bodies.
However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health told <strong><em>MI</em></strong> that the oversight group and the Department have answered all correspondence from the Joint Committee and have engaged with the Committee on all matters as requested.
The spokesperson pointed out that the Chair of the oversight group, the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, Jim Daly, and the Minister for Health Simon Harris, have both appeared before the Committee and have committed to continued co-operation. Also, they stated that the oversight group report referenced to by the Joint Oireachtas Committee is a reference document that has not yet been finalised.
The spokesperson added that once the report is finalised and agreed, a copy may be provided to the Joint Committee.
“The oversight group has been charged by the Minister for Health with completing a review and update of <em>A Vision for Change</em> and to provide a report with recommendations to the Minister,” according to the spokesperson.
“The group is tasked with providing its report by November of this year and therefore the group cannot delay its work and cannot put the stakeholder consultation scheduled for June/July on hold.”
The final report of the Joint Committee is due to be completed by October of this year.