Tusla hails 'gamechanger' as main online recording system returns after HSE cyberattack

Tusla hails 'gamechanger' as main online recording system returns after HSE cyberattack

Tusla said it continues to urge anyone with a concern about a child to contact their local duty social work office.

Tusla has said its central information system is back up and running after the recent cyberattack, with the Child and Family Agency's CEO claiming it was a "real game-changer".

Tusla has experienced an almost-complete shutdown of its IT systems due to the cyberattack, primarily because of a shared ICT system with the HSE.

It has led to major difficulties for social workers who have been unable to access client records and reports, and has also meant a block on use of its online portal through which referrals regarding child welfare and protection concerns can usually be lodged.

That portal is still down but this morning Tusla said that as of last night it has achieved "a major step in the recovery from the recent cyberattack on HSE systems", with the re-opening of the National Child Care Information System, the centralised system which links information on children in the care system around the country.

A Tusla spokesperson said: "The National Child Care Information System (NCCIS) was turned back on in test mode with the overnight out-of-hours social work team last night.  

We anticipate full restoration of this critical system in the coming days. 

"This is a major improvement and one which took enormous effort on the part of Tusla ICT, HSE ICT and partners."

Bernard Gloster, CEO, Tusla said: "This database was badly damaged in the encryption, sudden shutdown and decryption process combined. It took enormous skill, hours, and dedication from many to restore it. We have a long way to go and are still having to take referrals by phone, our email is problematic in some places but restoring NCCIS is a real game-changer".

It's hoped staff will be able to access the NCCIS through their laptops, as normal, in the coming days, which will mark a turning away from the use of paper records which has been required since the cyberattack.  Tusla said it continues to urge anyone with a concern about a child to contact their local duty social work office.

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