Children’s Disability Network Teams: National Staff Census and Workforce Review


Inclusion Ireland have read the national staff census on the Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs) which was completed at the end of 2022. The following are some key points of note:

Key statistics

  • There are 91 CDNTs located across 9 Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs)
  • The total number of approved staff (sometimes referred to as “whole time equivalent” or WTE) is 2,102.62.
  • There are 1,395.30 filled posts, of which 1,183.01 are in a therapy / clinical role.
  • There are 707.32 vacancies across the 91 teams.
  • The average vacancy rate nationally is 34%. The vacancy rate ranges from a low of 19% in CHO3 to a high of 43% in CHO8.
  • An analysis of the data from 2021 and 2022 demonstrates an increase of 11% in the number of approved posts for CDNTs- this means the number of posts that the HSE has permission to recruit for.
  • Across the CDNTs vacancy as a result of maternity leave equates to 95.98 staff (71.52 on paid maternity leave and 24.46 on unpaid maternity leave). As maternity leave cover is unfunded it is not custom and practice in many agencies to backfill these vacancies.


How many teams are managed by the HSE and how many  by other agencies?

  • The HSE is the largest employer and manages 41 CDNTs and have 572.94 filled positions and 359.32 vacant positions (932.26 total).
  • There are 18 employers in total across the 91 CDNTs.
  • 73% of staff are employed by statutory (HSE / S38) providers and the remainder employed in section 39 organisations.



  • Staff Census and Workforce Review vacancies include those posts that are vacant as a result of maternity leave, parental leave, sick leave > 3 months etc. that are not backfilled.
  • There were 707.32 WTE vacancies on 12 October (Census Day) and 560.62 posts were in a recruitment process.
  • 81 21% posts were categorised as “at advertisement stage”.
  • 14% of vacancies are unable to fill due to maternity leave, parents leave and sick leave.
  • 17% are in recruitment but we don’t know what stage.
  • 27% are at various stages of recruitment like Interview Pending, Job Offer Accepted (Start Date Agreed), Job Offer Accepted (Awaiting Start Date) Job Offer Accepted (In-Pre Employment) Job Offer, Contract Issued or Interview Complete
  • 5 % Recruitment has not commenced


Inclusion Ireland recommendations:

  1. Recruitment: We welcome the information that 560 posts are currently in recruitment either at advertisement stage or at a later stage in recruitment. We need to see the remaining posts also recruited for.
  2. Workforce planning strategy: Inclusion Ireland have repeatedly called for Government to publish a workforce planning strategy to improve the staffing levels on the CDNTS. We recognise there are issues with supply and it will take time to improve that. Workforce planning is not just about recruitment however, it is also about retention. WE want to see the systemic retention issues addressed as a priority; pay disparity between section 38 and 39 organsiaitons, career progression, staff support. We need to make the CDNTS the best place and most attractive place to work as a therapist. Unless we tackle these issues, staff will continue to leave.
  3. Prioritisation of children: While these very real issues are being worked through, Inclusion Ireland recommends that children who have the most significant needs should be supported and prioritised. These include children with psychosocial disabilities and intellectual disabilities, children without a functioning communication system, children who are out of school due to complex issues. Services should be based on children’s needs not on location i.e. whether a child is in a special school/at home or not.
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