Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has said it hopes to deliver a nationwide around-the-clock social work service by September.

The announcement of the breakthrough follows strong criticism by the Health Information and Quality Authority of Tusla's services in north Dublin.

Gardaí in north Dublin had told HIQA that investigations of allegations of physical abuse of children have been impeded by considerable delays on the part of Tusla in informing them fully about the allegations.

The revelation was made in HIQA's report of its inspection of the agency's services in the area.

The report also criticised staff shortages and the allocation of complex cases involving long-term harm and neglect to newly-qualified, inexperienced staff, with some of them coming from agencies.

It criticised the failure to train staff to serve the diverse ethnicities in the area, which encompasses one district whose demographic profile is 80% non-Irish national.

The head of Tusla, Gordon Jeyes, earlier said deficits in information management which led to some families in north Dublin being called back were unacceptable and they were working to fix it. 

But, he said delays in reporting allegations to gardaí had been resolved and this was acknowledged in the report. 

He also said out of hours access to social workers would be extended within "this quarter" following agreement with unions. 

Commenting on the findings of the report, the Tusla Area Manager for north Dublin, Lorna Kavanagh, said the report recognises "there was an effective system in place to ensure children had a child protection conference in a timely and appropriate manner".

Ms Kavanagh said "children and families benefited from early interventions and there was a range of service available to them".

The statement from Tusla added that a number of measures had been initiated following the report, including an audit of the waiting list, with children and families prioritised based on level of need.

Six additional social workers are to be recruited, while cultural diversity training is being rolled out across the agency.

Tusla was established on 1 January 2014 as an independent legal entity comprising the Heath Service Executive's Children & Family Services, the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board.

It also incorporates some psychological services and a range of services responding to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children had said that today's report by HIQA reflects what the ISPCC already knows-that have a severely under resourced child protection system in Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Chief Executive, Grainia Long said that there were positives to be taken from the report but the fact that there are waiting list management issues mean that the most vulnerable and at risk children are going to be effected.

Ms Long said she did not see any signs that there will be a comprehensive and speedy Government response to the issues raised by the report and this needed to be addressed.

Ms Long said it was a national scandal that we still did not have a nationwide 24-hour social work service.

However, this evening Tusla announced a breakthrough in negotiations with unions representing social workers which facilitate the roll-out of an around-the-clock service in the autumn.