Garda Vetting Policy (reviewed September 2018)

PRESENTATION SECONDARY SCHOOL THURLES

GARDA VETTING POLICY

SCHOOL YEAR 2018-2019

Vetting Policy


Presentation Secondary School’s policy has been drafted in the context of the school’s Mission Statement and of its commitment to the care and protection of its students and of all who work in the school, and the school’s duty to safeguard children and vulnerable adults where students of the school are involved with them as part of work experience or other school related activities.

Aims of the Policy:

  • To ensure that the school is a safe and secure environment
  • To ensure that vetting of school personnel is carried out to the highest standards of good practice, in compliance with all legal and ethical obligations and in an open, transparent and just manner.
  • To ensure that all applicants for vetting are assured that the highest standards of confidentiality are observed.
  • To ensure that the school complies with its obligations under the following directives and legislation:
  • DES circular letter 31/2016
  • The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools (DES 2011)
  • The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 as amended by the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016
  • The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003
  • Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004
  • Equal Status Act 2000
  • Industrial Relations Act 1990

Responsibility:

The principal will be designated as the contact person who will be responsible for the implementation of this policy and for liaising with the liaison person in JMB.

The principal will conduct the process on behalf of the school in conjunction with the Teaching Council, the Joint Managerial Body (JMB) and with the Vetting Bureau.

Compliance and Procedures 

The Vetting Act, section 12 requires a school authority to obtain a vetting disclosure from the Vetting Bureau prior to employment of, contracting of, permitting or placement of a person to undertake relevant work or activities with children or vulnerable persons. This applies to all appointments of any duration including full-time, part-time and substitute positions. It is a criminal offence, other than in certain limited circumstances, for a school authority to commence the employment of an employee without first obtaining a vetting disclosure from the Bureau in respect of that person.

Exemptions -a school is not required to obtain a vetting disclosure from the Bureau:

 a) For existing employees under employment contracts or existing arrangements in place prior to 29 April 2016.

 b) Prior to re-employing a substitute or casual employee who was previously employed by the school prior to 29 April 2016.

 c) If the school has received a copy of the Teaching Council vetting letter prior to 29 April 2016 even though the employment commences after that date. 

d) In the case of recurring employment where the initial employment occurred after 29 April 2016 and a vetting disclosure was obtained from the Bureau. 

e) In the case of the employment of, or entering into a contract for services with, a person on behalf of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) - locally appointed superintendents of special centres, aural examinations, and practical examinations etc. [However, such recruitment is carried out in a prudent manner and where possible, all such personnel are vetted. If vetting is not feasible such persons should provide a Statutory Declaration and Form of Undertaking. (See Appendix 3)] 

Non-employees – contractors, volunteers, coaches etc. 

Vetting requirements in respect of non-employees occur where a school authority: 

(a) Enters into a contract for services that constitute relevant work or activities or 

(b) Permits any person to undertake relevant work or activities on the school’s behalf, whether or not for commercial or any other consideration or 

(c) Places or makes arrangements for the placement of any person in work experience or activities that involves participation in relevant work or activities. (e.g. work experience) 

Exemptions -the school is not required to obtain a vetting disclosure prior to commencing the contract, permission or placement in the following circumstances- 

 a) Unpaid volunteers who assist on an occasional basis provided such assistance does not involve the coaching, mentoring, counselling, teaching or training of children or vulnerable persons 

b) Casual or part-time, recurring but non-continuous relevant work or activities where

i. The initial contract/permission/ placement was entered into prior to 29 April 2016. 

ii. Where the initial contract/permission/ placement occurred after 29 April 2016 and a vetting disclosure from the Bureau was received in respect of that initial contract/ permission/placement. In such a case, there is no requirement to obtain a vetting disclosure from the Bureau prior to contracting, permitting or placing that person in subsequent casual or part-time, recurring but non-continuous relevant work or activities. 

c) Where vetting information (such as a GCVU disclosure) in respect of the contract/ permission/placement in question was requested and received by the school authority prior to 29 April 2016 but the contract/permission/placement in question is not entered into or doesn’t commence until after 29 April 2016.

 

Recruitment

Thorough recruitment procedures must always be followed and are an essential element of child protection practice. Vetting does not take the place of recruitment procedures but is to be used as part of those procedures.

  • Best practice in checking references and previous employment history is essential.
  • A number of questions concerning child protection will be asked of job applicants.
  • The school will give job applicants a leaflet setting out its recruitment policies and procedures, with particular reference to its recruitment practice with regard to child protection. This leaflet will alert applicants to the child protection-related questions which they will be asked to answer in writing. (See appendix 1)

Procedures for all categories:

  • Prospective employees must confirm in writing that their appointment is subject to the satisfactory outcome of vetting.
  • At the completion of the selection process, when the preferred candidate has been selected, the candidate must, if he or she is a qualified teacher, apply to the Teaching Council to be vetted. If the candidate has already been vetted by the Vetting Bureau, he or she must enable the principal to access the vetting disclosure online so that it can be downloaded and assessed. All others must complete a Vetting Bureau Application Form and submit it to JMB.
  • Failure to complete the Vetting Application Form will disqualify the candidate and no offer of employment can be made to him or her.
  • The provision of inaccurate information on the Vetting Application Form, such as an inaccurate date of birth or address, may disqualify.
  •  Failure to disclose a conviction will disqualify.
  • A Statutory Declaration and a Form of Undertaking must be signed by all those appointed to teaching and non-teaching posts of any duration.
  • Where a person changes employment from one school to another the Statutory Declaration is valid if made in the same or previous calendar year.
  • A statement confirming that he/she has read and understood the school’s Child Protection Policy must be signed by the candidate.

Teaching Personnel:

  • Persons being appointed must be vetted prior to appointment to any teaching position, regardless of the duration of the appointment.
  • Where the teacher to be appointed is a registered teacher or has applied to be registered, vetting is carried out through the Teaching Council. The teacher must enable the school authority to access the vetting disclosure.

(a) The school will download the vetting disclosure in respect of the teacher and 

(b) Retain a copy for its records

IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT VETTING DEEMED SATISFACTORY FOR TEACHING COUNCIL PURPOSES WILL, IN ALL CASES, BE SATISFACTORY FOR EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES. IT IS THE BOARD’S VETTING POLICY ONLY THAT WILL DETERMINE THIS. 

The Teaching Council’s determination as to whether a particular vetting outcome is satisfactory for its purposes is made within the statutory framework within which the Teaching Council works. It is possible that an outcome which meets the Teaching Council’s requirements might not be acceptable to the school’s board of management for employment purposes.

 

 

Non-Teaching Personnel

  • Vetting for all non-teaching personnel is carried out through JMB as above.

Other Appointees (volunteers, coaches, etc)

  • The principal will meet with and interview all volunteers, coaches, trainers, etc. who may be involved in relevant work or activities in the school from time to time.
  • The board will have persons in this category vetted through JMB prior to their engagement by the school. However, it is permissible for two or more organisations to agree in writing that one organisation will have the person vetted, e.g. the school could agree with the GAA that the GAA will have the person vetted. In any case, the school must see the vetting disclosure from the Vetting Bureau, whether this has been processed by the school through JMB or by the organisation with which the school has entered into a written agreement.

Student Teachers

  • Student teachers or PME’s must be vetted through JMB unless they have been vetted by the Vetting Bureau (post 29 April 2016) through their college and they furnish to the school the disclosure from the Vetting Bureau to enable the school to determine if the disclosure amounts to satisfactory vetting in terms of the school’s vetting policy.
  • JMB suggests that if the disclosure is more than 12 months old the PME student should be vetted again

 

Students on Work Experience and other school-related activities:

Any students who wish to work with children or vulnerable adults during work experience must now receive Garda vetting.  This policy was brought into place in April 2016 by the Joint Managerial Body (JMB).  It will affect students seeking placements in Montessori schools, primary schools, sports clubs, crèches, nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, youth centres etc. It can take between 6-8 weeks for the vetting process to be completed.   This policy will not apply to students under 16 years of age, but will apply on the day of their 16th birthday.  If a student is 15 during her placement she does not require Garda Vetting.  It is important to ensure a student does not turn 16 during a placement that requires Garda Vetting.    

Steps for applying for Garda Vetting: 

A JMB Vetting Application form (NVB-1) and a Parent/Guardian consent form (NVB-3) must be completed.  Forms are available on the JMB website (see Appendix 4).   

The completed forms are to be returned to the work experience co-ordinator within 2 days of being signed.  The school principal will attach a cover letter certifying the identity of the students and send the forms to the JMB (see Appendix 5).  The full process (parents and school) must be completed within 5 days.  

When these forms are received by the JMB, they will be put onto an electronic system and sent to the Garda vetting unit.    

The parent/guardian will receive an on-line form from the Garda vetting office asking for additional information to be entered and returned.    

When a student has been vetted, the paperwork will be returned to the school via email.   

A print out of the official Garda Vetting will be given to the student to bring to her placement.      

In the event of the Garda Vetting being unable to be processed due to a time delay with JMB, the vetting of the student will be organised through the Tipperary Volunteer Centre. 

 

 The School’s Duty of Care to Students going on Work Experience

  • Students going on work experience should be well prepared by the school to cope with potentially difficult situations. They should be assured of school support in such instances.
  • Safety of students should be discussed with employers before placements begin.

Disclosures

The attached schedule sets out those offences or categories of offences which will disqualify candidates. 

It should be noted that a disclosure from the Vetting Bureau may also include “specified information”. “Specified information” or “soft information” in relation to a person who is the subject of an application for a vetting disclosure means information other than criminal convictions held by An Garda Síochána that leads to a bona-fide belief that a person poses a threat to children or vulnerable persons.  

The Act states that ‘Where a member of staff of the Bureau considers there is specified information relating to a person who is the subject of an application for vetting disclosure, he or she shall refer the matter to the Chief Bureau Officer for assessment and determination under section 15 as to whether the information concerned should be disclosed. The Chief Bureau Officer shall assess the application for vetting disclosure and the specified information relating to the person who is the subject of that application but he or she shall not make a determination that that information concerned should be disclosed unless—

(a) he or she reasonably believes that that information is of such a nature as to give rise to a bona fide concern that the person concerned may—

(i) harm any child or vulnerable person,

(ii) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

(iii) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

(iv) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

(v) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person, and

(b) he or she is satisfied that its disclosure is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of children or vulnerable persons or both, as the case may be.

Because of the nature of “specified information” and the requirements in the Act, including an appeal process available to the vetting applicant before “specified information” can be disclosed, the board of management will determine whether a vetting applicant whose disclosure from the Bureau includes “specified information” is a suitable person to be employed in the school. In such a case the vetting applicant will be afforded an opportunity to make representations to the board of management before the board comes to a decision on the matter.

The following schedule also sets out other offences or categories of offences which may disqualify.  In deciding whether a particular conviction renders a candidate unsuitable for appointment, the school will have regard to:

  • the nature of the offence and its possible relevance to the post;
  • the age of the offence (offences many years in the past may be less relevant than more recent offences);
  • the frequency of the offence (a series of offences will give more cause for concern than an isolated minor conviction).
  • Offences which are not sexual or violent in nature or drug related offences of a minor nature committed before the age of 18 will be judged in the light of the age of the applicant at the time of the offence.
  • Where the vetting process discloses pending prosecutions or unsuccessful prosecutions, such prosecutions will be assessed in the light of the nature, age and frequency of the alleged offence(s) and of the age of the candidate at the time of the alleged offences.
  • Statutory vetting will, in addition to a check for criminal records, include a check for any relevant "soft information”. "Soft information" referred to as "specified information" in the Vetting Act, is information other than criminal convictions held by An Garda Síochána that leads to a bona-fide belief that a person poses a threat to children or vulnerable persons.

The Principal will meet the applicant in person and in privacy. The applicant will be informed of the nature of the disclosure and will be given an opportunity to respond to it.  

The principal is authorised by the board to determine if the outcome of the vetting of a candidate has been satisfactory or not, the determination being made in accordance with this policy. Should the principal deem it necessary, he/she may consult the chairperson of the Board of Management before reaching a decision.

The only circumstance in which a disclosure of convictions or prosecutions would be made known to the board of management would be where the applicant consents that they be consulted.

A copy of the vetting disclosure document will be given to the applicant.

 

The Eight Rules of Data Protectionwill be strictly observed by the school.

The rules are:

  1. Gather and process information fairly
  2. Keep it only for one or more specified, explicit and lawful purposes
  3. Use and disclose it only in ways compatible with these purposes
  4. Keep data safe and secure
  5. Keep data accurate and up-to-date
  6. Ensure that it is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  7. Retain it no longer than is necessary for the purpose or purposes
  8. Give a copy to the individual, on request

 

 

Implementation:

This policy will be effective from the date of adoption by the Board of Management. The school’s Vetting Policy will be made available to candidates for employment, paid or unpaid. It will be included on the school’s Job Application Form(s), such that the candidate’s signature on that form confirms that he/she is aware of the school’s policy on vetting and accepts the school’s policy that satisfactory vetting is an essential requirement for appointment to a post in the school. By signing the Vetting Application Form, the job applicant authorises the principal to receive disclosure of the outcome of vetting and to have regard to it in determining if the candidate may be appointed to the post.

Links to Related School Policies

Within the framework of the overall School Plan a number of other policies already in place or presently being drafted need to be examined and reviewed, over time, with reference to the Garda Vetting Policy and any implications it has for them will be addressed.

The following policies shall be reviewed in this context:

  • Child Protection Policy
  • Pastoral Care Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Data Protection Policy

Policy Review:

This policy will be reviewed as necessary and particularly to comply with any relevant legislative changes.

Policy adopted by the board of management

Signed: _____________________________             _______________________________

Chairperson, Board of Management               Principal

Date: ________________________________          _______________________________

Category/Type of Offence 

Automatic disqualification from employment 

May or may not disqualify

May be acceptable

Homicide

Murder

Manslaughter

Sexual offences

Rape

Rape under section 4

Unlawful carnal knowledge

Aggravated sexual assault

Sexual assault

Sexual offences (other)

Assault

False imprisonment 

Abduction

Assault causing harm

Non-fatal offences against the person including threats to kill, syringe attacks,

endangering traffic

Assault (minor)

Assault (other)

Theft/ Burglary/Robbery

Aggravated burglary

Theft from person

Theft (other)

Burglary

Robbery of establishment/

cash/goods

Robbery from person

Criminal Damage

Arson

Criminal damage

Drugs

Possession of drugs for sale or supply

Simple possession

Firearms

Possession of firearms

Discharge of firearm

Possession of offensive weapon

Traffic

Intoxicated driving a vehicle Intoxicated in charge of a vehicle

Unauthorised taking of a  vehicle

Dangerous driving causing 

death

Hit and run (leaving the scene of an accident)

Speeding

Dangerous driving

Careless driving

General road traffic offences

Public Order Offences

Drunkenness offences

Fraud offences

Fraud offences

Explosives Offences

Explosives offences

Money laundering

Money laundering

Trafficking of illegal immigrants

Trafficking of illegal immigrants

Terrorist Offences

Terrorist offences

APPENDIX 1 – Recruitment Process and Child Protection Information Leaflet:

The school thanks you for your interest in applying for the position of ……………. in the school. I enclose a standard application form which I would ask you to complete and return to the school before the stated closing date for applications.

This school owes a duty of care to its pupils. The school has a duty to satisfy itself that no person employed by the school poses a threat to pupils or staff. The school must therefore make certain enquiries of all applicants for employment in the school, and these enquiries will include both:

  1. Questions to each applicant at interview (see below) and
  2. Enquiries with previous employer(s), and the National Vetting Bureau.

The questions which you will be asked at interview and also invited to answer in writing may include the following:

Where have you been residing during the previous five years?

Were you ever the subject of an inquiry by Tusla/ the HSE concerning a child welfare matter?

Were you ever the subject of a Garda criminal investigation arising from a complaint of child abuse?

Were you the subject of any allegation of criminal conduct or wrongdoing towards a minor?

Are you aware of any material circumstance in respect of your own conduct which touched/touches on the welfare of a minor?

Please note that it is a fundamental term of your employment that you make appropriate full disclosure in respect of the questions outlined above, and a fundamental term will be included in any future contract of employment to this effect.

You should also note that if the school is satisfied, in the future, that you have made incomplete or inaccurate disclosure, you may face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

The school undertakes that all responses furnished by you in respect of the above questions will be treated as confidential, subject to any reporting obligations which may be imposed on the school, pursuant to “Children First” published by the Department of Health, the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools published by the Department of Education and Skills or pursuant to any legal obligation imposed on the school to facilitate the effective investigation of crime.

APPENDIX 2: Recruitment Process and Child Protection

(NOTE: This clause can also be inserted into a letter of appointment in the case of a short-term casual appointment.)

Draft Clause to be inserted into Contracts of Employment:

It is a fundamental term of your employment in this school that you agree that you have made full, truthful, accurate and appropriate disclosure in reply to questions asked or information sought at interview, relating to any child welfare issues. If it transpires, during the course of your future employment, that you have not made such full, accurate and appropriate disclosure, the failure to make such disclosure will be treated as a fundamental breach of this contract of employment, which may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

 

APPENDIX 3 – Statutory Declaration 

 

This statutory declaration must be completed prior to a person being appointed to any teaching or nonteaching position with a school authority unless the person being appointed has previously provided that school authority with a statutory declaration which was made during the same or previous calendar year. 

“I____________________________________ sincerely declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief there is nothing, from a child protection perspective, in relation to my conduct, character or personal background of any nature that would adversely affect the position of trust in which I would be placed in relation to children or vulnerable adults by virtue of my appointment to any teaching or non-teaching position in Presentation Secondary School, Thurles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

APPENDIX 4 – Student Vetting Form NVB-1; Parent/Guardian Consent form NVB-3

vettingInvitation

 

Picture1

 

Appendix 5 - Garda Vetting Applications Template Letter 

School headed notepaper 

To: JMB vetting liaison person 

I enclose Vetting Invitation Forms (NVB 1) for the following: 

John Smith 01/01/1990 

Mary Black 25/12/1992 

I confirm that I have verified each applicant's identity using the 100 point system and further confirm that I have retained photocopies of the documents provided for identification. 

Signed: ____________________                   Date _____________________

             Principal 

Appendix 6 - Garda Vetting Applications Template Letter (Students’ Vetting Forms) 

In the case of students being vetted, there is no requirement to verify their identities. The following suffices: 

School headed notepaper 

I enclose NVB 1 and NVB 3 forms for the above named, all of whom are students currently enrolled in the school. 

Signed: __________________________                   Date____________________ 

Principal 

 

 

 

 

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