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Garda Vetting Service

Information on Garda Vetting Service provided by Fingal Volunteer Centre
 
The aim of this document is to distribute information regarding Garda vetting of volunteers and minimise confusion surrounding the service provided by An Garda Síochána.
 
What is Garda Vetting?
 
Garda Vetting is the process by which a Garda Vetting Application Form is submitted to An Garda Síochána Vetting Office asking them to check if a person has any convictions and/or prosecutions, successful or not, pending or completed, recorded against their name.
 
Do volunteers need to be vetted?
At present, there is no legal requirement to vet volunteers, although this will be introduced at some point in the future. Many organisations choose to make it a policy to vet volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults and / or are responsible for finances. However, most organisations recognise that not all volunteers may need to be vetted. For example, volunteers working in administration, doing practical work, providing professional services or a range of other volunteer opportunities may not need to be vetted as they are not interacting with the clients or directly involved in finance and will never have an opportunity to do so.
 
It is up to the organisation to decide whether or not a volunteer position requires vetting. This should be assessed while the organisation is in the process of developing the job description for each individual volunteer position. Whether the volunteer is being vetted or not it is important to conduct reference checks as these provide vital character reference information that is not available in a Garda Vetting check. (Fingal Volunteer Centre will supply you with in-depth information and training on the process). It is important to remember that Garda Vetting is but one stage of the screening of volunteers. If you require further information regarding screening of volunteers and appropriate methods of recruitment and selection, please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
Garda Vetting and Volunteer Centres
 
Volunteer Centres Ireland and its member volunteer centres, as part of our commitment to supporting and promoting volunteering have introduced a Garda Vetting service for voluntary and community groups within their local areas. All Volunteer Centres now act as an Authorised Signatory for Garda Vetting purposes for voluntary and community organisations that do not otherwise have access to an authorised signatory. VCI and member Volunteer Centres have developed a number of documents to ensure best practice in and assist organisations with Garda Vetting and an agreement on the service with the Garda Vetting Unit and Data Protection.
 
What is an Authorised Signatory?
 
An Authorised Signatory is a person who has completed the training supplied by the Garda Central Vetting Unit and is authorised to act as the liaison between the organisation requesting vetting and the Garda Central Unit.
 
Will An Garda Síochána vet volunteers?
 
The Garda Central Vetting Unit already provides a volunteer vetting service for most large community and voluntary organisations throughout the country via an ‘authorised signatory’ within that organisation. This means that a member of staff within that organisation has been trained to be the link between the Garda Vetting Unit and the organisation. However, they do not currently have the resources to provide this service to smaller organisations. In response to this, the members of Volunteer Centres Ireland have worked with the Garda Vetting Unit to train a designated staff member in each volunteer centre in each county to act as an Authorised Signatory between local voluntary and community organisations and the Garda Vetting unit.
 
What does this mean for your organisation?
If your organisation does not have access to an Authorised Signatory and you require Garda Vetting, your local volunteer centre can process the vetting paperwork for your volunteers. This paperwork is then forwarded to the Garda Central Vetting Unit.
 
How does it work?
 
For details on the process in your area, please contact your local volunteer centre. In general, to avail of this service:
• Your organisation will be required to register with your local volunteer centre.
• Your organisation will be required to meet with/attend training about the Garda Vetting process with your local volunteer centre.
• Your organisation will be expected to have certain policies and procedures in place before commencing Garda Vetting, for example, confidentiality policy, data protection policy, Garda Vetting policy. Copies of generic polices can be obtained from your local volunteer centre.
• Your organisation will be required to sign an agreement with your local volunteer centre giving them the authority to act on your behalf as an Authorised Signatory for Garda Vetting purposes.
Garda Vetting – a quick guide to the process
 
 
1. The Volunteer Centre will act as the Authorised Signatory on behalf of your organisation.
 
2. Prior to commencing, your Volunteer Centre will give you copies of relevant information documents and forms and will meet with you to discuss your needs
 
3. Once your organisation has signed and returned the required forms, the Volunteer Centre will begin the process of Garda Vetting for you.
 
4. Your organisation will be required to:
• Give volunteers/potential volunteers a copy of the Garda Vetting form and explain how important it is to fill it in correctly.
• Ensure the volunteer returns all individual Garda Vetting forms to you.
• Check each form to ensure that it has been completed properly
• Post the form/s and a completed checklist to the Manager, The Volunteer Centre, (provide full address).
 
5. The Volunteer centre will then submit all forms to the Garda Vetting office. Once the forms have been processed by the Garda Vetting Unit and returned to the Volunteer Centre, the Volunteer Centre will notify your organisation of same in writing or by email.
 
6. Copies of any disclosures will be forwarded to you by post. These forms must be returned to the Volunteer Centre within 3 weeks of being forwarded to you. Failure to return these disclosures may result in a discontinuation of the service.
 

Garda Vetting Service at Fingal Volunteer CentreInformation on Garda Vetting Service provided by Mayo Volunteer Centre

Mayo Volunteer Centre can assist local voluntary and community groups to access Garda Vetting for their volunteers and paid staff.

As of April 29th 2016, the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012 - 2016 is the legislative framework that covers Garda Vetting in Ireland. This act makes it mandatory for people working or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the National Vetting Bureau.

WHO MUST BE VETTED- WHAT IS RELEVANT WORK?

Under the Acts, any person whose work or activity involves access to children or vulnerable adults must be vetted. Workers include staff, volunteers and those on student placements working for a relevant organisation through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults. The act defines “relevant organisation” as one that employs or permits a person to carry out work or activities which mainly consist of them having access to, or contact with, children or vulnerable adults.

The work or activities where people working with children and vulnerable adult will require vetting include:

  • Childcare services – see also ‘Further information’ below
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Residential services or accommodation for children or vulnerable persons
  • Treatment, therapy or counselling services for children or vulnerable persons
  • Provision of leisure, sporting or physical activities to children or vulnerable persons
  • Promotion of religious beliefs

There will be a number of roles where you will have to carry out a risk assessment and decide if the position allows the person to build up a relationship of trust with a child or vulnerable adult. 

WHAT IS A VULNERABLE ADULT? 

A vulnerable person means a person, other than a child, who is suffering from a disorder of the mind, whether as a result of mental illness or dementia, has an intellectual disability, is suffering from a physical impairment, whether as a result of injury, illness or age, or has a physical disability, which is of such a nature or degree as to restrict the capacity of the person to guard himself or herself against harm by another person, or that results in the person requiring assistance with the activities of daily living including dressing, eating, walking, washing and bathing.

WHAT IS A RELEVANT ORGANISATION?

A relevant organisation means a person (including a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons) who employs, enters into a contract for services or permits any person to undertake relevant work or activities, a necessary and regular part of which consists mainly of the person having access to, or contact with, children or vulnerable adults. A relevant organisation shall not permit any person to undertake relevant work or activities on behalf of the organisation unless the organisation receives a vetting disclosure from the National Vetting Bureau in respect of that person. A person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR ORGANISATION?

In Summary:

If your organisation is deemed a Relevant Organisation, you are required by law to vet anyone who is engaged in relevant work before they commence their role.

You are required to verify and keep on file a record of the applicant's proof of identity.

You are required to keep a copy of all vetting disclosures for the duration of your volunteer or staff member's time in the role for which they were vetted.

Evetting is being rolled out on a phased basis. Mayo Volunteer Centre hopes to be moving to Evetting in the coming months. We will keep you informed.

HOW DOES THE SERVICE WORK?

For details on the process please contact Fiona, by calling the Volunteer Centre on 096 71444

In general to avail of this service:

  • Your organisation will be required to register with Mayo Volunteer Centre and to sign up to a Service Level Agreement. You will be required to attend training and abide by best practice in terms of data protection and vetting processes. 
  • A fee is applicable for this service. Details will be provided on enquiry
For more detailed information on vetting legislation in Ireland please see the National Vetting Bureau's FAQ section 

For more information on how to access Garda Vetting via Mayo Volunteer Centre please contact Fiona Cunnane by email or telephone (096) 71444.

Tags: Mayo,, Garda Vetting

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